Dennis Hopper

WELL, WE can’t say we didn’t see this one coming, but it’s still sad. I first heard several months ago from some of you right here in the comments that Dennis Hopper’s cancer had gotten real bad and he was on his last legs. I think he managed to tough it out at least a couple months longer than anybody thought he would.

I never feel qualified to write eulogies, but Mr. Hopper’s contribution to movies in general and to the kind of shit I like specifically is pretty fuckin huge, so I feel like something should be said.

I THINK what I’d like to do is take a moment to acknowledge some of the many Dennis Hoppers we loved throughout his career.
I’m always surprised to see young Hopper show up in a group of bandits or prisoners in a western. He’s in GUNFIGHT AT THE O.K. CORRAL, FROM HELL TO TEXAS, THE YOUNG LAND, THE SONS OF KATIE ELDER, HANG ‘EM HIGH and TRUE GRIT, plus many a cowboy tv show including but not limited to “Cheyenne,” “The Rifleman,” “Wagon Train,” “Bonanza” and “Gunsmoke.”


PIONEERING INDEPENDENT FILMMAKER DENNIS HOPPER: Obviously he wrote and directed EASY RIDER, that’s the big influential one. But he still had the bug later on, every once in a while he would pull it together to get a movie made. COLORS was a big one in the late ’80s, kinda cheesy if I remember right but one of the earlier attempts to portray the L.A. gang phenomenon on film, plus one of the first hip hop soundtracks (with a memorable theme song by Ice-T).

CRAZY MOTHERFUCKIN DENNIS HOPPER: I’m guessing this is the most beloved incarnation of Dennis Hopper around these parts. In the ’80s he delivered several all-time-great roles as nutcases. One of course was in BLUE VELVET, where his oxygen mask wearing rants inspired the screen name for one of our regular commenters here. There was RIVER’S EDGE where I believe he carried an inflatable dummy around as his wife. And there’s the one that’s dearest to my heart, the heroic lunatic Texas Ranger “Lefty” Enright in THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2. He’s the one guy who not only had the balls to invite himself to the massacre, but to actually take on Leatherface in a chain saw duel. The scene where he tests out the feel of different saws while the old store owner watches is one of many classic scenes he has in this, one of my all time favorite movies.

RESPECTED VETERAN DENNIS HOPPER: In the ’90s he used his elder statesman character actor status to add credibility to a bunch of indie movies and the crime movies that were popular at the time. Some of the more successful ones were THE INDIAN RUNNER, BOILING POINT, RED ROCK WEST, BASQUIAT, JESUS’S SON and of course his tour de force head-to-head monologue battle with Christopher Walken in TRUE ROMANCE (also one of his most lovable roles, even though what he’s saying is kinda racist).

CULT MOVIE WEIRDO DENNIS HOPPER: I guess Chainsaw 2 could be in this category too. This is the Dennis Hopper that starred in offbeat genre movies (some of them mainly interesting for being huge misfires) like SUPER MARIO BROS., WATERWORLD, SPACE TRUCKERS (I almost rented that last week but went with ROBOT JOX instead… maybe next time), and his funny post-apocalyptic Donald Rumsfeld character in LAND OF THE DEAD.

hopper-tickerACTION MOVIE/MAD BOMBER DENNIS HOPPER: Okay, this isn’t actually a huge category, but you know I gotta say it. One of his signature roles in the ’90s was as the villain in one of the best DIE HARD inspired movies SPEED. I think that kind of revived his career but in the way where he ends up doing a ton of roles in movies that aren’t necessarily that good. Unfortunately I must admit that one of those is TICKER, Seagal’s cheapest looking (but not worst) movie ever, directed by sometime outlawvern.com commenter Albert  Pyun. Hopper obviously filmed his role in a day or so and sports one of the worst Irish accents of all time. But I forgive him.

. . .

ONE THING that most of these Dennis Hoppers have in common: a touch of madness that doesn’t overpower the sympathy you have for him. He had a knack for playing lovable assholes. He could be completely evil but make you laugh. You’re saying “I love this guy!” even as he’s terrorizing you.

