Yeesh, this New York Times article detailing Lindsay Lohan’s bad behavior is making the rounds:
The takeaway has been the latest instance in Lohan’s never-ending meltdown, but I’m more interested in the bald, bespectacled guy on the right. That’s Paul Schrader, the co-star of this article. Schrader is kind of a legend: he wrote Taxi Driver, surely one of the greatest screenplays ever realized on film. This led him to become a director of lurid but highly personal movies, the best-received of which was his 1997 film Affliction. I’m a big fan of American Gigilo, a movie that helps create the detached, quiet cool early-80s aesthetic that would reach its zenith with Miami Vice. But Schrader has had a fascinatingly uneven career – his filmography is littered with movies that barely saw the light of day (Forever Mine, anyone?), and an actual movie called Light of Day in which Michael J. Fox and Joan Jett play brother/sister rockers. He directed what is currently the definitive version of the Patty Hearst story, and yet despite that subject material the film made almost no impact.
Many of Schrader’s movies are so dark that they’re unmarketable. His take is so serious that he never developed into a cult director. Weirdly, Schrader also sought out highly commercial projects like the aforementioned movie in the midst of Michael J. Fox’s dark period. In addition, he took on an Elmore Leonard novel that aimed to capitalize on the success of Get Shorty and resulted in a movie called Touch starring Skeet Ulrich as a faith healer who has the stigmata (or something) that I saw and that I’ve subsequently never heard anyone talk about ever. And as the NYT article notes, his excursion into the Exorcist prequel ended in disaster.
Like Peter Bogdanovich, Schrader is a brilliant and obsessive film historian. But it’s disappointing to see how far he’s fallen, and how desperately he wants to come back. I imagine the average reader of this article has never heard of him, and that’s fair: I haven’t thought about him since the Exorcist broo-ha-ha. So in addition to reading about Lindsay Lohan planning a caper to exit a moving car so that they she can eat lunch, you can follow the continuing adventures of one of America’s weirdest auteurs.