Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 8/1/22 — 8/7/22

This was a good week.  The average temperature went from 110 to a mere 99 so I played a little tennis with my sister on Tuesday.  I played a little golf on Wednesday.  I turns out that I’m not particularly good at either one of those activities but still, it was nice to get out for a bit.  I’ve been told that my backhand is as cute as it is inefficient and apparently, the same is true of my swing.  Oh well.  I had fun!

You may have noticed that, after two rather low-key months, the site came alive this week.  That was by design.  I can’t wait for everyone to see what we’ve got in store for the rest of 2022!

Here’s what I watched, read, and listened to this week!

Films I Watched:

  1. Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991)
  2. A Day To Die (2022)
  3. Drawn Into The Night (2010)
  4. Gold (2022)
  5. Guns (1990)
  6. The Longest Yard (1974)
  7. A Mighty Wind (2003)
  8. Planet Dune (2021)
  9. The Sinister Squad (2016)
  10. The Stranger (1995)
  11. Ted K (2022)

Television Shows I Watched:

  1. Allo Allo
  2. The Bachelortte
  3. Big Brother
  4. Breaking Bad
  5. The Challenge
  6. CHiPs
  7. Diff’rent Strokes
  8. Family Ties
  9. Fantasy Island
  10. Full House
  11. Ghost Whisperer
  12. Hart to Hart
  13. Inspector Lewis
  14. King of the Hill
  15. Kojak
  16. Magnum P.I.
  17. Medium
  18. Mike Judge’s Beavis and Butthead
  19. Open All Hours
  20. Taffik

Books I Read:

  1. Hellraisers: The Life and Inebriated Times of Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Peter O’Toole, and Oliver Reed (2009) by Robert Sellers

Music To Which I Listened:

  1. Avril Lavigne
  2. Britney Spears
  3. Christina Aguilera
  4. Coldplay
  5. Demi Lovato
  6. Gorillaz
  7. Hilary Duff
  8. Jakalope
  9. Jefferson Airplane
  10. Jennifer Lopez
  11. Jessica Simpson
  12. Kid Rock
  13. Lynard Skynard
  14. Muse
  15. Phantom Planet
  16. Saint Motel
  17. Taylor Swift
  18. Tove Lo
  19. Warren Zevon


  1. The Banshees of Inisherin
  2. Cars on the Road
  3. Star Wars: Andor
  4. Devotion

News From Last Week:

  1. Archie Battersbee: 12-year-old boy dies hours after hospital ends life support against parents’ wishes
  2. Archie Battersbee: Tragic case echoes heartbreaking fight other families have faced
  3. Archie Battersbee: ‘No family should go through this’ – calls for urgent reform in light of 12-year-old’s death
  4. Clu Gulager, ‘The Virginian’ and ‘Return of the Living Dead’ Actor, Dies at 93
  5. Actor-turned-real-estate-agent John Steiner dies in a traffic collision
  6. Roger E. Mosley, ‘Magnum, P.I.’ star, dies at 83 after a car crash
  7. James Franco To Play Fidel Castro In ‘Alina Of Cuba’; Mía Maestro Also Set Opposite Ana Villafañe
  8. Jake Gyllenhaal-Starring ‘Road House’ Reboot Gets Green Light at Prime Video
  9. Michael K. Williams was high on drugs meeting Obama, posthumous memoir reveals
  10. Noah Baumbach’s ‘White Noise’ to Open 2022 NY Film Festival
  11. Batgirl’ Won’t Fly: Warner Bros. Discovery Has No Plans to Release Nearly Finished $90 Million Film
  12. The Dish: What’s Behind The ‘Batgirl’ & ‘Scoob!’ Discard? David Zaslav’s Abject Rejection Of Jason Kilar’s HBO Max Strategy
  13. Warner Bros. Is Facing Mounting Pressure To Axe “The Flash” Amid Ezra Miller’s Controversial Behavior And After Ditching $90M Movie “Batgirl”
  14. Warner Bros. Discovery CEO Defends Axing ‘Batgirl’: ‘We’re Not Going to Put a Movie Out Unless We Believe in It’
  15. ‘iCarly’ Star Jennette McCurdy Claims Nickelodeon Offered Her $300,000 to Stay Quiet on Alleged Abuse
  16. HBO Max, Discovery+ to Merge Into Single Streaming Platform Starting in Summer 2023
  17. John Leguizamo Slams James Franco’s Casting as Fidel Castro: ‘He Ain’t Latino! How Is This Still Going On?’
  18. Film Producer Janet Yang Elected First Asian American President Of The Academy
  19. Anne Heche ‘stable’ after suffering severe burns in Los Angeles car accident