I guess the last things I saw him in were that goofy Larry Bishop biker movie HELL RIDE and, I’m sorry to say, AN AMERICAN CAROL. But he was still working recently, doing that TV series version of non-Cronenberg CRASH last year. He looked good, and really didn’t seem to have aged at all in the last 15-20 years. I wouldn’t have guessed he was 74. I hope that means he didn’t have too much pain until this last stretch here.

And he seemed happy. He went through the whole drug culture without too many scars, he stayed true to himself, worked with many interesting artists in many different eras and movements, went back and forth between inaccessible art-for-art’s-sake and commercial mass culture entertainment and everywhere in between.

Looking through all those different Dennis Hoppers (and I’m sure there are plenty of others I didn’t list) you can’t deny he had a hell of a career. We could’ve remembered him fondly for any one of those, and he did all of them.

So it’s sad to see him go and a little hard to comprehend him not being around to pop up in 5 or 6 movies a year anymore. It seemed like he’d always be here, you know? But it’s also nice to look back and see what a hell of a career he had.

Good job Dennis, thanks for the laughs.

So, everybody, let’s take a minute to honor the man. Please tell us about your favorite Dennis Hopper roles or what you liked best about him.

This entry was posted on Saturday, May 29th, 2010 at 4:35 pm and is filed under Blog Post (short for weblog). You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

83 Responses to “Dennis Hopper”

  1. Now it’s dark.

  2. A sad loss indeed. You covered most of the man’s accomplishments but I didn’t see mention of one his directorial efforts that I quite like: OUT OF THE BLUE, one of the rawest troubled youth films out there starring Linda Manz as the troubled youth. Dennis also acts in the movie, as Manz’s fucker of a father, a substance abusing ex-con biker. I’ve also been meaning to watch THE LAST MOVIE for quite a while, maybe now is the time.

  3. The guy had a long career, of triumphs and failures, with perhaps an understated impact on cinema. From hanging around and working with James Dean to helping revolutionize American cinema to…well the rest of his career.

    Remember those fucking bizarre Nike commercials he did in the 1990s?


  4. I will be watching Easy Rider tonight.

  5. Damn , that ruined my day , literally. Just a while ago I discovered his paintings and photographs and , what do you know , he was good at that too . He really was an all around artist and I just can imagine how he was able to do all that shit. He was also a sculptor and , of course , the Lord of the Harvest. R.I.P. Mr. Dennis Hopper.

  6. I also liked him in Land of the Dead, George had some interesting things to say about him in interviews. “Zombies, man, they freak me out”. Indeed.

  7. The TRUE ROMANCE speech is what I’ll remember him for, but of stuff not mentioned I thought it was cool when he did the guest spot in the first season of 24 as he seemed a big coup for TV at that time, and his voice work in GTA Vice City. Not to mention his vocals on that Gorillaz track

  8. R.I.P. you glorious man. I don’t know where they would sell Pabst Blue Ribbon in my town but I’ll find some and drink a case tonight in your honor. Or not….but I definitely won’t be drinking Heineken. You can take that to the bank.

  9. A sad day, although if he was in pain, at least he has some peace. My thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.

    Going to watch his scene from True Romance, with him and Walken bouncing off each other time seems to stand still as neither actor lets the other gain the upper hand and to be truthful one of the great movie scenes around. It certainly puts the DeNiro & Pacino coffee house discussion in Heat (one of my favourite movies, although it is just a remake) to shame for effortless cinema.

  10. RIP Dennis – hope you’re at peace.

    I happen to have some PBR chilling in the fridge right now – the only beer left from my Father’s memorial earlier this year. I think I’ll be drinking a toast to both of them tonight…

  11. Long Schlong Silver

    May 29th, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    RIP great one.

  12. Long Schlong Silver

    May 29th, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    By the way vern, no Gary Coleman obit?

