"Like all artists I want to cheat death a little and contribute something to the next generation."-D. Hopper
Talk show host and former radio personality Wendy Williams has a saying. "Friend in my head". This is how she refers to people she has never met in real life- but feels such a strong connection to them that she believes they would get along famously if ever their paths crossed. Thus making them a friend; at least in her head anyway. This is how I always felt about Dennis Hopper.
I already know there will be more than a few blogs examining the life and death of this maverick of Celluloid. Let's skip that. He was simply to me, one of the most awesome people to ever do what he has done. A natural. Out of his entire body of work it only took a few roles to forever endear me to him. How someone can be that intense while being ultra-cool is anybody's guess. But he did it with no effort at all. It's so strange but he shares that quality with my maternal grandfather who is also a 'friend in my head' of sorts. He died when I was very young, but from what I do remember of his personality- I know we would be very close in my adult life. The very part of me that would love to sit and have a drink with my grandfather is the same part of me that would love to roll a joint and kick it with Dennis. Aside from being an actor and director, he was an extremely talented photographer. That alone makes for good conversation with me. And no one can punctuate a sentence with the word "Man" in the manner that he could. Some people, you hear. But I felt Dennis Hopper. He was real.
An iconoclast and true talent. There are only a handful of actors whose movies I will watch simply on their merit alone. He was one of the few. And if I didn't feel this way, I would have missed his shining moments in flicks like River's Edge, Paris Trout and my all time personal favorite, True Romance. I have yet to see a finer piece of acting than the infamous Eggplant scene with Christopher Walken. From the time he asks for what he knows will be his last Chesterfield- I am riveted as though I've never seen it before. He illuminated simple things like videos and commercials. Check out his turn as a true fanatic the classic Nike ad with Sterling Sharpe or Gnarls Barkley's vid for Smiley Faces. Priceless.
Hopper wasn't loved by everyone in Hollywood. He had a reputation for sometimes being abrasive and hard to work with but who cares? When you're that good- you can afford to ruffle a feather or three and you're obviously doing something right. He also got some face time on the cover of High Times magazine some years back. So... This Bug is burning one to the grit and glory that is Dennis Hopper. You surely left something for the generations to come. Catch you on the flip, Cowboy.