Saturday, May 29, 2010

RIP Dennis Hopper

Looking for adventure... and whatever comes our way

When I was a kid, it wasn't cool to like the music from the 60s. (Well, except maybe the Beatles; the Beatles were somehow beyond categorization.)

The flower-power movement quickly gave way to self-indulgence (which quickly and unintentionally became comedic). The psychedelia and experimentation turned darker and gave way to the realities of addiction and death.

The working-class rebels became the establishment, hiding out in castles that the common people could only dream about.

And when punk came around, it resonated and reflected the initial rebellion that formed rock and roll.

I loved punk because it always reminded me of the music of the 60s (but generally played a lot faster).

But for most of my friends, the word "hippie" was a high insult. And so when classic 60s movies would play in our local arthouse, I'd go. And usually there would only be 4 or 5 people there.

Yes, 60s movies (especially 60s rock movies) were often sprawling, incoherent, and self-indulgent. Yes, the stories often made no sense.

But there was something vital and vibrant about those movies. Even if the plots didn't make sense, the tone was usually clear. And that tone crackled and rang true in the same way that punk rock did.

RIP, Dennis Hopper. And thanks for helping me connect the dots between James Dean and the Ramones.


Alex said...

Written by one "Mars Bonfire" and giving birth to the name "Heavy Metal" (but not the genre).

Holly A Hughes said...

Someone make those guys wear helmets!!!!

When this movie came out, it terrified me. It WAS cool to be a hippie then -- in fact it was required -- and as an impressionable little kid I believed this was my only choice for an adult lifestyle. And Dennis Hopper was very clearly a risky role model. Yet years later, his passing makes me sad. A spark of funloving anarchy has been distinguished, and America could use a little more funloving anarchy.

Alex said...

I'm with you, Holly.

Hopper was messy, risky, creative, and too often out of control. Not everything worked, but almost everything was interesting and compelling.

Connie said...

I really dislike that Dennis Hopper has left us. Lots of the old icons are gone - like the 60s are being erased one person at a time. I just saw Flashback for the first time - Hopper and Keifer Sutherland in a dreadful movie about a former 60s agitator who turns himself in after 30 years on the run. It poked fun at both the 60s and the late 80s/early 90s. The juxtaposition of money money money with sex, drugs and rock 'n roll was, in turns, poignant and laugh out loud funny.

Connie, feeling nostalgic