John The Baptist: Love. What does it mean? Love is sweet as honey, but it’s also blood. Love is action. You want a new crop, you burn the earth.
Jesus: But isn’t love enough?
John The Baptist: No, no! Look at the world around you! Plague, war, corruption, false prophets, false idols, worship of gold! Nothing is of value. The tree is rotten. You have to take the ax and cut it down.
Jesus: If I was a woodcutter, I’d cut. If I was a fire, I’d burn. But I’m a heart and I love. That’s all I can do.
Glen Whitehouse: Come on smart guy. Tell me it’s no big deal. I just. . .tell me. . .there’s a single one of you that’s worth one single hair on that woman’s gray head! Tell me that!
Glen Whitehouse: What?
Lena: Jesus is more powerful than any demon.
Glen Whitehouse: Oh, go fuck yourself!
Rolfe: Wade, just leave it.
Glen Whitehouse: Yeah, just listen to your little brother here. “Wade, just leave it.” Candy-asses. All of you. That’s what I’ve got for children. Jesus freaks and candy-asses!
A lot has been written about this film by people who know it a lot better than I do, so I’m gonna preface this by saying what I want to do with this piece is not a full analysis of the film, but rather snippets of thoughts and ideas that ran through my head when I watched it Thursday last at the Castro Theatre. I first saw Taxi Driver when I was about 15 (I rented it on VHS and I did not tell my parents) and I don’t think I really understood what I was watching. Really, going into the screening on Thursday, all I remembered from the film was the scene where Robert De Niro takes Cybill Shepherd to the porno theater. That was the first time I ever saw porn. Needless to say, it was shocking. Believe it or not, that was the only time I’d seen the film before this last time. So I have only seen it twice now. I’m guessing it’s a movie that gets richer each time you watch it, much like my favorite Scorsese film, 1985’s criminally under-seen After Hours. I would also like to mention that 1976 is a year where I can’t really say I wish one film beat another film. For me, it’s a year where all of the nominees are so important and so different, that choosing just one seems like a disservice. Well, four of them, anyway, as I have not yet seen Bound For Glory. Although Taxi Driver won the Palm d’Or at the Cannes film festival, it received only four Academy Award nominations and failed to win in any of the categories: Best Picture, Best Actor Robert De Niro, Best Supporting Actress Jodie Foster and Best Original Score. The other films nominated for Best Picture that year were All The President’s Men, Bound For Glory, Network and winner Rocky.
Jake La Motta: I remember those cheers / They still ring in my ears / After years, they remain in my thoughts. / Go to one night / I took off my robe, and what’d I do? I forgot to wear shorts. / I recall every fall / Every hook, every jab / The worst way a guy can get rid of his flab. / As you know, my life wasn’t drab. / Though I’d much… Though I’d rather hear you cheer / When you delve… Though I’d rather hear you cheer / When I delve into Shakespeare / “A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse”, I haven’t had a winner in six months. / Though I’m no Olivier / I would much rather… And though I’m no Olivier / If he fought Sugar Ray / He would say / That the thing ain’t the ring, it’s the play. / So give me a… stage / Where this bull here can rage / And though I could fight / I’d much rather recite /… that’s entertainment!