Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Hopper as an actor was one of those wild man actors where his "real" personality onscreen was as visible as the role he was playing. Hopper loved to chew up everything and everyone in a scene. Sometimes this worked, other times it didn't. Hopper has frankly been in a lot of junk over the years but when clicking, Hopper unleashed a series of strange, eccentric characters that are extremely memorable. It's hard to forget a classic Hopper performance in his best films.
Here are a selection of Hopper roles that need to be seen.
Apocalypse Now. Francis Ford Coppola's manic 1979 Vietnam War epic had a lot of craziness attached to it so it makes complete sense that Dennis Hopper was in the cast. There were heart attacks, jungle typhoons, nervous breakdowns, Marlon Brando's giant ego (and shaved skull) and Hopper as a whacked out of his mind photojournalist. Come on, if you haven't already seen this one, get on the ball as this is quintessential American filmmaking.
Speed. In 1994 Hopper leant his over-the-top personality to a box-office action hit in Jan de Bont's mass transportation bus with explosives film Speed. Hopper re-teams with Reeves (an incredibly different film than River's Edge) and delivers a performance that offers up so much psychotic charisma you almost start rooting for his character to just blow the damn bus up. Especially since Speed broke Sandra Bullock as a star. If he could have killed her off early on in the movie we wouldn't have to endure one of the most annoying stars in Hollywood. That's off topic though.
That's just a few of the good moments in Hopper's career and there were others. Even in some of his lowlights such as Waterworld or Space Truckers, Hopper is so wild and full of the quality of "Hopper" that his performance is entertaining, even if the film is a complete disaster.
***Image #1 is a Dennis Hopper self-portrait taken in 1962***
***Image #2 is a 1964 photograph by Hopper with Bruce Conner, Toni Basil, Teri Garr and Ann Marshall***
Posted by Joshua Blevins Peck at 8:10 AM