All posts tagged: American film

Representations of Urban Space & Masculinity in “Taxi Driver”

Representations of Urban Space & Masculinity in “Taxi Driver” & the Rise of the American Right-Wing Though Martin Scorsese’s 1976 psychological thriller, Taxi Driver, was released over 40 years ago, one could argue that many layers to the film’s harsh societal critiques are just as relevant in today’s sociopolitical climate. By exploring 1970s New York City through the perspective of Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro), an intense man whose past we know little about other than that he served in the Vietnam War, Scorsese and screenwriter Paul Schrader allow the audience to see the world through a particularly conservative lens. In the film, Bickle’s taxi cab works as a device that carries him through spaces he may not otherwise occupy. In this vehicle he’s shielded from that which fuels his fear and contempt. He sees, though might not necessarily be seen. He’s a vigilante on the edge of sanity, a sort of messiah figure who strives to clean up the city, though his racist and sexist rational for this metaphoric “clean up” is never stated …

10 Facts About Francis Ford Coppola on His Birthday

1. Francis Ford Coppola was born in Detroit, Michigan on April 7th, 1939, but grew up in a New York suburb. 2. When he was young he caught polio, so during his quarantine he practiced puppetry and spent time watching movies. 3. He graduated with a drama degree from Hofstra University and went on to receive an MFA in Film Production from UCLA in 1967. 4. He is considered a part of the New Hollywood wave (or American New Wave) of filmmaking, which includes other masterful directors such as Martin Scorsese, Stanley Kubrick, Mike Nichols, Hal Ashby, Roman Polanski, Steven Spielberg, and George Lucas, among others. 5. His family is full of accomplished filmmakers and actors including, but not limited to, Sofia Coppola, Nicolas Cage, Jason Schwartzman, and Gia Coppola. 6. He owns a successful winery – the Francis Ford Coppola – of which I can personally vouch for. 7. Supposedly George Lucas based the Star Wars trilogy character Hans Solo on Coppola. 8. He is credited for directing 12 different actors in Oscar nominated performances, …

Quentin Tarantino on Good Ideas, Hollywood & Filmmaking

Some love his work, others hate his work, but all know his work. I happen to belong to the first group, so today, in honor of Quentin Tarantino’s birthday, I’d like to share a few of my favorite Tarantino quotes. “If you just love movies enough, you can make a good one.” “The good ideas will survive.” “To me, movies and music go hand in hand. When I’m writing a script, one of the first things I do is find the music I’m going to play for the opening sequence.” “I steal from every movie ever made.” “I’m not a Hollywood basher because enough good movies come out of the Hollywood system every year to justify its existence, without any apologies.” “I couldn’t spell anything. I couldn’t remember anything, but I could go to a movie and I knew who starred in it, who directed it, everything.” “All of my movies are achingly personal.” “If I wasn’t a film-maker, I’d be a film critic. It’s the only thing I’d be qualified to do.” “Movies are not …

Exploring Gender & Race On-Screen

When I graduated in 2013 and started this blog, I began to watch films more critically and evaluate them with a strict sense of what a film is meant to do. Some films are meant to make us laugh – others make us think – most make us feel. But what I believe all films should do is reflect our world accurately. A futuristic sci-fi should not feature a cast of one race. Romantic comedies should not only be about women fighting for the love of a man. Period pieces should not soften facts to appease the masses. No matter how fantastical the story is, I believe the filmmaker – as a cultural influencer – has the duty of doing their best to accurately reflect our culture in some way or another. Most directly, this means making diverse casting choices and writing scripts to support these roles. According to the New York Film Academy, women make up only 30.8% of speaking roles in films to this day, which is absolutely not reflective of the world’s female population. This past year, …

50 Years of ‘The Sound of Music’

Today marks the 50th anniversary of The Sound of Music – released on March 2, 1965. Directed and produced by Robert Wise, and starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, The Sound of Music is considered one of the most iconic musicals in the history of American film. An adaptation of the 1959 Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway musical of the same title, the story is based on Maria von Trapp’s memoir, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers. Though The Sound of Music was not initially well received by critics, it briefly displaced Gone with the Wind as the highest-grossing film of all-time. It also won five Academy Awards including Best Picture, Director, Editing, Sound Mixing, and Music. I first saw The Sound of Music when I was quite young – maybe five or six. To this day, I still feel the same immense joy when I hear Julie Andrews sing “My Favorite Things” or “The Hills Are Alive,” and I’m just as nervous when Rolfe spots the von Trapp family while they’re trying to escape. When The Sound of Music turns 75 or 100, I’ll love it the exact same way I did as …