Links From Last Week:

  1. Bob Rafelson, 1933-2022
  2. I’ve won an award!!
  3. The Magical Beauty Of Venice Italy At Night! From Watery San Marco Square’s Live Music To The Smallest Streets!
  4. The World’s Common Tater’s Week in Books, Movies, and TV 8/5/22

Links From The Site:

  1. Jeff reviewed Big City Blues, Avenger, Body Slam, Beavis and Butthead, The Shooter, The Boy Who Drank Too Much, Rock Scissors Paper, The Case of the Wicked Wives, and Homicide: The Movie!
  2. Jeff shared music videos from Alicia Keys, Stone Sour, Ana Johnsson, Snow Patrol, Phantom Planet, Sum 41, and Depeche Mode!
  3. Jeff wrote about Spider-Man as a generational figure, Spider-Man as a cartoon, and Spider-Man as a frustrated job applicant!
  4. Erin shared Ahead, The Armchair Detective, Adventure, Detective Novel, Dime Detective Magazine, Snappy Stories, and Dolls and Guns!
  5. Erin celebrated Dinosaur Day and our mom’s doll collection!
  6. Erin reviewed Retreat to Paradise!
  7. Leonard shared the trailer for The Banshees on Insherin!
  8. I reviewed Clue, Blood Games, Undercover, Shanghai 13, Speed, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Infernal Library, Gerry, The Last Days, Engagement Party, Message From Nam, FTA, Johnny Got His Gun, Scared Straight, Scared Straight: 20 Years Later, Scared Straight: Another Story, Hellraisers, A Day to Die, Drawn Into The Night, Robot Jox, Justin Perry: The Assassin, Traffik, Ted K, Mafia, Gold, and Vatican Kill!
  9. I paid tribute to J. Lee Thompson, Wes Craven, John Huston, Andy Warhol, Umberto Lenzi, and Nicholas Ray!
  10. I shared scenes from Skyfall and Guardians of the Galaxy! 
  11. I shared 8 things that I am looking forward to in August and an AMV of the Day!  I also shared my week in television!  I also took a look at the making of Taxi Driver!

More From Us:

  1. Ryan has a patreon, where he now publishes his reviews!  Consider subscribing!
  2. At Days Without Incident, Leonard shared a song by Bob Moses and Zhu!
  3. At Pop Politics, Jeff shared Dear Kansas This Is Your Chance, Forward?, Looking Over Last Night’s Results, Happy Birthday to the TRS-80, Marilyn and Abe, Questions of the Day, Finally Some Good News, Greetings To Those Above, and Good News!
  4. At her photography site, Erin shared Painting, Painting 2, Painting 3, Painting 4, Painting 5, Painting 6, and Painting 7!
  5. At my music site, I celebrated the past with songs by Jennifer Lopez, Christina Aguilera, Hilary Duff, Britney Spears, Coldplay, Avril Lavigne, and Phantom Planet!
  6. At SyFy Designs, I shared: August 1st, The Longest Yard, A Little Poetry (Not My Own) To Start the Day, Some Days, Time For Some Lake Therapy, Checking In With Next Door, and Archie Battersbee, RIP!
  7. I wrote about Big Brother for the Big Brother Blog!
  8. For Reality TV Chat Blog, I shared Week 4 Veto Meeting, Kyle and Alyssa, It’s Time To Open Up The Diary Room For Week 4, , About Tonight, Week 5 Nominations, and Delusions!
  9. At my online dream journal, I shared Beach Dream, History Class Dream, Spy Dream, Fire Dream, High School Theater Dream, Deep Ellum Dream, and Storage Locker Dream!
  10. At Horror Critic, I reviewed Sinister Squad, Planet Dune, King of the Lost World, Terror at London Bridge, Bigfoot, and 47 Meters Down: Uncaged!

