Hopped Up

In his early TV and screen roles, Dennis Hopper displayed some of the intensity, impatience, and rebelliousness that made James Dean and Marlon Brando icons of a new youth culture. He didn’t match their success, however, until he tapped into the counterculture, co-starring in and directing the anarchic 1969 on-the-road anthem Easy Rider (screening Aug. 4). That outlaw escapade defined Hopper’s screen persona for all time — dangerously unpredictable, drug-dazed yet scary-smart, alluring, and off-putting as the devil himself — regardless of what roles (and real-life sobriety) followed. Versions of that character haunt today’s creepy double bill of River’s Edge and Blue Velvet, the high points of the seven-film retrospective “Dennis Hopper: R.I.P.” The wide-ranging tribute to the actor, director, photographer, and art collector, who died in May, encompasses his Oscar-nominated supporting role as an alcoholic father in Hoosiers (Aug. 6) and appearances opposite Dean in Rebel Without a Cause (Aug. 6) and Giant (Aug. 8). Not included is Apocalypse Now, in which he played a stoned acolyte of Marlon Brando’s crazed Kurtz. Shit, man, Dennis Hopper’s dead.
Aug. 4-6, 2010

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