  13. Frank Booth – I feel ya. Damn, this sucks.

  14. Jareth Cutestory

    May 29th, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    Another Hopper: Self-reflexive Hopper a la FLASHBACK.

    I read that Hopper was easing himself into his final days with a $1000 per week regimen of marijuana. In truth, the dollar amount surprised me; I always figured he’d spent way more than that during times of good health. Maybe he got a deal for buying bulk.

    Thanks for scaring the shit out of teenage me in BLUE VELVET. My date left the theater after your first scene with Isabella Rossellini. I stayed behind and was never the same afterward. I don’t remember my date’s name or even the colour of her hair, but I remember every word you spoke in that film. That film and, for entirely different reasons, HEARTS OF DARKNESS.

    May your beard always be like a glazed donut, you crazy bastard.

  15. Did you ever see “Nails”? It was a made-for-cable action flick with Hopper basically playing Dirty Harry. I remember liking it, but that that was about 18 years ago so I wouldn’t swear on a stack of Bibles that it was one of the great ones. Still, if you get a chance, check it out.

  16. I still watch Texas Chainsaw 2 at least once a year to see Dennis running around dual wielding chainsaws screaming “I’M BRINGING IT DOWN!”.

    I really enjoyed him in Apocalypse Now as the crazy photographer obsessed with Colonel Kurtz.What an amazing performance that was.

  17. Rumble Fish.

    Nuff said

  18. My Mr. Hopper’s faves: THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE PART 2 (his Texas Ranger was so real he could be a protagist in a Cormac McCarthy novel), SPACE TRUCKERS (any movie by Stewart Gordon is worth watching. This one have an interesting (if a bit silly) sci-fi plot and excellent robot f/x, it’s actually a great middle-of-the-road space movie between ALIEN and SERENITY), TRACKS (crazy indie movie filmed on the actual trains without permissions). R.I.P!

  19. APOCALYPSE NOW. God Bless.

  20. Seriously, Roachboy, Spacetruckers is awesome. Mr. Hopper was quite excellent as a lovable trucker in space, just trying to make ends meet hauling his pork products through the galaxy, until shit gets crazy.

    Dennis Hopper was one nutty bastard, but god love him for it. Judging by some of the things in that book Easy Riders Raging Bulls he was as far from a saint as you can get, but I still really respect the man. That devilish monkey riding his back was probably what made him great.

    From here on out, no one can call anyone else an eggplant again without being disrespectful.

  21. I think the iconic roles have been noted, so I’ll just give a little shout out to his roles in Straight To Hell and Chattahoochee. RIP, you crazy bastard.

  22. Mad Dog Morgan was prolly his best performance and memory for me, though I liked him in most things, Easy Rider, True Romance, Flashback was an enjoyable cliche character, and I always enjoyed the Hopper as icon roles like Speed and Waterworld and Land of the Dead counts in that vein as well. Boiling Point was the first time I watched him and felt he was phoning it in too much and that pissed me off, his role in the terrible Crow sequel was undoubtedly his laziest ever, perhaps appropriately though as it was each actors worst performance and that includes people like Furlong, Boreanaz, Trejo, Ortiz, and Tara Reid. Most recent time I enjoyed him again was Swing Vote where he was still playing Dennis, but making an effort and I got the biggest laughs out of his scenes. If you havn’t caught Swing Vote, here’s two of Dennis’s ads you might enjoy:



  23. Just finished re-watching TCSM2 to pay my respects to the man , and now I really want to see “Nails”. Check out the trailer on Youtube , seems like a winner to me. See ? With a guy like Hopper there’s always a chance to see him pop up in something you never heard ! Thanks Rook !

    And Space Truckers is awesome !

  24. Of course Hopper was awesome in all the well-known places: Blue Velvet, Speed, Apocalypse Now, etc. But he also appears in one of the best of Warhol’s screen tests that I’ve seen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTwtMronb4U

    If you’re in Seattle, in fact, you can see that one bigger than life at the Seattle Art Museum’s current Warhol exhibit.

