Discussion of movies and ReelThoughts topics

It is currently Tue Sep 30, 2014 3:10 pm




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 15 posts ] 
Poll #55: Taxi Driver ending 

What are you thoughts on Taxi Driver's ending?
It totally happened for real. 69%  69%  [ 9 ]
Travis just imagined it. 31%  31%  [ 4 ]
Total votes : 13

Poll #55: Taxi Driver ending 
Author Message
Post Poll #55: Taxi Driver ending
So what do you guys think happened at the end of Taxi Driver. Was it all real or was it just Travis Bickle's imagination?


Wed Jun 09, 2010 8:05 am
Post Re: Poll #55: Taxi Driver ending
I think it was all imagined. The ending is so totally out there and from left-field that I can't even conceive of this being real at all.


Wed Jun 09, 2010 8:06 am
Post Re: Poll #55: Taxi Driver ending
I never knew this was a point of contention for people before clicking on this poll.

At any rate, I've always assumed it happened as it's shown -- the scene at the end, where Travis gets a chance to talk with Betsy a final time, wouldn't have quite the heft if the violence wasn't real.

Or maybe that's the scene that's imagined. I don't even know. What ending are you talking about? The scene in the cab?

Has anyone ever questioned this before?


Wed Jun 09, 2010 6:02 pm
Post Re: Poll #55: Taxi Driver ending
What happens after the shootout is what I'm talking about...and there's been debate about this subject.


Wed Jun 09, 2010 6:44 pm
Post Re: Poll #55: Taxi Driver ending
Ah ha. I'll take it as a real because there's nothing particularly fantastic (in the actual sense of the word) about it. All that matters to me is that he adjusts that rearview mirror so he doesn't have to look at himself -- that's something that Travis would probably do and only in the real world.


Wed Jun 09, 2010 7:05 pm
Post Re: Poll #55: Taxi Driver ending
I haven't come across the debate about the ending either. Actually, I was surprised to find out that there was any debate, so thanks for that Patrick. I always assumed everything in that movie happened for real. Next viewing I'll take the other option into account, but for now I firmly believe that everything was real.


Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:57 am
Post Re: Poll #55: Taxi Driver ending
1. It doesn't matter. As Ebert points out, it completes the story on a level that isn't necessarily literal, but far more important to the concerns of the movie.

2. The "Travis imagined it all in his dying moments" theory is interesting, but there isn't enough evidence for it to be anything more. Take it as you'd take anything else in the film--it's happening, but you're getting the story from an unreliable teller.


Thu Jun 10, 2010 5:02 pm
Critic
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:35 am
Posts: 7433
Location: Easton, MD
Post Re: Poll #55: Taxi Driver ending
I don't want the coda to be imagined, but as I watch the movie I think it's kinda impossible to get around the fact that it probably is. It's all the stuff of dreams and wish-fulfillment: anti-social Travis is now regarded as a hero, Jodie Foster's parents send him a letter of gratitude explaining that she's gone back to school, and Cybill Shepherd is now more interested in him than he is in her. Plus his hair has grown back and he's recovered completely. Yeah, no question for me.

_________________
I'm lithe and fierce as a tiger


Thu Jun 10, 2010 5:17 pm
Profile
Post Re: Poll #55: Taxi Driver ending
JamesKunz wrote:
anti-social Travis is now regarded as a hero,
Explain how this wouldn't plausibly occur in the reality of the movie.

JamesKunz wrote:
Jodie Foster's parents send him a letter of gratitude explaining that she's gone back to school,
This too.

JamesKunz wrote:
Plus his hair has grown back and he's recovered completely.
The only thing this suggests is that time has passed.

JamesKunz wrote:
Cybill Shepherd is now more interested in him than he is in her.
This is the only part of the ending which seems too odd to rule out, but let's recall that Travis--previously known to her only as the initially sweet guy who put a very uncomfortable move on her--has been revealed, at last, as a brave hero of sorts.

And I'll remind you that we're not getting her side of the story, either. We don't know Betsy, and we don't know why she would get into the cab at the end. We only know what Travis thinks, feels, and has to say about it. To him, Betsy dumped him because he's a filthy, despicable person. To him, Betsy returned to him because he's the savior of (in his eyes) a helpless little girl who had been taken into the custody of the worst kinds of human beings. The "reality" of the ending cannot be judged against anything we'd typically take for granted as socially normal, because nothing we've gotten at any point of the movie has been through the lens of socially normal.

I'm not about to dismiss a perfectly valid interpretation, but I do dismiss it as the primary mode of reading the film. That it is odd is not enough reason to segregate it from the happenings of the rest of the film.

