UNFILTERED THOUGHTS: ‘La La Land’ (2016)

What lies ahead is an unedited jumble of words, thrown onto a blank sheet of paper late at night after seeing a movie. Enjoy at your own risk.

I just got home from seeing the film that will win Best Picture at the Academy Awards in two-and-a-half months time.

I don’t care that there are still several worthy films still to come (or, rather, films that think they’re worthy, like what I imagine Ben Affleck’s Live By Night thinks of itself, so it pushes for a limited release on Christmas 2016, but isn’t released wide until January 13, 2017, so it obviously cares but like, sorry, Ben, you already got your Oscar and you have yet to prove you deserve another one so moving on…). La La Land will win Best Picture. You can quote me. You can etch that quote into my grave stone if you want. There’s no way a film that is this dazzling and grand, while also playing to the Old Guard so well through its musical numbers and interest in exploring Hollywood culture itself doesn’t win.

It’s just too bad I think it’s only just a good movie.

(hit CONTINUE READING to read about some problems, and also some good stuff) Continue reading “UNFILTERED THOUGHTS: ‘La La Land’ (2016)”

Travis Bickle –– The Urban Ethan Edwards

How Paul Schrader, Martin Scorsese and Robert DeNiro Used A Classic Western to Make An Urban Masterpiece


“Only the mad John Ford appealed to me: The Searchers, the Ethan Edwards half of him, which I love… I go back to certain films regularly. At least once a year I see The Searchers.”

‒‒ Paul Schrader (1976)


Robert DeNiro as Travis Bickle in ‘Taxi Driver’

Despite remarkably different surface appearances, The Searchers greatly influenced screenwriter Paul Schrader when he scripted Taxi Driver, Martin Scorsese’s 1976 psychological crime thriller. Ethan Edwards (John Wayne), The Searchers’ main character, roams iconic Monument Valley ahorse, battling Comanche Indians in an endless search for his kidnapped niece, while Travis Bickle (Robert DeNiro), the protagonist of Taxi Driver, taxis the gritty streets of an unrecognizable New York City, hoping to exterminate the urban filth. Upon closer analysis, it seems criminal that Schrader could reference so much of John Ford’s 1956 western without violating copyright law. By stripping each film down to the mentality and motives of its main characters, Taxi Driver hardly appears original. The films are even more similar when supporting roles are factored. It is clear that Taxi Driver and Travis Bickle fall victim to classic western and gunslinger standards. Continue reading “Travis Bickle –– The Urban Ethan Edwards”