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Compare and Contrast Essay - Movie Review Example

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Summary
When the American Film Institute released a list of the 100 greatest American movies ever made in 1998, Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver came in at number 47, sandwiched in between A Clockwork Orange and Jaws. The 100 finalists had been narrowed down from a list of 400 nominees…
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Compare and Contrast Essay

Download file to see previous pages... Ronald Reagan did nothing to limit the film's steady claim to being a classic. On the other hand, The King of Comedy was almost universally ignored by critics and audiences when first released; many critics complained that it was nothing more than a pale imitation of Taxi Driver that followed the same general plot line of a psychotic individual achieving a level of fame after committing a violent act. It is the fact that Travis Bickle winds up as the hero at the end of Taxi Driver that has driven much of the acclaim for that movie. It has been held up as a shining example of the rise of the antihero in the films of the 1970s. In fact, the latter film stands as a much more complex example of antiheroism in film because Travis Bickle's standing as an antihero must be held up to question; Bickle is actually a simple hero in comparison to his counterpart Rupert Pupkin in The King of Comedy. Yet both characters are last seen in the guise of socially accepted hero.
While the earlier film has retained much of its status, it has taken some hits from critics questioning the validity of many assumptions commonly made about it. In contrast, the stock of The King of Comedy has risen as in retrospect it has come to be seen as eerily prescient in the way it foresaw the rise of the culture of the pseudo celebrity. In another American Film Institute list, Travis Bickle was voted as the 30th best film villain of all time. In fact, Bickle should not have been on the villain list at all, but rather the hero list. Why is he on the villain list Because he threatens to kill a Presidential candidate and because he does kill several people at the end of the movie. But who does he kill and why He kills drug pushers, pimps, scum. And why To save a twelve year old girl from living amongst them, from being a prostitute. In fact, if one were to change the circumstances and the characters around a little, Travis Bickle could have been played by John Wayne. And, in fact, he was. In The Searchers, Wayne played an equally psychotic hero trying to save a young girl after she was kidnapped by Indians.
Contrast the motives of Bickle with Rupert Pupkin. Pupkin kidnaps TV talk show host Jerry Langford at gunpoint, ties him up, gags him and blackmails his way into Langford's television show so he can show off his comic talents. While Travis Bickle commits crime in the name of saving a young girl, Pupkin commits crime in the name of becoming a celebrity. And become a celebrity he does. In the coda of Taxi Driver, newspaper headlines show that Travis Bickle has become a minor celebrity, thanked by the girl's parents and now the object of romantic interest by a girl who earlier spurned him. In the coda of King of Comedy, Pupkin has become a famous celebrity. Not just a celebrity, but a celebrity more famous for being famous because he committed a crime than for any real talent. Pupkin is the fictional forerunner of such pseudocelebrities as attempted murderer Amy Fisher or homemade porn queen Paris Hilton.
Very few moviegoers would not be able to immediately identify from which film the following quote comes: "Are you talking to me" The vision of Travis Bickle, portrayed by Robert DeNiro, standing in front of a mirror in and continually making this query of his reflection has reached an iconic state. The story goes that DeNiro basically improvised this scene during shooting; regardless, that ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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