-----

I did once read a fascinating essay, which suggested that the movie's looping structure isn't just an implication that Travis will keep moving towards violence until it kills him. In a sort of metaphysical twist, the events themselves may have looped in a real, concrete sense. Or, at least, it suggests that if the end of the movie is a fantasy, that the whole of the movie may be as well. The essay pointed out that while we never get a good look at them, there are already notes and newspaper clippings on Travis's wall throughout the film.

Could he have already received the letter from the Steensmas, or at least a version of it? Could he already have made the papers as an unlikely hero? Is the whole film a feverish, dreamlike recounting by Travis of some murky events that happened in the reality outside of the film? Again, I don't necessarily buy it, because the movie itself doesn't suggest it strongly or clearly enough, but it's an interesting alternative way of reading the film.

EDIT:

Plus, as I said previously, the reality (or unreality) of the ending ultimately doesn't matter. It's kind of like fussing over what the final scene of No Country For Old Men is supposed to mean. What you get out of it is what you get. Quibbling over hidden messages is, at best, overlooking the point. Sometimes, it's a weird fetishistic obsession over irrelevant details that geek culture tends to exhibit. Fun to talk about, but not to get too invested in.


Thu Jun 10, 2010 5:31 pm
Critic
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:35 am
Posts: 7433
Location: Easton, MD
Post Re: Poll #55: Taxi Driver ending
I'm not going to argue with you Ken, but I think it's a very valid interpretation. Watch the way the camera cuts from the brothel to the coda scenes: it's very dreamlike. The only real argument I have is with your final, obnoxious point.

Ken wrote:
Plus, as I said previously, the reality (or unreality) of the ending ultimately doesn't matter. It's kind of like fussing over what the final scene of No Country For Old Men is supposed to mean. What you get out of it is what you get. Quibbling over hidden messages is, at best, overlooking the point. Sometimes, it's a weird fetishistic obsession over irrelevant details that geek culture tends to exhibit. Fun to talk about, but not to get too invested in.


How on fucking earth is the ending of a movie an "irrelevant detail?" We're debating what a filmmaker is trying to say, what the fate of the main character is, what the conclusion to the entire film is. We're not "quibbling" over whether the name Travis is actually a reference to the Norman French word for "to cross," we're looking into a film and discussing it intelligently. This is exactly what smart people do with works of art, so where do you get off criticizing? Especially since you joined us for five paragraphs and then ended by saying "Oh but it doesn't matter and is stupid anyway." Come on, Ken.

_________________
I'm lithe and fierce as a tiger


Thu Jun 10, 2010 7:23 pm
Profile
Post Re: Poll #55: Taxi Driver ending
JamesKunz wrote:
I'm not going to argue with you Ken, but I think it's a very valid interpretation. Watch the way the camera cuts from the brothel to the coda scenes: it's very dreamlike.
You mean the dissolve? That's movie shorthand for "a long time has passed."

JamesKunz wrote:
How on fucking earth is the ending of a movie an "irrelevant detail?" We're debating what a filmmaker is trying to say, what the fate of the main character is, what the conclusion to the entire film is. We're not "quibbling" over whether the name Travis is actually a reference to the Norman French word for "to cross," we're looking into a film and discussing it intelligently. This is exactly what smart people do with works of art, so where do you get off criticizing? Especially since you joined us for five paragraphs and then ended by saying "Oh but it doesn't matter and is stupid anyway." Come on, Ken.
I was making a general point about the way some moviegoers attempt to dissect endings as if there's a deliberately encoded secret message that will reveal all if uncovered. That is usually the impetus behind conversations like this one, and I wanted to caution against that to ensure that my remarks were received as intended.

If you're convinced that the final portion a negative criticism of you, specifically, in this situation, that is entirely your problem. Never mind that the stuff I actually did challenge you to elaborate upon--the "intelligent discussion" part--went completely ignored. If Vexer were pulling this shit like he always used to do, you'd be the first in line to run him up the flagpole by his underpants.


Fri Jun 11, 2010 2:33 pm
Post Re: Poll #55: Taxi Driver ending
Ken wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:
I'm not going to argue with you Ken, but I think it's a very valid interpretation. Watch the way the camera cuts from the brothel to the coda scenes: it's very dreamlike.
You mean the dissolve? That's movie shorthand for "a long time has passed."

