In his essay The White Negro, Norman Mailer suggested that when a killer takes his revenge on the institutions that he feels are oppressing him his eruption of violence can have a positive effect on him. The most shocking aspect of Taxi Driver is that it takes this very element, which has generally been exploited for popular appeal, and puts it in the center of the viewer’s consciousness. Violence is Travis’s only means of expressing himself.
When The Lights Go Down 1975, Pauline Kael, P. 131.
Films can, and most of them do, reduce all the deprivations and coercions, desires and hopes of social and individual experience, to the simple formula of needing love. ...
The convenient Hollywood explanation for alienation—for failure to integrate in the economy, for hostility to authority and society—is, then, lack of love and acceptance. You’re bland and happy when you’re loved, and if you’re unhappy, it’s not really your fault, you just haven’t been loved. This is the language of the jukebox, and when Freud is reduced to this level, psychoanalysis becomes the language of idiocy.
I Lost It At The Movies 1954 Pauline Kael The Glamour Of Delinquency, P. 44.
Pauline Kael was the film critic for The New Yorker from 1967 to 1991, " ... in the arts, the critic is the only independent source of information. The rest is advertising."
The New Yorker film critic (1967-1991)
Movies are so rarely great art that if we cannot appreciate great trash we have very little reason to be interested in them.
Trash, Art And The Movies from Going Steady, Pauline Kael 1968, p. 85.
In the mid '80s,
... (A)t a film critics meeting, Pauline Kael leaned over to Richard Schickel and whispered, “It isn’t any fun anymore.” When Schickel asked why, she answered, “Remember how it was in the ’60s and ’70s, when movies were hot, when we were hot? Movies seemed to matter.”
The Complete History Of American Film Criticism (2010) Jerry Roberts, Loc 4905.