  25. Lets not forget the Puff Daddy music video Victory back in 1998 (one of the most expensive music videos ever if I remember correctly). Like you guys mentioned, you never knew when you were gonna have a Dennis Hopper sighting. R.I.P.

  26. Jesus’ Son. Without a doubt. The film is a masterpiece littered with great supporting turns from a murderers’ row of talent in just a handful of scenes each. Dennis Hopper has just one. He doesn’t even stand up. He starts seated, stays that way, and you never see him again after that scene. But I feel, and have felt ever since I heard about his illness, that that scene should be run as his obituary. He’s DH all the way through, talking about his wild and crazy substance-fueled past and his troubled relationships with women, but there’s a dignity and a gravity inherent both in the writing and in his performance that was unfortunately lacking in much of his later work. Watching that scene is watching him go out on the highest possible note, as I feel like that that is his best performance.

    It’s funny. I moved across the country last week but I’d been preparing for it for a year. There was a lot of deliberation between what I’d take with me and what would get boxed up until I was settled and able to have it shipped to me. When I heard about his illness, I actually took a moment to ponder what I’d do if he died and my copy of Jesus’ Son was 2500 miles away. Unfortunately, I opted to travel so light that not only did I not bring my DVD collection, I didn’t even bring my #4 Top Movie Ever. Also unfortunate is that the clip is unavailable on YouTube. Still, here’s the trailer. It features my favorite line of Hopper’s (“Here comes the dream”), although it plays much differently in the context of the film.


    Actually, the trailer really doesn’t match up with the film very much at all. A common trait amongst most of my favorite films. The defining characteristic of my Top Ten seems to be Hard to Encapsulate in Two and a Half Minutes. So what I’m saying is, watch Jesus’ Son even if you’re feeling iffy about it after watching the trailer.

    * Like Bruce in Fast Food Nation, by the way.

  27. I was really saddened to hear about this, I really liked Dennis Hopper a lot

    has anyone ever seen the movie he directed called Chasers? it features a naked Erika Eleniak

  28. I’m in the Space Truckers fanclub too, btw. I always hoped for a sequel, but now that Hopper is done, they shouldn’t do it.
    When Waterworld came out, I remember reading an interview with him in which he confessed that he spent so much money on drugs and other things in the 60’s, that he had no other chance than taking every role he is offered, because he is still paying his debts. Considering that shit like the cheap torture horror cash-in Hoboken Hollow is just a few years old, I guess it was really a whole lotta money.
    At least he belonged to the class acts who always seemed to enjoy what they did, even if it was a bad, bad, bad movie. It was always fun to watch him.
    RIP Mr Hopper!

  29. His role in HOOSIERS is the one I first saw, and came after his bout with extreme alcoholism, where according to the reports he was drinking 28 beers a day and like a gallon of rum or something (he snorted coke to counteract the affects).

    And as far as bad accents go, he played the main Russian bad guy in the first season of 24, and it was kind of lousy. It was still fun to see him in that show.

  30. Griff – the only other movie I’ve seen Erika Eleniak in was “Under Siege”, where she plays a stripper who jumps naked out of a cake and interrupts a terrorist attack. Which brings up the question: has she ever not been naked? Does she know what clothes are?

    Christof – yeah, the accent was bad. Still a good performance though. He had just the right amount of arrogant menace for the role of a displaced warlord.

  31. Despite the title of the movie, Erika Eleniak left her clothes on in the 2nd Tales from the Crypt movie “Bordello Of Blood”.

  32. APOCALYPSE NOW and HOOSIERS. He played a lot of great characters, but these two stick in my mind, both because he was so good in them, and because, together, they showed the kind of range he had. Hard to imagine two more different characters, and he made them both work.

  33. A classic Dennis Hopper moment of my childhood was his cameo as hippie-teacher in the Disney SciFi Teen Comedy “My Science Project”.

    SPOILER: In the end he comes back, wearing his Easy Rider outfit and telling everybody excited that the time machine brought him to Woodstock.

