RIP Dennis Hopper

If only Dennis Hopper was like most of us, then maybe he would have gotten the appreciation & status that he truly deserved in the industry. I was truly saddened by the -albeit unexpected- death of Hopper on Saturday from a cancer he had been battling for a while. At 74 years of age the actor's life stopped but not without a slew of writers remembering the memories he gave us in what was a unique and unforgettable acting career.

He acted and directed in Easy Rider -a seminal movie that launched the rebellious madness of filmmakers in the 70's. He single handily stole the show in Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now as a journalist gone completely mad in the far reaching jungles of Vietnam, he was highly delusional/brilliant as a paranoid druggie in River's Edge & -don't ever forget it- he was the highlight of Speed playing a brilliant albeit madly insane bad guy who just wants to terrorize for the fun of it (a Hopper specialty)

Hopper's best acting role was also his most controversial in David Lynch's 1986 masterwork Blue Velvet (also his best movie). Hopper played THE psychopath to end all psychopaths in American Cinema- as the notorious Frank Booth Hopper defied all cliches his way to turn a role that was so maddening and shocking into a brilliant showcase of his talents. His Frank raped Isabella Rosellini and inhaled gas at the same time- he bullied with words but also with actions, which is what made him so scary and so unique in a movie world that was going nowhere and -just like music in the decade- was turning into glam and plastic.

It is by no stretch of the imagination that I'd refer to Hopper as one of the few acting rebels to come out of the studio system in the past 30 years. He was fearless and intimate and exciting and unique. Very unique. The characters he played actually felt very real, no matter how disturbed they might have been & it is by no stretch of the imagination that Hopper invested something very personal in them. He was once quoted as saying that he wanted to play Frank Booth because he "was Frank Booth"- Hopper was many things but a genius is most definitely one of them, he will be very missed.