Saturday, May 29, 2010

RIP Dennis Hopper

Heineken? Fuck that shit. Pabst. Blue. Ribbon.

When I was a kid Dennis Hopper was little more than a train wreck fading into obscurity. But even that is projecting a boomer perspective on it, as I'm sure I'm not alone among GenXers in having not given the guy any thought at all.

But then 1986 happened. Hollywood's no stranger to second acts, but River's Edge, Blue Velvet and Hoosiers were more like a nuclear explosion than a comeback. In a time we otherwise defined by the works of John Hughes, Frank Booth and "Shooter" were and still are two of the most vivid and memorable characters the decade had to offer. This weird, creepy washed up hippie became forever etched in our consciousness the way only actors and films from your youth can.

Rebel Without A Cause, Giant, Cool Hand Luke, Easy Rider, River's Edge, Blue Velvet, Hoosiers, Colors, Red Rock West, True Romance and Speed in addition to his photography and other artistic endeavors represent quite an oeuvre by any standard. But the fact that he emerged from the dung heap of counter-cultural jackassery to become a great American who didn't take himself at all seriously may well be his greatest accomplishment of all. Vaya con dios.

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