  34. viya con Dios.

  35. I have a short film on DVD called RUSSIAN SUICIDE CHAIR. A performance art piece by Dennis Hopper filmed in 1983. He walks out to the middle of some racetrack and sits in a chair surrounded by seventeen sticks of dynamite and lights the fuse. For real. He gives a short interview after the explosion. He looks pretty wasted. I think that falls into the category of Crazy Motherfuckin Dennis Hopper.

    Also, He was great in MAD DOG MORGAN. An Ozploitation western from 1976. Fantastic performance and he’s obviously wasted in a few improvised scenes. Great picture.

  36. Yeah, I heard of the dynamite thing too. Everything was so calculated, that the shock wave of each dynamite stick would neutralize another one, so that he was safe. Didn’t know that footage of this exists.

  37. Dennis Hopper was in so many different flicks, in all different capacities too. I remember him from his early stuff like Rebel Without a Cause and Giant and there was a Twilight Zone where he played a facist that stuck in my head. So much good stuff all through his career and in the end that’s what counts. I have a fond spot for The Hot Spot too.

  38. I just watched NIGHT TIDE, which featured Hopper in his very first starring role. It was one of those eerie black-and-white independent horror movies from the 50s, like CARNIVAL OF SOULS. It’s the only time I’ve ever seen him play just a normal guy, sort of the Keanu role of the dude who the plot happens to who never knows what’s going on, but he brought an endearingly awkward naturalism to it. It’s amazing to think that he was involved in independent film for 50 years, long before most people even knew such a thing existed. But no matter if he was in a tiny indie or the biggest-budgeted flick of all time, he took the roles he was offered and almost always gave back something special. Who do we have nowadays who has that same mixture of insanity and respectability?

  39. For many reasons I consider myself very fortunate to have had a life making movies. One of the best reasons is to have had a chance to spend time with artists and people like Dennis. He was a no bullshit soul. Direct, honest, guileless and oh so colorful. The thing that struck me is just how alive he was and how in touch he was with all of life’s ups and downs. While Ticker was a miserable experience for me and the audience, Dennis was truly a high point and made the whole ordeal worthwhile. After his day shooting with me (9 scenes and 16 pages I believe), he sat in his trailer alone. I went to thank him and found him thumbing through his script with concern, “Did we get everything, man?” I told him we had. He looked up from his script with that wild grin of his, “Wow, today just blows my mind.” Yeah, it blew mine as well to be have had a chance to make a movie with someone I’d admired and revered for so many years. albert

  40. Scotty Abraham

    May 30th, 2010 at 9:08 am

    I know I suggested you see “An American Dreamer” a while back – still excellent, still worth tracking down if you can find a copy – but have you seen “The Blackout”? Really incredible/weird stuff, and it’s criminally never mentioned anywhere for any reason.

    A dude I used to work at a video store with currently works for Abel Ferrara, and got to hang out with Hopper at Cannes a few years back. He said he was a really great dude.

    They screened “Night Tide” at the Tribeca Film Festival a couple of years ago with Hopper in attendance, and I totally missed it. Sad.

  41. Does anyone else remember a thriller Hopper did with Jodie Foster called… CATCHFIRE?

    And thanks for the Mad Dog Morgan reminder Au.

  42. Wasn’t Catchfire the one that he directed as Alan Smithee, until he released a (from what I’ve heard) much better director’s cut under a different title and with his own name as director?

  43. Nice one Vern and beautifully put Albert. A true legend has passed and has left us with some truly memorable and classic cinematic moments. From Easy Rider to True Romance, Apocolypse now to Speed, he was always a joy to watch. And he was great in 24 to!

    RIP Mr Hopper, I salute you.

  44. Sorry for typos.

  45. RIP Dennis Hopper.

    For me, his best 5 movies are: APOCALYPSE NOW (actor), BLUE VELVET (actor), EASY RIDER (actor, writer, director), THE HOT SPOT (director) and a tie-in between COLORS (director) and RUMBLE FISH (actor).

