Cinema Psycho

"You know what? You have a losing personality." – Manhattan

RIP Dennis Hopper

Posted by CinemaPsycho on May 29, 2010

Well, I was planning to write about something completely different today, but that can wait. Because a true film legend died today, one who meant a lot to me personally as well as to millions of film fans around the world. The great actor, director and artist Dennis Hopper has died at the age of 74.

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I’m sure there will be lots of eulogies and tributes all over the Internet today. However, I think the best tribute I can give him is to simply give a partial list of the films he appeared in. If this doesn’t tell the story, I don’t know what will:

Rebel Without a Cause, Giant, Easy Rider, Apocalypse Now, Blue Velvet, River’s Edge, Speed, True Romance, Red Rock West, Hoosiers, Cool Hand Luke, The Sons of Katie Elder, The Trip, Hang ’em High, True Grit, Mad Dog Morgan, The American Friend, The Osterman Weekend, OC and Stiggs, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Black Widow, Chattahoochee, The Indian Runner, Paris Trout, Flashback, Space Truckers, Waterworld, The Blackout, Basquiat, The Pick-up Artist, Straight to Hell, Rumble Fish, Ed TV, Knockaround Guys and George A. Romero’s Land of the Dead.

Again, just a partial list. As a director, he of course gave us the seminal biker classic Easy Rider, as well as six other features (and one short) that included the excellent LA cops vs. gangs drama Colors and the underrated modern noir The Hot Spot. His TV work included the recent series Crash and a memorable turn as villain Victor Drazen on 24. While he was mostly stuck in straight-to-DVD hell for the last decade or so, he did give terrific supporting performances in such recent films as Elegy, Sleepwalking and Swing Vote.

Even in the worst B-movies (and he appeared in many), however, Dennis Hopper was always worth watching. His presence redeemed even the lamest material. He still has a couple of movies yet to be released, including Wim Wenders’ Palermo Shooting. Hopper was a true Film God, and he will be greatly missed. I look forward to rediscovering his work all over again.

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