Dennis Hopper: A Screen Remembrance
July 2-September 8
Dennis Hopper's (1936-2010) rollercoaster career saw him start out with a studio contract in the 1950s, make B movies for the likes of Roger Corman in the 1960s, be celebrated as the voice of his generation with the huge success of his 1969 debut as a writer and director, EASY RIDER, and then almost immediately become persona non grata in Hollywood for most of the 1970s due to personal and substance abuse problems. He reinvented himself in the 1980s as a go-to character actor for indies and studio pictures alike, with his stunning portrayal of the psychotic Frank Booth in David Lynch's BLUE VELVET standing as his crowning achievement.
In an epic journey from Los Angeles to New Orleans, motorcycling drug dealers Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper head out on their choppers on a psychedelic journey. Beginning with its sensational premiere at Cannes in May 1969, where Hopper's directorial debut won Best First Work, EASY RIDER rode a wave of right-place, right-time, zeitgeisty energy and countercultural attitude. Jack Nicholson won critical praise and an Oscar nomination for his turn as football-helmeted Southern lawyer George Hanson. Laszlo Kovac's adventurous cinematography and the Byrds/Steppenwolf/Jimi Hendrix-heavy soundtrack provided the atmosphere and set the tone, for both the film and an era.
DIR/SCR Dennis Hopper; SCR/PROD Peter Fonda; SCR Terry Southern. US, 1969, color and b&w, 95 min. RATED R
Sat, Jul 2, 5:30; Sun, Jul 3, 7:05; Mon, Jul 4, 5:45
REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE
"You're tearin' me apart!" wails James Dean in Nicholas Ray's touchstone of teen angst and nobody-understands-me melodrama, an Eisenhower-era anticipation of the even sharper generational rift to come in the 1960s. Dennis Hopper often cited Dean as an inspiration, and here, as the teen gang member Goon, who goes from adversary to admirer of the charismatic Dean, it's as if that inspiration plays out on screen.
DIR/SCR Nicholas Ray; SCR Stewart Stern, Irving Shulman; PROD David Weisbart. US, 1955, color, 111 min. NOT RATED
Sun, Jul 10, 5:10; Wed, Jul 13, 4:15; Thu, Jul 14, 4:30
Francis Ford Coppola's screen version of the Vietnam experience is a unique cinematic corollary to the real thing. ("This isn't a film about Vietnam. This film is Vietnam," he said.) Battle-weary Martin Sheen accepts a secret mission to travel into Cambodia to "terminate with extreme prejudice" Marlon Brando, an AWOL Green Beret reputed to have gone mad. After nearly a decade in the wilderness of international productions and a worsening reputation due to substance abuse, Dennis Hopper turns up here suitably wild-eyed as a photojournalist acolyte of Brando's jungle cult. Eight Oscar nominations. Palme d'Or, 1979 Cannes Film Festival.
DIR/SCR/PROD Francis Ford Coppola; SCR John Milius. US, 1979, color, 153 min. RATED R Presented on Blu-ray per the request of Francis Ford Coppola
Sat, Jul 23, 4:00; Mon, Jul 25, 8:45; Tue, Jul 26, 8:45
OUT OF THE BLUE
"She's 15. The only adult she admires is Johnny Rotten." Alcoholic trucker Dennis Hopper does jail time for causing a horrific, deadly car crash and returns to find his beloved daughter Linda Manz (DAYS OF HEAVEN) now a moody teenager, who, despite her rebelliousness and punk attitude, desperately hopes that their family can become normal again. Hopper stepped in to direct at the last minute, replacing Leonard Yakir. "OUT OF THE BLUE is one of the unsung treasures of independent films." – Roger Ebert Official Selection, 1980 Cannes Film Festival.
DIR/SCR Dennis Hopper; SCR/PROD Leonard Yakir; SCR Brenda Nielson; PROD Gary Jules Jouvenat. US, 1980, color, 94 min. RATED R Presented in digital format
Sat, Aug 13, 12:30; Mon, Aug 15, 7:00
David Lynch's unsettling masterpiece blends disparate elements — coming-of-age drama, detective story, an ambiguous 1980s setting with 1950s trappings and midnight movie-style madness — into a uniquely Lynchian whole: equal parts seductive and nightmarish. After discovering a severed ear, Kyle MacLachlan begins an investigation, perhaps to impress his police detective neighbor's daughter, Laura Dern. MacLachlan's amateur sleuthing plunges him into a dangerous underworld populated by sad-eyed nightclub singer Isabella Rossellini and her psychotic tormentor, Dennis Hopper, lover of PBR, nitrous oxide, kinky sex and Roy Orbison.
DIR/SCR David Lynch; PROD Fred Caruso. US, 1986, color, 120 min. RATED R
Fri, Aug 5, 9:40; Sat, Aug 6, 9:40; Tue, Aug 9, 9:30; Wed, Aug 10, 10:00; Thu, Aug 11, 7:00
Veteran TV director Tim Hunter (TWIN PEAKS) helms this remarkable, nervy morality play that plumbs the dark depths of teenage experience. When disaffected high schooler Daniel Roebuck kills his girlfriend and confesses to his clique of fellow outsiders, their reaction is to help him keep it a secret, a cause championed by paranoid speed freak/ringleader Crispin Glover, tween enforcer Joshua Miller and the gang's mentor/drug dealer, Dennis Hopper, in one of his trademark unsettling performances. Fellow burnouts Keanu Reeves and Ione Skye begin to have reservations, and the tenuous bonds of teenage solidarity start to fray, with frightening results.
DIR Tim Hunter; SCR Neal Jimenez; PROD Sarah Pillsbury, Midge Sanford. US, 1986, color, 99 min. RATED R
Sun, Aug 14, 9:45; Tue, Aug 16, 9:10
Small-town Hickory, Indiana; the 1950s: hard-nosed basketball coach Gene Hackman surprises everyone when he reaches out to troubled alcoholic Dennis Hopper to be his assistant coach. But there's a method to his madness, as the team and the town come to discover. Hopper solidified his return from the brink with this art-imitates-life role — a man who, in fits and starts, begins to find the strength of purpose to try and get straight and be a better father to his teenaged son, a member of the team. Widely cited as one of the greatest sports movies of all time.
DIR David Anspaugh; SCR/PROD Angelo Pizzo; PROD Carter DeHaven. US, 1986, color, 114 min. RATED PG
Sun, Aug 28, 12:30; Tue, Aug 30, 4:30; Thu, Sep 1, 4:30
Later in his career, Dennis Hopper specialized in character roles and cameos, and this cult classic features one of his best: a mild-mannered man who, facing certain death at the hands of pitiless mobsters, discovers an inner reserve of chutzpah and looses a final, defiant (and bizarre) rebuke to mob boss Christopher Walken — earning his killer's grudging respect. Tony Scott lends fl ashy direction to screenwriter Quentin Tarantino's over-the-top mash-up of genre cinema thrills, with comic-book geek/wuxia-worshipping film nerd Christian Slater meeting cute with Patricia Arquette's hooker Alabama after rescuing her from psychotic, dreadlocked pimp Gary Oldman.
DIR Tony Scott; SCR Quentin Tarantino; PROD Gary Barber, Samuel Hadida, Bill Unger. US, 1993, color, 120 min. RATED R
Sat, Sep 3, 10:00; Mon, Sep 5, 9:40; Thu, Sep 8, 9:00