  46. Albert Pyun – that’s a great story. Sixteen pages in one day? Did each of those nine scenes require a location move? I think you just blew my mind as well…

  47. I second ‘My Science Project’ – “And the future is a groove, Man! It’s a funky bali ha’i!””

    Also, he directed ‘The Hot Spot’, which I will watch tonight for him. No other reason.

  48. Reading through this obit I am reminded of just how many iconic roles mr. Hopper played in his long, distinguished career. Many actors would be happy to have just one such role in their lifetimes, but he had dozens.

    I personally have no less than 3 personal favorite Dennis Hopper moments:

    1) Frank Booth, no further explanation necessary.
    2) Him versus Chris Walken, the eggplant moment.
    3) Lefty Enright, ‘I am the lord of the harvest!’

    Lord of the harvest, indeed. RIP, mr. Hopper.

  49. I don’t know why, but one of the things I always remember about Dennis Hopper was this weird TV show he appeared on called “Fishing With John.” It’s a fishing show with some guy named John (who apparently had no fishing experience) and they just hang out in Bangkok and go fishing for “giant squid” and shoot the shit about movies and Asia and life. And there’s a narrator making dramatic observations and just making stuff up. It’s just fun to watch Dennis Hopper be himself.

    I actually found it on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YATio2CCBY&feature=related

    It’s a bizarre show and there’s only 6 episodes but 2 have Dennis Hopper and the others have people like Willem Dafoe and Jim Jarmusch, so I figured it might be worth mentioning.

  50. We’re gonna run the picket fence at ’em.


    Sectionals of ’33, one point down. Five, four, three, two, one, let ‘er fly… in and out. Yeah, well, I was fouled…

  51. ThomasCrown442

    May 30th, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    That reminds me, quick shout out to Dennis Hooper for having the wisdom and wherewithal to include a nude Jennifer Connelly in the Hot Spot (Circa 1990 Jennifer Connelly, aka perfection, not rail thin Requiem for Dream Jennifer Connelly). Hats off to you sir.

  52. ThomasCrown442

    May 30th, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Hopper I should say

  53. ebonic_plague : That John is Hohn Lurie of the Lounge Lizards , a musician and actor . I first saw him in the movie “Down by Law” by Jim Jarmusch , with our very own Roberto Benigni ( along with Benigni’s future wife Nicoletta Braschi). Thanks for the link man , I knew of the existence of “Fishing with John” but that show was never released here in Italy ( to my knowledge ).

    Albert Pyun : Thanks for the words and for sharing with us your experience with Mr. Hopper.

  54. Wow – you got Albert Pyun posting here. So now surely you have to pony up and finally watch the Brainsmasher (and in process also give ADC another go in his best performance next to Casual Sex)? Bet you missed Kristofferson (and Henrikson) in Knights too. Can’t hold Ticker against the guy that brought us Cyborg and perfected the cool-gang slow-walk before Tarantino even conceived of borrowing it. I’m betting it was Pyun’s idea to tell Deborah Richter to run into the sea like that too (feel free to confirm Al, and please tell me you needed 38 takes to get it right).

    Good stuff.

  55. I don’t know if this has been mentioned, but it is strange that both Dennis Hopper and Gary Coleman appeared in that horrible movie An American Carol. That would be the last movie I saw either of them in.

  56. PARIS TROUT. It doesn’t always feature in discussions of Hopper’s work, but he was un-fucking-believable in that thing.

  57. Jareth Cutestory

    May 30th, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    Eubonic Plague: John Lurie was exceptional in Jarmusch’s STRANGER THAN PARADISE, and his soundtrack work for that film and DOWN BY LAW are good stuff, not to mention his cool group the Lounge Lizards.

    And FISHING WITH JOHN was awesome.

    Narrator: The fishermen wake up excited to be alive. They hope for good weather and good luck. Both fisherman are covered with sores and boners.

    Best narration ever.

