Taxi Driveri is certainly notable for that reason : earliest indisputable display of "game"ii. Weirdo ex-marine with clearly too much going on in his head outside of his control works up the guts to talk to an out-of-class girl, picks her up right out of the office, from under the nose of some repugnant jew kid with this killer line :
Travis Bickle: I'll tell you why. I think you're a lonely person. I drive by this place a lot and I see you here. I see a lot of people around you. And I see all these phones and all this stuff on your desk. It means nothing. Then when I came inside and I met you, I saw in your eyes and I saw the way you carried yourself that you're not a happy person. And I think you need something. And if you want to call it a friend, you can call it a friend.
Betsy: Are you gonna be my friend?
Travis Bickle: Yeah.
And then, few hours later, safely enshrined behind black coffee & apple pie proceeds to enchant her thus :
Travis Bickle: I would say he has quite a few problems. His energy seems to go in the wrong places. When I walked in and I saw you two sitting there, I could just tell by the way you were both relating that there was no connection whatsoever. And I felt when I walked in that there was something between us. There was an impulse that we were both following. So that gave me the right to come in and talk to you. Otherwise I never would have felt that I had the right to talk to you or say anything to you. I never would have had the courage to talk to you. And with him I felt there was nothing and I could sense it. When I walked in, I knew I was right. Did you feel that way?
Betsy: I wouldn't be here if I didn't.
Add all sorts of magical gesturing and you've got it plain. Pretty advanced for 1976, right ?! Not like people were getting laid before then, huh. (Oh, and then ? He takes her to an XXX feature.)
It amuses me, for how bad it is. NLP was just getting started back then and no doubt they thought they were all cutting edge, bleeding edge, smack drab in the heart of progress, future and all that by including the crap. Cybill Shepherd is a pretty shitty actress, too (and a Kris Kristofferson fan to boot).
On the other hand, Jodie Foster got her first serious role in Taxi Driver, she's playing a 12½ yo prostitute. She was 13 at the time and I'd guess the main reason we're even talking about this film is that she's looking smoking hot as a junior-high whore. A disturbing thought, isn't it ? Can you even entertain it, anymore ? Do you envisage anyone making films today with 12 year old whores in the script ? Why, is it because there's fewer of them today as opposed to 40 years ago ? Is it because we're so much more comfortable with lying, so much more used to hypocrisy by now ? Do you see the TV commercials star (family wholesomeness, obviously) playing a 12 year old prostitute today ? Being nominated for the Academy Awards ? No, you don't, do you. You see a worhtless nigger with the Nobel Peace Prize and an absolute airhead with the Nobel Economics Prize. It's the times, we've likely won the war on common decency and absolutely won the war on common sense. Why bother with the peanuts obscenity of prepubescent cunt when you could be dealing wholesale in the obscenity of Obama, Krugman and the like ? Why live in the United States when you can dream with the soviets ?
She's doing a remarkable job of it, too. You wouldn't expect someone her age to understand the psychoeconomics of the situation, that particular brand of wavering loyalty built out of fear and desperation that unites the prostitute to "her" pimp. She understands it just fine, however, and the camera picks up on it. Clever girl. So, so very unlike that stolid brick of common sense stupidity whose career predictably but also satisfyingly never went anywhere.
Not a bad film, really. Depends who's watchin'.———