Here’s what I did last week!

Homicide: The Movie (2001, directed by Jean de Segoznac)

Before The Wire, there was Homicide: Life On The Streets.

Based on a non-fiction book by the Baltimore Sun’s David Simon, Homicide: Life on the Streets aired for seven seasons on NBC, from 1993 to 1999. For five of those seasons, Homicide was the best show on television. Produced and occasionally directed by Barry Levinson, Homicide was filmed on location in Baltimore and it followed a group of Homicide detectives as they went about their job. From the start, the show had a strong and diverse ensemble, made up of actors like Andre Braugher, Ned Beatty, Jon Polito, Melissa Leo, Kyle Secor, Clark Johnson, Richard Belzer, Daniel Baldwin, and Yaphet Kotto. When Polito’s character committed suicide at the start of the third season (in a storyline that few other shows would have had the courage to try), he was replaced in the squad by Reed Diamond.

Homicide was a show that was willing to challenge the assumptions of its audiences. The murders were not always solved. The detectives didn’t always get along.  Some of them, like Clark Johnson’s Meldrick Lewis, had such bad luck at their job that it was cause for alarm whenever they picked up the ringing phone. As played by Andre Braugher, Frank Pembleton may have been the most brilliant detective in Baltimore but his brilliance came with a price and his non-stop intensity even led to him having a stroke while interrogating a prisoner. Kyle Secor played Pembleton’s partner, Tim Bayliss.  Bayliss went from being an idealistic rookie to a mentally unstable veteran murder cop in record time, spending seven seasons obsessing on his first unsolved case. Homicide dealt with big issues and, much like its spiritual successor The Wire, it refused to offer up easy solutions.

Despite the critical acclaim and a much hyped second season appearance by Robin Williams (playing a father who was outraged to hear the detectives joking about the murder of his family), Homicide was never a ratings success. After five seasons of perennially being on the verge of cancellation, the producers of Homicide finally caved into NBC’s demands.  The storylines became more soapy and the cases went form being random and tragic to being what the detectives had previously dismissively called “stone cold whodunits.”   New detectives joined the squad and the focus shifted away from the more complex veterans. Not only did this not improve ratings but also those who had been watching the show from the start were not happy to see Pembleton and Bayliss being pushed to the side for new characters like Paul Falsone (Jon Seda) and Laura Ballard (Callie Thorne). Falsone, in particular, was so disliked that there was even an “I Hate Falsone” website. At the end of the sixth season, Andre Braugher left the show and that was the end. The seventh season limped along, with Bayliss growing increasingly unstable.  The show ended with the implication of Bayliss turning into a vigilante and resigning from the Baltimore PD. It was not a satisfying ending. Richard Belzer’s John Munch moved to New York and became a regular on Law & Order: SVU but the rest of the detectives and their fates were left in limbo.

Fortunately, on February 13th, 2000, NBC gave Homicide another chance to have a proper conclusion with Homicide: The Movie.

Homicide: The Movie opens with a montage of Baltimore at its best and its worst, a reminder that Homicide never abandoned the city that had supported it for seven years.  While other shows recreated New York or Chicago on a soundstage, Homicide was always an authentic product of Baltimore. Lt. Al Giardello (Yaphet Kotto) is now running for mayor on a platform calling for drug legalization. When Giardello is shot at a campaign stop, all of the current and former members of the Homicide Unit come together to investigate the case.   While Giardello fights for his life, Pembleton and Bayliss partner up for one final time.

Homicide: The Movie fixes the main mistake that was made by the final two seasons of the show. Though all of the detectives get their moment in the spotlight (and all true Homicide fans will be happy to see Richard Belzer and Ned Beatty acting opposite each other for one final time), the focus is firmly on Pembleton and Bayliss. It doesn’t take long for these two former detectives, both of whom left the unit for their own different reasons, to start picking up on each other’s rhythms. Soon, they’re talking, arguing, and sometimes joking as if absolutely no time has passed since they were last partnered up together. But, one thing has changed. Bayliss now has a secret and if anyone can figure it out, it will be Frank Pembleton. What will Pembleton, the moral crusader, do when he finds out that Bayliss is now a killer himself?

