Nobody went to see Easy Rider (1969) only once. It became one of the rallying-points of the late ’60s, a road picture and a buddy picture, celebrating sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll, and the freedom of the open road. It did a lot of repeat business while the sweet smell of pot drifted through theaters. Seeing the movie years later is like opening a time capsule. It provides little shocks of recognition, as when you realize they aren’t playing “Don’t Bogart That Joint” for laughs.
Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper play Captain America and Billy, journeying cross-country on their motorcycles, using a drug deal in Los Angeles to finance a trip to Mardi Gras. The drug is cocaine (sold to a dealer played by rock producer Phil Spector), but their drug of choice is marijuana. Billy gets the giggles around the campfire at night. Captain America, who could handle it better, is cool, quiet, remote, a Christ figure who flies the American flag on his gas tank, his helmet and the back of his leather jacket.” Continue reading
Out of the Blue captures the turbulence of youth culture of the early ’80s by presenting a three-person nuclear family that is about to implode. In a prologue, Don Barnes (Dennis Hopper), a school bus driver, is drunkenly distracted one day behind the wheel, resulting in a horrible accident. He comes home from a stint in prison to find his wife, Kathy (Sharon Farrell), hooked on drugs and his now-teenaged daughter, Cindy (Linda Manz), sullen and remote. Don’s old buddies are a fun-loving bunch who work only to afford to get high and party, and he seems to be falling back into his old ways instead of getting straight and pulling his family out of their funk. The story focuses on Cindy’s alienation from both her parents and most of her classmates. She’s influenced by the energy and anger of punk music and considers her parents pathetic relics of the ’60s counterculture. Hopper reportedly took over direction of the film after co-producer/co-writer Leonard Yakir departed the production. It was Hopper’s first job behind the camera since The Last Movie, his legendary flop follow-up to Easy Rider. Continue reading
Plot:An artist (Foster) witnesses a Mafia hit and calls the police. At the police station she realizes that the Mafia has a man in the force, so she runs. Trailed by the police, who need her testimony, and a hitman (Hopper) hired by the Mafia, she goes to Mexico, where eventually she meets the hitman, who has become infatuated after studying her art and life to prepare for the hit. Continue reading
THE LAST MOVIE 1971 was his follow-up to the hugely successful RIDER, but it’s core was much more elusive and abstract, dealing with the nature of film reality and reality it’s self. The editing was loose, the story half told. Hopper shot tons of footage in Peru and brought it back to his home in Taos, New Mexico. He seemed lost in this editing process and the studio was getting upset. For a while Alexandro Jodorowsky, who’s EL TOPO 1971 Hopper greatly admired, assisted in the editing.
During this time the documentary THE AMERICAN DREAMER 1971 was made showing Dennis toting a machine gun, frolicking with numerous groupies, and acting supremely wasted. (The Weird World of 70s Cinema) Continue reading
A loner (Johnson) drives into a small Texas town and gets himself a job at a used car dealership. He gets an idea for robbing a small local bank after he tries to open a new bank account at the same time a fire occurs nearby. The bank was left open while all of the employees went to fight the fire. The manipulative boss’ wife (Madsen) wishes to use him for her own purposes: “I always get what I want, Harry”. He resists, however, as he finds himself falling in love with the accountant (Connelly) at work, who has her own problem to work out. Continue reading
A confident young cop is shown the ropes by a veteran partner in the dangerous gang-controlled barrios of L.A. about to explode in violence in this look at the gang culture enforced by the colors that members wear.
Consider the range and the capture of characters in one movie, Colors delivers multiple plot lines from a number of sides.
I remember when this movie first came out I was in Jr. high school. Colors was a controversial movie talked about by teachers, principles and parents because, believe it or not, it had a tendency for glorification and encouraging gang membership. Continue reading
Dennis Hopper, who has been seen onscreen in small roles from the mid-50s, hit paydirt in Easy Rider, released in 1969. Aimed at the audience that attended Easy Rider, American Dreamer is a documentary/biography of Dennis Hopper. While this film is intended to look like it used cameras so ubiquitous that their subject has forgotten them (enabling them to reveal the “real life” of their subject), at no point does Mr. Hopper fail to take them into account. Nonetheless, a good deal of at least historical interest is shown, including an expression of his philosophy of life at the time, and one encounter in which he brings a fuzzy-minded young woman back down to earth with a thud. — Clarke Fountain Continue reading