  58. Timothy John Sharp

    May 30th, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    A lot of great films mentioned here, but let’s not forget Hopper’s brilliant turn as Tom Ripley in Wim Wenders’ THE AMERICAN FRIEND. It’s fascinating to see him do so much with such a light, barely sketched character. Plus he gets to have of his signature freakouts as he reads a newspaper. The film is awesome for many other reasons, not least the idiosyncratic cinematography, a powerful central performance by Bruno Ganz and some wonderful guest roles for Nicholas Ray and Sam Fuller as aged gangsters.

  59. I definitely want to check out “Nails” seeing as how it was directed by the guy who did “Out for Justice” and “Rolling Thunder” (and also a little seen but surprisingly decent teen horror movie called “Brainscan” scripted by Andrew Kevin Walker.)

    I’m really going to miss Dennis Hopper.

  60. Daniel Strange

    May 31st, 2010 at 1:50 am

    Holy shit did I drink a fuck-ton of PBRs last night in tribute to Mr. Hopper.

    That is all.

  61. Holy shit, I knew there was a massive one I’d forgotten about! THE AMERICAN FRIEND is a wonderful, wonderful film. Hopper’s take on the Ripley character is very unique, very different to the versions by Damon and Malkovich.

  62. I’ve seen Ripley as played by Delon, Hopper, Damon and Malkovich, and for me by far the best (though by no means the one closest to the books) is Hopper’s.

    Looking through some of his photography, there are some really outstanding works here. For example:


    He was apparently pally with Vincent Price, who reportedly got him into modern art and started off what became one of the leading collections in the States — much of it kept, I believe, in that amusingly weird metal-bunker of a house that Frank Gehry designed for him in Dogtown…


    RIP, etc.

  63. maybe i’ll watch Easy Rider tonight too….
    R.I.P., loved this guy.

  64. I’m not one that get’s all upset at celebrities dying as if they were really my best friend when they were alive, but this one hurts. Who the hell else could say they went up against James Dean and Steven Seagal onscreen? The world of film is a bit more boring without him.

    There’s a real obscuro called The Glory Stompers that he was great in and apparently took over directing after he gave the original director a heart attack! They played it on the old Bravo channel in the uk ONCE about fifteen years ago and I still have the VHS of it because I’ve never seen it repeated. He has at least one great speech where he says ‘anyone who wants to start, just turn it on– JUST TURN IT ON!– ‘cos I will tune you out, man!’

    Goodbye Hoppers, one and all. All your incarnations were worth watching.

  65. I actually really hated Hopper in the American Friend. No offense to Hopper at all but he ‘aint Tom Ripley. The movie was fine but it didn’t seem he had any idea what to do with the role and he’s nothing like literary Ripley. Malkovich owns the fucking role and thats all there is to it.

    P.S. Sorry to rant on an obit TB. It won’t happen again.

  66. Sorry, commenter #59. I should open my eyes when I read.

  67. I gotta say, AU_Armageddon is right, MAD DOG MORGAN is a somewhat silly film with an absolutely ferociously unhinged Hopper making it all worthwhile. NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD doesnt paint that one in very good light, but its one of his most outrageous roles and hits a couple catagories. Certainly worth seeing. Now that he’s gone, I wish he’d taken more sympathetic roles during his career… there’s something about him that always seemed kind of sweet and vulnerable, even in his villainous roles (something about his eyes, I think). He did a few but I don’t know if he ever got a director who really knew what to do with that side of him. Maybe there’s something I haven’t seen?

  68. Well, damn.

    Yeah, this wasn’t totally unexpected, but it’s still a big loss. A lot has been said about Hopper’s iconic roles already, but I guess I’ll most remember him for the overall intensity of his persona, which he brought to all of his parts, even when he might have been phoning it in. He had that Kinski-esque rawness, most probably related to his real-life personality, that just prevented him from being unengaging.

    For me, he instantly added at least a semblance of credibility and coolness to everything he was involved in, and you never knew what strange and twisted piece he was gonna show up in next. Maybe that’s why he seemed like such a constant and lively presence in movies for such a long time. Too bad there won’t be any more… Thanks, Dennis Hopper, and watch out, those goddamn monkeys bite, I’ll tell ya.