The movie follows the detectives as they search for clues, interview suspects, and complain about the state of the world.  However, in the best Homicide tradition, the investigation is just a launching point to investigate what it means to be right or wrong in a city as troubled as Baltimore.  In the movie’s final half, it becomes more than just a reunion movie of a show that had a small but fervent group of fans. It becomes an extended debate about guilt, morality, and what it means to take responsibility for one’s actions. The final few scenes even take on the supernatural, allowing Jon Polito and Daniel Baldwin a chance to appear in the reunion despite the previous deaths of their characters.

Despite being one the best shows in the history of television, Homicide: Life on the Streets is not currently streaming anywhere, not even on Peacock.   (Considering how many Homicide people later went on to work on both Oz and The Wire, it would seem like it should be a natural fit for HBOMax.) From what I understand, this is because of the show’s signature use of popular music would make it prohibitively expensive to pay for the streaming rights. Fortunately, every season has been released on home video.   Homicide: The Movie is on YouTube, with the music removed.  The movie’s final montage is actually more effective when viewed in complete silence.

Book Review: Vatican Kill by John D. Revere

Justin Perry, the assassin, is back!

And he’s just as screwed up as usual.

Continuing the theme of the first Justin Perry novel, 1983’s Vatican Kill finds the CIA still battling the evil plans of SADIF.  A Nazi sympathizer named Carl Werner is working as a gardener at the Vatican and masterminding SADIF’s European operations.  Justin Perry’s boss, the enigmatic Old Man, not only wants Werner to die, he wants it to be such a cruel and sadistic death that it will send a message to all of America’s enemies.  Among Werner’s many crimes is developing a nuclear warhead that SADIF is planning to fire at Venus in an attempt to wow the world.  Unfortunately, as a scientist helpfully explains at the start of the book, blowing up Venus will also destroy the universe so the stakes are pretty high!

The reader might assume that, with the future of the universe at stake, Justin Perry might actually focus on his job for once.  The reader would be wrong.  The world’s greatest assassin is just as easily distracted in this book as he was in the second.  When I reviewed the first book, I mentioned my theory that the series was meant to be a satiric.  Justin Perry was just too weird and sex-obsessed to be viewed as anything other than a parody of the traditional, hypermasculine pulp hero.  There are definitely elements of satire in Vatican Kill but, oddly enough, there are also several passages in which Perry sincerely contemplates why he cannot accept the idea of a benevolent God, passages that suggest that the author was trying to make some sort of larger point about the mysteries of existence.  Of course, there are also several overheated flashbacks to a childhood trip to India, during which Perry both lost his virginity and he witnessed a train crash rather than run over a cow.  Just as in the first book, it turns out that everything that happened in his past is connected to what’s happening in the present….

It’s a weird book.  To be honest, I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of some of the weird things that happen in Vatican Kill.  Justin Perry is as obsessed with sex and violence as ever while the villains of SADIF continue to come up with with elaborate tortures.  (This book didn’t do much to help me with my fear of dogs.)  I haven’t even gotten into Werner’s demand that Justin Perry assassinate the King and Queen of Spain for …. reasons, I guess.  Just as with the first book, describing the plot of Vatican Kill probably makes it sound more interesting than it actually is.  As over the top as all of the action and the scheming is, the prose describing it is fairly mundane and the author continually gets lost in Perry’s ruminations about God and the past.  I have to admit that I read the book very quickly, first because it was called Vatican Kill and I can only imagine what my Spanish and Italian grandmothers would have thought about that and secondly, because Justin Perry was such a creepy character that I really didn’t want to spend too much time with him.  The book ended on a note so grotesque that I washed my hands afterwards.  Seriously, Justin Perry was one messed up dude!

Film Review: Gold (dir by Anthony Hayes)

If you’ve ever wanted to see Zac Efron covered in flies, Gold is the film for you!

