Tag Archives: Martin Scorsese

You don’t know what it’s like being male, middle-class and white.

38. Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese, 1976)

I have a theory that there is a list of about 7 or so movies that every angry or disaffected white teenage male loves, and cherishes into adulthood. These movies typically involve white people who are fed up or somehow alienated from the world around them, and act out in violent ways. Sometimes these movies are set in war-time, sometimes they are gangster films, and sometimes they involve just plain murder and random violence.

I think the key is that each film has a character that the angry white teenager can identify with, and that the character is able to offer pseudo-philosophical insights about the world. Another hallmark of these films is that they make up the core of the angry white teenagers DVD(or VHS) collection, and end up appearing en masse at your local Cash Converters(cause teenagers and later young adults are poor, and will need to hock something to pay their rent at least one time in their life). A third hallmark is they are directed by a reputed great director, or they a have someone like Al Pacino, or Robert De Niro as the star. Finally these films often have famous quotes and iconic scenes which the angry white teenager wears like a badge of honor, wishing they could somehow be so clever.

So here is my official list of 10 movies that angry white teenagers love and view as the greatest films ever made(in no particular order:

  1. Taxi Driver -Travis Bickle is the quintessential disaffected white male, eminently quotable, charismatic, and a vigilante. Plus he shoots people, and has a moral code that makes sense to young impressionable minds. Also has “are you talking to me?”
  2. Full Metal Jacket – Private Joker is the dichotomy of war of peace. He’s funny, witty, sharp, and loses it in the end. The kids love the blood the gore, the killing, and Private Pyle’s going crazy, they also like the “me so horny” scene.
  3. The Godfather – More violence, and a twisted moral code. Angry white teenagers identify with Michael Corleone. Also has “I’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse”.
  4. Goodfellas – More violence, and a twisted moral code. Angry white teenagers love the “do I amuse you scene” with Tommy DeVito, and wish they could go around beating the shit out of people.
  5. Apocalypse Now – The spiritual predecessor to Full Metal Jacket. Mayhem, craziness, and nihilism are central to the angry white teenagers worldview, and this film has it all. Plus it has Brando in it, and the famous line “I love the smell of napalm in the morning”.
  6. Natural Born Killers – Because serial killers are the ultimate representation of nihilism, and are utterly fascinating to angry white teenagers. The more sprawling the film is the more likely the angry white teenager can fill in the blanks. The kids love the line “I’ll make ya famous”.
  7. Reservoir Dogs – This spot really represents all of Tarantino’s work(save for Jackie Brown, which no one cares about). The angry white teenager loves Tarantino above all else. Mindless killing, clever dialogue, blatant criminality. “The royale with cheese” scene from Pulp Fiction, and the “stuck in the middle with you” scene from Reservoir Dogs are representative of the things the kids love.

Honorable mentions include David Lynch films, Silence of the Lambs, The Living Dead series, and the occasional Hitchcock film like Psycho, and other Scorsese and Kubrick films(particularly Clockwork Orange).

Now I enjoy most of the films I have mentioned, save for Natural Born Killers which has no redeeming qualities save for Robert Downey Jr., and Rodney Dangerfield. Enjoyment of these films does not inherently mean you are an angry white teenager. The function of this post is simply to point out the films that angry white teenagers deem as classic, and what often represents classic cinema in their minds.

On filmaffinity.com I gave the film 8/10. It’s been ages since I have seen it, but I remember it well. It is something I want to revisit, but I haven’t really felt like doing so lately.

More perfect than Curt Hennig.

18. Raging Bull (Martin Scorsese, 1980)

Ranking Scorsese:

  1. King of Comedy
  2. Raging Bull
  3. After Hours
  4. Goodfellas
  5. Mean Streets
  6. Casino
  7. Gangs of New York
  8. Taxi Driver
  9. Cape Fear
  10. The Departed
  11. The Color of Money
  12. Bringing Out The Dead

This is my candidate for the perfect film. Not my favorite mind you, but rather a film that is perfect in every facet. I don’t really know what you could criticize about it. I mean it’s beautifully shot with a great score, great performances, the best boxing sequences ever filmed, iconic images and lines, great screenplay, and it’s both engaging and well paced. Like honestly I don’t know what fault this movie has.

The only other films out of the top 20 that I would even consider being on the level of “Raging Bull” are “The Godfather” and maybe “Seven Samurai”. When I say on the level, I mean in terms of just being close to perfection, like I can’t think of a fault the film has. But with “The Godfather” I could argue that its attempts to negatively depict the underworld ostensibly fail, because the Corleone family is so compelling. As entertainment it succeeds wonderfully, but if one sees it as a morality play(which I kind of do), it fails(as gangster pictures always do). “The Seven Samurai” is wonderful in so many ways, but it demands a rewatching before I can assess it in the context of perfection.

The only piece of filmmaking that really resonates quite as strongly in terms of causing to me to think this is perfect is the first hour of “The Best Years of Our Lives“, which to me trumps even “Raging Bull” in terms of just being incredibly well done. But “Raging Bull” is the only film that I have seen that I would classify as perfect from start to finish.

On filmaffinity.com I gave the film 10/10 (My initial viewing from about 6 years ago left me with a hazy 8/10). I recommend the shit out of this film.