I Killed a Girl. It Was No Accident (aka Good-Bye, Dennis)
Dennis Hopper. Dead. We lost a good one.
Hopper starred in his share of shit. That can't be argued. He was brilliant in many films, however, and two of those were Blue Velvet and River's Edge, which also had Crispin Glover in it. (It was also Keanu Reeves' best movie.) Imagine that. Hopper and Glover together in a film that was this mass of kinetic, drug-fueled mania.
Hopper also starred in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, but his role could have been played by anyone. Bill Moseley made that film. Hopper was fun to watch in it, however, as he was in most things he was in. Well, maybe not Super Mario Bros., where he played King Koopa. A career low point for any actor, I'm sure. You can't ignore that ... as much as you want to. He made some questionable choices. But the ones that weren't such a stretch of intelligence were almost sublime.
Blue Velvet is one of David Lynch's best films, and a great deal of its success is due to Hopper. The strange gas he inhales. The insane screams. Screwing Isabell Rossellini with scissors while saying, "Baby wants to fuck." Inspired. Show me a better film about small town life in America. I dare you.
Hopper died the same week Gary Coleman, who lived in a locker in On the Right Track. They don't really compare, but it seems somewhat disrespectful that Coleman would go the same week ... even if he did go first. When you lose a legend, you just let anyone else go the same week. It would be like that guy from Creed dying three days before Dio. It just isn't right.
I wouldn't consider Hopper to be a legend, but he was close. He was a work horse, as is witnessed by the amazing amount of stuff he's been in. He was at his best when playing the madman. He did not stretch himself all that much, but he delivered when he was in the right role, and that's better than 70% of the actors out there now.
My three favorite Hopper films, River's Edge, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 and Blue Velvet all came out in 1986. It was a good year for film. I end this with a quote from River's Edge, where Hopper plays Feck, an insane guy who lives with a love doll, if memory serves me correctly. "I killed a girl, it was no accident. Put a gun to the back of her head and blew her brains right out the front. I was in love."
That's a great quote. Fits just about any situation.
-Doug Brunell (America's Favorite Son)