Actually, I’m being perhaps a bit more snarky than I should be.  Gold is actually a pretty good movie and Zac Efron deserves a lot of credit for trying something different.  That said, when all is said and done, I think the thing that most people will remember about this movie will be the flies.  Efron plays a character who spends several days stranded in the desert.  As we all know from watching any of the films that Clint Eastwood made with Sergio Leone, the desert is full of flies and there’s nothing they like more than to land on the blisters on someone’s sun-baked face.  So, it makes sense that Efron spends the majority of the film dealing with flies.  Of course, he also has to deal with feral desert dogs, a mysterious stranger who may or may not exist, and a freak dust storm.

Gold takes place in the near future.  Gold was filmed in Australia and, in many ways, it seems to take place in the same cinematic universe as the first Mad Max.  It’s the early days of a dystopia, when there’s still enough comforts around for people to pretend that things can still be normal.  People still watch television.  They still drive cars.  They still use telephones.  There’s still some sort of government that is supposedly in charge of things.  Society still exists but all around are clues that it is in the process of collapsing.  Things are on the verge of changing and they won’t be for the better.

Zac Efron plays Virgil, a man who wants to go to some place known as the Compound.  Keith (played by Anthony Hayes) has been hired to drive Virgil through the desert.  From the start, Keith and Virgil don’t get along.  Keith gets angry at Virgil for wasting water.  He gets even angrier when Virgil turns up the air conditioning in Keith’s truck and causes the motor to overheat.  However, when Keith and Virgil come across a giant gold nugget in the desert, they become reluctant partners.  When Keith heads to another town to get an excavator so they can dig up the gold, Virgil remains in the desert.  His job is to guard the gold, though one has to wonder who he thinks he’s guarding it from.  Virgil is literally in the middle of nowhere.

Keith leaves Virgil with a set of instructions of how to survive in the desert.  However, within hours of Keith leaving, Virgil starts to lose it.  He doesn’t have enough water.  He doesn’t have enough food.  Keith has taken the truck so it’s not like Virgil could go anywhere, even if he was willing to abandon the gold.  There are feral dogs all around.  There are flies on Virgil’s face.  And there are other scavengers in the desert as well….

There’s really not much of a story to Gold.  Virgil waits in the desert and loses his mind, all because he’s not willing to surrender that gold.  He’s a victim of his own greed, which admittedly is not the most original idea in the world.  (Consider the case of Fred C. Dobbs, for instance.)  That said, you do have to admire Efron’s willingness to allow himself to look absolutely terrible on screen.  From the flies to the dust storm to the scorching sun, the film goes out of its way to destroy Efron’s good looks but there’s a bigger meaning to it beyond Efron’s well-known desire to be taken seriously as an actor.  With each fly and speck of dust that lands on Efron’s face, Gold reminds the viewer that the desert will always win.  The desert and the animals that call it home don’t care about gold and they certainly don’t care about their prey.  In the desert, it’s all about survival.  Civilization may collapse but the desert will remain forever.

Visually, there’s a harsh beauty to Gold.  The desert is both frightening and fascinating at the same time and the scenes of Efron frame against the landscape really do drive home the film’s point.  One way or the other, the desert will always win.

What Could Have Been: George Hamilton as Travis Bickle?

I was recently reading the IMDb trivia page for Martin Scorsese’s 1976 film, Taxi Driver. 

Taxi Driver is often held up as the being the ultimate New York horror story as well as being the quintessential Martin Scorsese/Robert De Niro collaboration.  In fact, the film is so identified with Scorsese, De Niro, and screenwriter Paul Schrader that it is easy to forget that it actually took a while for Scorsese and De Niro to become involved with the project.  Quite a few different directors showed interest in Schrader’s script before Scorsese signed on.  And, even though the role will always be associated with him, De Niro was not the only actor considered for the role of Travis Bickle.

That’s what brought me to the IMDb trivia page.  I wanted to see who else was considered for the role of Travis.  Here’s the list that I found: Jeff Bridges, Jack Nicholson, Dustin Hoffman, Warren Beatty, Burt Reynolds, Ryan O’Neal, Peter Fonda, Al Pacino, Jon Voight, Robert Blake, David Carradine, Richard Dreyfuss, Christopher Walken, Alain Delon, James Caan, Roy Scheider, Paul Newman, Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen, Elliott Gould, Alan Alda, and George Hamilton.  That’s quite a list!  And. for the most part, I don’t buy it for a second.