  69. Long live Frank Booth.
    And thanks for the John Lurie Show mention. DBL is one of my fave movies and I had no idea that existed. Lurie was great on OZ then he dropped off the face of the earth.

  70. Kermit and Jareth: Hey, thanks for filling me in on the backstory for John Lurie and that show. Lurie looked awfully familiar to me for some reason, and though I haven’t seen either of those movies, I might have seen something from his band at some point. I’m happy you guys knew about that show, and that it’s watchable on youtube, because I could never explain it correctly to other people without sounding crazy. Now I’ve got DBL and STF on my netflix queue, too.

    Also, eubonic_plague > ebonic_plague, so I’ll probably have to steal that and use it from now on.

  71. Mr. S: Are you saying he wasn’t sympathetic in BLUE VELVET?

  72. Jareth Cutestory

    June 1st, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    Sympathetic? I don’t know. But man was he suave.

    anthony: Lurie suffered from severe illness for a while in the 1990s/2000s, then shifted his focus to painting.

  73. Jareth Cutestory

    June 1st, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    ebonic plague: The films that Lurie made with Jarmusch in the 1980s pretty much defined cool for me as a teenager. The Criterion versions of those films are packed with all sorts of cool stuff.

    And the FISHING WITH JOHN episode with Willem Dafoe is classic.

  74. ebonic_plague : Now I’m completely addicted to Fishing with John . I just can’t believe I’m actually watching a show ( not really ) about fishing ! How cool is that narrator ? Holy shit , is he really talking about “squid monks” and “Way of the Giant Squid”? Also , Dennis Hopper , not really trying very hard , was able to catch a stingray ! The man was also a very good fisherman !

  75. Jareth Cutestory

    June 2nd, 2010 at 9:17 am

    Kermit: If you’re watching FISHING WITH JOHN on the Criterion dvd, be sure to check out the commentary tracks, in particular the
    commentary for the episdode with Tom Waits, where Lurie reveals that Waits was so pissed off due to the hardships he was forced to endure during the episode’s filming that he didn’t speak to Lurie for years afterward. All those insults Waits throws at Lurie at the end of the episode are the real thing.

    Also, back on the topic of Hopper (sort of): we all know that Hopper knew James Dean, but there’s one bit of trivia that I just can’t get my head around: for a short while, James Dean was engaged to Liz Sheridan, better known as Seinfeld’s t.v. mom. Even after seeing pictures of a young Liz Sheridan, I can’t seem to process the idea that Jerry’s mom was engaged to the Rebel Without A Cause.

  76. Jareth : There’s a Criterion DVD for Fishing with John? That’s fantastic , I think the show deserves it , but I’m just watching the episodes on YouTube . I’ve just ordered from Criterion “Samurai Spy” (1965) , and I’m waiting for that , but that commentary sure is interesting ! There’s one with Mr. Hopper ? Or some extras with him in it ? His episodes are the best , in my opinion!

  77. Jareth Cutestory

    June 3rd, 2010 at 8:51 am

    Just in case anyone here lives in Toronto and is interested in experiencing Hopper on the big screen, the Toronto Underground Cinema is playing a bunch of his stuff over the next week, including TEXAS CHAINSAW 2.

    Unrelated, but ARMY OF DARKNESS is also coming up. Always a good one to see with a crowd.


  78. Dennis Hopper will forever be remembered for his great acting. It’s truly sad and a great loss. Not just for the movie industry but in general as he was a man of integrity. His most rememorable movie for me is Blue velvet.

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  79. Well said/written, Vern. I love Dennis Hopper. One of my favorite movies with him is “Flash Back.” He plays a hippie. Pretty grand. I can’t remember if you reviewed that one or not. I will check.

  80. My favorite was Night Tide because he was such a cute, young guy in it. His character was so sweet to his girlfriend.

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