Lists are great. They inspire discussion, create arguments, and tend to spiral off into fun new lists. When you do a list about the “BEST” of anything it goes from being fun to becoming a hotbed for arguments. There’s no such thing as a definitive list but I’ve decided to pull from my rather extensive life of film watching and put it to good use.
This is not the “film critic’s top 100” list. There’s no guarantee Citizen Kane or The Bicycle Thief will be in the top echelon or even on the list. This is the 100 movies I would put my name on as my top 100. If I died tomorrow this would represent the 100 films I find most vital, special, or ones that bonded to whatever it is that makes me me. I’m not including documentaries, though that might make for a nice supplemental list.
The first 80 will be in no particular order. The last 20 will be in very particular order. One a day, you have my word.
#42 – Taxi Driver
Why is it here:
Note: Remember that the first 80 are in no particular order.
There’s more Scorsese coming, rest assured. This is a tough one because this movie has veered back and forth more than any other of my favorite director’s place in my heart, soul, and personal list. It’s one of his most singular, it’s one of Robert DeNiro’s most important performances, and it’s a film perfectly married to its era. It’s so perfect with its balance of slightly notorious place in film and its pop culture significance. Like Scarface, it lives with a toe dipped in a few worlds. It’s a film made much bigger by people who emulate it for all the wrong reasons. But the film itself is such a powerful one that all the chaff and moments blown out of proportion are irrelevant. It’s a grim, nihilistic marriage of the dark corners of New York City as seen through the eyes of one of the mediums most vital characters. It’s not Scorsese at his best (forthcoming), most entertaining (The Departed), or artfully profound (Raging Bull). But it’s as essential as anything in film history.
Moments to savor:
Joe Spinell! Blurry Porn! The Famous Moments! Albert Brooks Afro! The hidden gun trick! Cybill Shepherd being attractive! Jodie Foster being precocious and amazing! Harvey Keitel with Pimp Grip!
I liked this film for the wrong reasons the first time I saw it. I thought Travis Bickle was a badass. Then I realized being a badass is mostly just another way of being an ass. I don’t have as much fun with it now but I certainly don’t like it any less