Are you talkin’ to me?

Are you talkin’ to me? Well, I’m the only one here.–Travis Bickle in “Taxi Driver”

It is the last line, “Well, I’m the only one here,” that never gets quoted. It is the truest line in the film. Travis Bickle exists in “Taxi Driver” as a character with a desperate need to make some kind of contact somehow–to share or mimic the effortless social interaction he sees all around him, but does not participate in.

The film can be seen as a series of his failed attempts to connect, every one of them hopelessly wrong…. He is so lonely that when he asks, “Who you talkin’ to?” he is addressing himself in a mirror.

This utter aloneness is at the center of “Taxi Driver,” one of the best and most powerful of all films

-Roger Ebert, film critic.

I read this piece in his essay a decade ago and it still stays with me.  Ebert makes a great point that the classically quoted tough-guy speech is actually turned 180 when you consider the next sentence “Well I’m the only one here.”  Behind many macho exteriors is vulnerability.

I was reminded of this today when reading about the hoopla over Draymond Green’s quote:

“Do I think [the Portland Trailblazers] are done?  Of course I think they’re done.”

Media personalities called him arrogant, classless, disrespectful.  There are still games left to be played.

What the media doesn’t quote is the next line he immediately says, “If I don’t think they’re done, I don’t know who else is going to think it.”

He’s saying if I can’t be the one to express confidence in and for my team, who else is going to play that role.  Green shows a glimpse into the tough load he has to carry as the emotional center of his team.  If he can’t be the one to tell his teammates that they are the best team in the world, are they going to believe it themselves?


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