JamesKunz wrote:
How on fucking earth is the ending of a movie an "irrelevant detail?" We're debating what a filmmaker is trying to say, what the fate of the main character is, what the conclusion to the entire film is. We're not "quibbling" over whether the name Travis is actually a reference to the Norman French word for "to cross," we're looking into a film and discussing it intelligently. This is exactly what smart people do with works of art, so where do you get off criticizing? Especially since you joined us for five paragraphs and then ended by saying "Oh but it doesn't matter and is stupid anyway." Come on, Ken.
I was making a general point about the way some moviegoers attempt to dissect endings as if there's a deliberately encoded secret message that will reveal all if uncovered. That is usually the impetus behind conversations like this one, and I wanted to caution against that to ensure that my remarks were received as intended.

If you're convinced that the final portion a negative criticism of you, specifically, in this situation, that is entirely your problem. Never mind that the stuff I actually did challenge you to elaborate upon--the "intelligent discussion" part--went completely ignored. If Vexer were pulling this shit like he always used to do, you'd be the first in line to run him up the flagpole by his underpants.

You sure do love bringing into discussions in which i'm not even involved don't you? :roll:


Fri Jun 11, 2010 3:04 pm
Critic
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:35 am
Posts: 7433
Location: Easton, MD
Post Re: Poll #55: Taxi Driver ending
Ken wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:
I'm not going to argue with you Ken, but I think it's a very valid interpretation. Watch the way the camera cuts from the brothel to the coda scenes: it's very dreamlike.
You mean the dissolve? That's movie shorthand for "a long time has passed."

JamesKunz wrote:
How on fucking earth is the ending of a movie an "irrelevant detail?" We're debating what a filmmaker is trying to say, what the fate of the main character is, what the conclusion to the entire film is. We're not "quibbling" over whether the name Travis is actually a reference to the Norman French word for "to cross," we're looking into a film and discussing it intelligently. This is exactly what smart people do with works of art, so where do you get off criticizing? Especially since you joined us for five paragraphs and then ended by saying "Oh but it doesn't matter and is stupid anyway." Come on, Ken.
I was making a general point about the way some moviegoers attempt to dissect endings as if there's a deliberately encoded secret message that will reveal all if uncovered. That is usually the impetus behind conversations like this one, and I wanted to caution against that to ensure that my remarks were received as intended.

If you're convinced that the final portion a negative criticism of you, specifically, in this situation, that is entirely your problem. Never mind that the stuff I actually did challenge you to elaborate upon--the "intelligent discussion" part--went completely ignored. If Vexer were pulling this shit like he always used to do, you'd be the first in line to run him up the flagpole by his underpants.


I can't argue with you about the ending itself because you've already invalidated the entire enterprise. Were I to "quibble" with you about it, I would only play into your hand and reveal myself to have a "weird, fetishistic obsession" with the film in question. So instead I took you to task for your other point.

_________________
I'm lithe and fierce as a tiger


Fri Jun 11, 2010 3:13 pm
Profile
Post Re: Poll #55: Taxi Driver ending
Now is the perfect time to throw out yet another recommendation for Stuff Geeks Love (and, because Eduard_Metal_Head would want me to, http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/):

http://stuffgeekslove.wordpress.com/

Sadly, they're no longer updating the site but the exchange between Ken and James, with me feeling some sympathy for James for being in a difficult (read: untenable) position in that he's absolutely correct (argue and look like a geek or defend and potentially be argued into looking like a geek), reminded me of some of their work. Good stuff. Check it out today!


Fri Jun 11, 2010 5:39 pm
Post Re: Poll #55: Taxi Driver ending
JamesKunz wrote:
I can't argue with you about the ending itself because you've already invalidated the entire enterprise.
Did not!

JamesKunz wrote:
Were I to "quibble" with you about it, I would only play into your hand and reveal myself to have a "weird, fetishistic obsession" with the film in question. So instead I took you to task for your other point.
Fool, do not make him repeat himself:
Ken wrote:
I was making a general point about the way some moviegoers attempt to dissect endings as if there's a deliberately encoded secret message that will reveal all if uncovered. That is usually the impetus behind conversations like this one, and I wanted to caution against that to ensure that my remarks were received as intended.
But never mind that. This is all, of course, an obvious ruse intended specifically to make you look like a fool, to ends that will remain a mystery until the rest of my diabolical plot is revealed.

Worlds will live, worlds will die, and the Reelviews forums will never be the same.


Sat Jun 12, 2010 8:39 pm
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 15 posts ] 


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by Vjacheslav Trushkin for Free Forum/DivisionCore.
Translated by Xaphos © 2007, 2008, 2009 phpBB.fr