Don’t get me wrong.  It is known that Al Pacino was sent the script before Scorsese came on board.  And Scorsese himself has said that he offered the role to Dustin Hoffman.  (Hoffman says he turned down the role because Scorsese’s intensity freaked him out.)  Jeff Bridges was also a possibility and, if you read Schrader’s script and force yourself to forget about De Niro’s performance, you can actually imagine Bridges in the role.  I could also imagine a youngish Martin Sheen in the role.  He had just played Charlie Starkweather in Badlands so one can imagine him being considered for Travis.  Peter Fonda and Robert Blake seem possible as well.  Even David Carradine.

But some of the other names on that list …. Alain Delon?  Paul Newman?  Alan Alda?  GEORGE HAMILTON?

This George Hamilton?

Listen, I like George Hamilton.  He’s a good comedic actor.  And I know that there were a lot of directors who took a look at Paul Schrader’s script and I also know that some of Travis’s most iconic moments — like the whole “You talkin’ to me?” scene — were improvised by De Niro and were not in the original script.  Taxi Driver could have gone in a lot of different directions.  But I’m just going to say right now that there is no way that George Hamilton was ever considered for the role of Travis Bickle.  It’s totally possible that Hamilton was considered for another role in the film.  I could imagine him as the presidential candidate, Charles Palantine.  I could also imagine him in the role of Tom, Palantine’s campaign manager.  Perhaps he was offered one of those roles and someone, reading that George Hamilton had turned down Taxi Driver, got it into their head that he was considered for Travis.

Or maybe …. someone just made the whole thing up.  I enjoy the IMDb trivia pages but I’ve come across a lot of information that simply is not true.  Despite what the page for the original Halloween says, I refuse to believe that John Belushi was considered for the role of Dr. Loomis.  For that matter, I also refuse to believe that Bill Murray was a runner-up for the role of Han Solo in Star Wars.  Sorry, IMDb trivia people.  I just don’t buy it.

Arthur Bremer

Here’s what we do know.  Paul Schrader was originally inspired to create the character of Travis Bickle by Arthur Bremer, a non-descript 21 year-old Midwesterner who, in 1972, shot and nearly killed presidential candidate, George Wallace.  After the shooting, police turned up a diary in which Bremer wrote about his desire to be someone.  According to Bremer, he shot Wallace not as a political act but because he wanted to be famous.  Schrader later said that, while writing the script, the story became less about Bremer and more about Schrader’s own social isolation.

The script was optioned by the production team of Tony Bill and Julia and Michael Phillips.  They had just recently produced the Oscar-winning The Sting.  Originally, Tony Bill wanted to make his directorial debut with the film.  That was when the script was sent to Al Pacino.  Pacino turned down the role, reportedly because he didn’t want to work with a first-time director.  (Tony Bill, a former actor, later directed several films, most of which appeared to be taking place in a totally separate universe from Schrader’s vision of urban Hell.)

The script was eventually read by Brian De Palma, who voiced an interest in directing the film.  DePalma’s choice for the role of Travis Bickle?  Jeff Bridges.

Today, it might be hard to imagine the affable, laid-back Jeff Bridges as Travis Bickle but, if you read the script, it’s easy to see why De Palma considered him for the role.  Travis was written as being someone from the middle of the country, someone who was out-of-place in New York City.  Travis was meant to be lost in New York.  (Though Travis does say that he’s from the midwest in Scorsese’s film, Robert De Niro himself remains the prototypical New Yorker.)  At least initially, Bridges would have been a bit less obviously unstable than De Niro.  As good as Taxi Driver is, it always seems a bit strange that Betsy would agree to go out with De Niro’s Travis but it’s a bit easier to believe that she would take a chance on Jeff Bridges, with his charming smile and likable manner.  Bridges’s descent into madness would have been all the more devastating because he was such an outwardly affable presence.  I’m not saying it would have worked but I can still see what De Palma would have been going for in his version of Taxi Driver.

