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Let’s Hit the Fucking Road. Remembering Dennis Hopper

This past weekend Hollywood madman and icon Dennis Hopper passed away at the age of 74. He was fighting a losing battle with prostate cancer and even though we all knew the end was coming, it was still a shock to wake up to the news. Hopper received two Academy Award nominations during his careers, one for writing “Easy Rider” and the other for Best Supporting Actor for his role in “Hoosiers.” Though he might not have one the Oscar, his career was one that survived the changing landscape of Hollywood throughout the years.

Hopper first came to prominence playing supporting roles during the Golden Age of Hollywood. He made his acting debut co-starring in two classic James Dean films, “Rebel Without a Cause” and “Giant.”  Hopper would continue to play supporting roles well into the 1960’s. Some of his work includes “Cool Hand Luke,” “True Grit” and “The Sons of Katie Elder.”

It was the film “Easy Rider” that would not only change the life of the films stars, Hopper, Peter Fonda and Jack Nicholson, but it changed Hollywood itself. The film help ushered in the New Hollywood period. It was a time in which the director was king, and studios were taking daring creative chances. “Easy Rider” represented the anti-establishment fervor that was

As quick as Hopper found success he lost it again. His next directorial effort, “The Last Movie” was a huge bomb for Universal studios. His personal life was also at a low point. Hopper struggled for years to overcome an abusive drug habit.

The 80’s was a period that saw Hopper make a professional comeback. It was his turn in David Lynch’s “Blue Velvet” and “Hoosiers” that represented another career high for him. His performance as the vile Frank Booth is one of greatest villains ever depicted on-screen. Hopper makes Frank a character that is truly frightening, yet you can’t look away.

The 90’s was the period where I first came aware of Dennis Hopper. I think the first Dennis Hopper performance I saw was that of King Koopa in “Super Mario Brothers.” He was the most memorable thing in a terrible film. Hopper would continue to play villain roles in 1994’s “Speed” and 1995’s “Waterworld.”

There are many other great Dennis Hopper roles that you should check out. He gives a great performance in “The American Friend” directed by Wim Wenders. He also has good supporting roles in two Francis Ford Coppola films, the iconic, “Apocalypse Now” and “Rumble Fish.”

Dennis Hopper lived a hard and fast life and starred in many iconic films over the years. He was wild, unpredictable and always memorable on-screen. Thanks for the ride, Dennis.

Candy colored clown they call the Sandman. This is Hopper’s best and most iconic performance. This scene is one the most strangest and memorable scenes from the cinema.

Another unforgettable performance from “True Romance” where Hopper tells Christopher Walken the history of Sicilians.

For a look back at the career of Dennis Hopper check out this video from film critic Matthew Zoller Seitz.

What we think about when we think about Dennis Hopper (1936–2010) by Matt Zoller Seitz

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more about “The Middle Word in Life by Matt Zoll…“, posted with vodpod
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