Why do you want to make out in my car? Make out at home! Is there something fancy about my taxi?
Shot a lot like the movie "Taxi Driver" mostly at night with a steamy and eerie neon light look to it the documentary "Drivers Wanted" shows the stress that New York City taxi drivers go through in their pressure cooker of a job on and off of streets of NYC and it's surroundings. That in their day and night long and at times costumer and pay less 12 hours shifts in order for them to earn an honest living and what their put through in doing it.
Facing the threat of being robbed as well as stiffed by costumers who at times just check out of their cabs without paying them their fears it's amazing that many last as much as a month on the job. A job without any benefits, they if their willing have to pay their full Social Security and Medicare costs, and for the most part get no appreciation from those that they serve from both sides of the taxi divider: The public and their bosses at the TLC-Taxi& Limousine Commission.
We get to see the goings on at what's called "Stanley's Place" or, by the taxi drivers working there, Stalag 55 a taxi garage in Long Island City in Queens New York that has the distinction of having the oldest, at age 92, and longest active , since 1945, taxi driver in New York City if not the entire country; The almost toothless and cheap, at $1.50 apiece, cigar chomping hacker the legendary Johnnie "Spider" Footman. Johnnie's been footing washing and driving a cab since the early days of WWII and is still going strong. Johnnie has no regrets in driving a cab since as he tells us it's the only thing that's been keeping him alive all these years since he reached retirement age back in 1985. Puffing on his cigar Johnnie a notorious womanizer back in his formative years, from between 15 and 80, tells us he was forced to give up women and stop fooling around with them since his doctors told him that his next escapade with women young enough to be his granddaughter may well end up killing him!
There's also the young and struggling Chinese immigrant Eric who works at Stanley's Place who doesn't seem to get the hang of the job. In that he's too nice to those costumers who take advantage of him. Eric is told by his boss Stanley that if he doesn't toughen himself up he'll end up washing dishes and waiting tables at a local Chinatown restaurant where he'll end up making less then even driving a taxi.
Great panoramic and gritty New York City photography that shows the underside of the Big Apple that most people never get to see. And what people like cab drivers who have to deal with and try as best as they can try to survive it. Funny at times especially in the scenes between Footman and Stanley, who come across as a rolling on the floor Ritz Brothers like comedy routine, as well as the hysterical goings on in Stanley's taxi garage swing room where the taxi drivers take time to chill out after a long day or nights work on the mean and sometimes empty streets of New York City.
But when the reality sets in you soon realize why someone like Travis Bickel freaked out in the movie "Taxi Driver" from all that he had to put up with in driving a cab in New York City. Something that can make the most mentally stable and well balanced among us crack up under the pressure and end up going completely wacko just like he did!
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