When I was in college, I had this great friend named Lisa. A typical Zach and Lisa night would entail us getting into her Nissan, doing a jay, listening to either the Beatles, Beastie Boys, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Tori Amos (her call obviously) or maybe if I got my way some Pharcyde or Phish. We'd leave University of Tampa, drive west on Kennedy Blvd, take a right on Dale Mabry, pull a yuey around the U-Save which is now something entirely different, and by the time we got back the joint was done and we felt great. That was if we had nothing to do. Most of the time there was an errand involved such as getting as many soft chicken tacos as I could afford, getting a friend with a fake ID to get us a sixer, or picking up a VHS cassette at the video store. Oh, and there were always the Tampa International Airport trips, just driving around and seeing all the blue lights which was quite nice.
When we docked back at my Delo Hall dorm room, we'd watch a movie. Lisa was always buying, so it was pretty much always her decision, and one day Taxi Driver was forced on me, and that day would be the first day I ever watched a Martin Scorsese movie. Yes, it was 1994, and Goodfellas has already come out, but I really can't recall the first time I saw that like I can the first time I saw Taxi Driver. I was probably way too stoned for Goodfellas, where I was probably stoned just right for Taxi Driver. That's probably the best explanation for what I remember and what I can't from the 90s in general.
The point is though, is that I was around 19-20 years old and Travis Bickle was 26. This means watching that movie I was viewing him as an adult, whereas when I most recently watched it, I was 34, and he hadn't aged a day so he was more of a kid. This is another reason why rewatching movies is so grand. Travis may not be the best example because I wouldn't give him the "SANE" stamp, but like many of us in our 20s, we're still struggling a little for our identity if we didn't follow the high school, college, good job straight out of college plan that is so routine for many Americans.
If we don't stick to that plan, we may not end up like Travis, but the 20s become this clusterfuck of measuring what you need to do to support yourself in life, versus what you enjoy doing. I found my balance by working "some job" as income, then pursuing my life interests, in this case music, by going out to Open Mics and finding the right people to hang out with and drinking excessively would be an understatement.
Seeing Travis now, as I've mellowed out in my 30s, and he's still trying to make the world a better place through his own borderline psychotic cabby logic, I wonder what's going to become of him. Was killing the sleaze of NYC his personal odyssey and now that he's completed it, is he ready to settle down an accept life for what it is, or is this just the first step in what will be a life of demented moral servitude?
He's driving his cab again at the end. Jodie Foster has made it home and Cybil Shepherd is again his passenger, but there's no closure. Is he going to give Cybil another chance now that she likes him because he reached local hero status? Is he going to stay in touch with Jodie Foster? Every time he has to deal with a nutjob is he going to take the law into his own hands?
I didn't need these questions answered when I was 19 because I had no idea what was in store for me, and now that I know I'd like a little more closure. Just because the movie ends sometimes, the story doesn't and it's up to the director to decide how much of the story he wants us to know. In this case, this is as probably as a happy an ending this movie could have because in all actuality, Travis is going to be a cabby the rest of his life and he's probably already experienced his 15 minutes of fame. Cybil Shepherd may like him again, but it won't last, and this is his best case scenario. A life of vigilantism would most likely lead to a very poor decision and his life would probably end up in jail. I'm pretty sure this is why Marty decides to end the movie when he does.