That said, De Palma did not make Taxi Driver.  He instead decided to do Carrie.  A young Steven Spielberg briefly showed interest in Taxi Driver (the mind boggles) before decided to do Jaws instead.  Eventually, after being introduced to Schrader by De Palma, Martin Scorsese agreed to direct the film.  After getting turned down by Dustin Hoffman, Scorsese offered the role to De Niro.

As for the rest of the cast, Rock Hudson would have been an interesting choice for the role of Sen. Palantine but he turned down the script because he was busy with a television show.  There was also some talk of casting former New York Mayor John Lindsay in the role but, in the end, the role was given to a writer named Leonard Harris.

The role of Tom was originally offered to Harvey Keitel.  Because Keitel wanted to play the pimp, Albert Brooks ended up as Tom.  Because there wasn’t much to Tom in the script, it was felt that, as a comedian, Brooks could bring some sort of life to the character.  Indeed, Brooks reportedly improvised the majority of his lines.

Despite the fact that producer Julia Phillips wanted to cast Farrah Fawcett in the role, Martin Scorsese selected Cybil Shepherd for the role of Betsy.  If you believe the IMDb, Meryl Streep was offered the role but turned it down.  (If I sound skeptical, it’s because Streep hadn’t even made her film debut at the time that Taxi Driver went into production.)  Glenn Close, Jane Seymour, and Susan Sarandon auditioned for the role.  Mia Farrow reportedly wanted the role but was turned down by Scorsese.

As everyone knows, Jodie Foster played the 13 year-old prostitute, Iris, in Taxi Driver.  A man named John Hinckley, Jr. was so obsessed with Foster’s performance that he went the same route as Travis Bickle and attempted to assassinate the president in an effort to impress her.  Foster, however, was only picked after Scorsese saw several up-and-coming actresses.  Reportedly, due to the success of The Exorcist, Linda Blair was seriously considered for the role.  Tatum O’Neal was also considered, after winning her Oscar for Paper Moon.  Scorsese came close to casting Melanie Griffith but then Tippi Hedren read the script and nixed the idea.  Among the others who supposedly read for Iris: Mariel Hemingway, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Heather Locklear, Kristy McNichol, Carrie Fisher, Ellen Barkin, Kim Basinger, Geena Davis, Michelle Pfeiffer, Brooke Shields, Debra Winger, Rosanna Arquette, Bo Derek, and Kim Cattrall.

Finally, actor George Memmoli was injured on the set of another film, which led to Scorsese playing the passenger who talks to Travis about murdering his wife.

In the end, the right director and the right cast were selected and Taxi Driver became a classic of urban paranoia.  Still, it’s always fun to play What If.  On Earth-2, someone is watching Jeff Bridges, Rock Hudson, Jane Seymour, and Melanie Griffith in Brian De Palma’s Taxi Driver.  And, on Earth-3, George Hamilton is polishing his Oscars and thinking about how playing Travis Bickle changed his life.

4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Nicholas Ray Edition

4 Or More Shots From 4 Or More Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

Director and screenwriter Nicholas Ray was born 111 years ago today, in Galesville, Wisconsin.  He would go on to become one of the most influential American directors of all time, making independently-minded films that celebrated rebels and iconoclasts.  The directors of the French New Wave loved him and for good reason.

Today, we celebrate the life and legacy of Nicholas Ray with….

4 Shots From 4 Nicholas Ray Films

In A Lonely Place (1950, dir by Nicholas Ray, DP: Burnett Guffey)

Johnny Guitar (1954, dir by Nicholas Ray, DP: Harry Stradling)

Rebel Without A Cause (1955, dir by Nicholas Ray, DP: Ernest Haller)

Party Girl (1958, dir by Nicholas Ray, DP: Robert J. Bronner)

Music Video of the Day: Everything Counts by Depeche Mode (1983, directed by Clive Richardson)

The video for this fan favorite was shot around what was then West Berlin.  (This was before the wall came down.)  Clive Richardson had also directed the video for Just Can’t Get Enough and the band turned to him, after previously working with Julian Temple, because they felt that Richardson could visually toughen up their image and help the band move away from the more self-consciously artsy style that Julian Temple had attempted to go with.  The end result was a video that quickly went into regular rotation on MTV and a song that proved to be one of Depeche Mode’s most enduring hits.