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Saturday, May 29, 2010

In memoriam: Dennis Hopper

Widely acclaimed actor
Denis Hopper died today at the age of 74.

And you know what pisses me off more of all? That Wikipedia doesn't even have an entry for the film that made him famous in my mind and that of every person I know of (except maybe a couple of cinemaniacs): The American Way (aka The Riders of the Storm). Ok, it's a silly political counter-cultural comedy which is obviously written and directed under the effects of psychedelic drugs... but what the hell?! That's exactly what we like for a nice afternoon with some friends, that's exactly what makes life worth living... and not all the drama.

Sure, Hopper has a much wider career and this film did not get him any award but it's surely one of the movies that best represent the spirit of the 80s and the popular reaction to Reagan and all the mess he created up till now.

The American Way also embodied the spirit of counter-information (it's about an unlikely pirate TV station struggling against a neocon conspiracy) and reverts the fascist discourse of "anti-Americanism" making clear that The American Way is not neocons' hypocrisy and deceit but about freedom and real democracy.

It's a visual pamphlet that could well be titled The Star-Spangled Commie Fights Against Reagano-Fascism, while getting high and having fun.

Of course, this is a memorial post for one of the best actors of the past century, and I cannot ignore other titles that I have also enjoyed and which have much wider fame. However I must warn you that I don't watch so many movies and that I will surely miss some excellent material in the career of the star from Kansas.

Hopper debuted in two most famous James Dean movies: Rebel Without a Cause and Giant but he was really launched to fame with Easy Rider (1969), co, written, co-directed and co-starred with Peter Fonda, that gave him a Cannes award.

After some troubled years, Hopper returned to Hollywood with Apocalypse Now and then directed Out of the Blue (1980), a film that I have not yet watched but that seems to be a bête noir of the broadcasting industry because of obscene language and those idiocies that bother Christians and such.

In 1983 Coppola again hired him again for a secondary role in Rumble Fish, yet another film hated in the USA and acclaimed in Europe, winning a prize at Donostia (San Sebastian). In 1986 he had a more important role at David Lynch's widely honored Blue Velvet.

Besides of his film industry activity, both as actor and director, Dennis Hopper was also a multifaceted artist, who enjoyed photography, painting and sculpting.

Definitively life would have been at least somewhat lest interesting and fun without him and for that reason I will miss him and bid him farewell.

PS- I have, on this occasion and for the first time, created a poll at Leherensuge. You can vote anonymously on which is your favorite Hopper's film.


Manju Edangam said...

I voted for the "East rider" because that's the only movie I have watched. So, if needed you can deduct one vote from it :-).

Maju said...

It's for no purpose at all, just to celebrate Hopper's life a bit. It's a silly commemorative poll.

Easy Rider is a very good film for what I recall, but I think I've watched it only once or twice and did not lit my imagination too much. Road movies are not normally too attractive (you know: here we use the bus). Also a motorbike dipped in the US banner can't have a preferential place in my dreams, sincerely.

But, well, I'm not the one from Kansas...

Manju Edangam said...

Frankly, I don't think I understood much what was going on when I watched that movie. I didn't have proper background of 60's America. The only scene I remember was Jack Nicholson's speech on UFO/Aliens and the government cover up.