IF is the Middle Word in LIFE

This is pretty great. Had never seen it before tonight. There are a few of Dennis Hopper’s films that I wanted to say something about and it was a big fail on the YouTube getting decent clips. And then there was this staring at me. Who knew that Hopper telling Sheen that IF was the middle word in LIFE in Apocalypse Now was from Kipling? Johnny Cash put some pretty out there things forward on his show. I could deal with more like that now. That’s a long poem. longer than most hit singles. But it held you close and didn’t let go.

Anyway, Here’s some crib notes for you. Some sauce, some goodness that you might want to track down that was blessed by having Dennis Hopper as a part of it.

The American Friend
Maybe Wim Wenders first great film. Hopper as Patricia Highsmith’s Ripley. In some ways to me Wenders’ first Casablanca. His first great flawed masterpiece. With Nicholas Ray and Sam Fuller.

O.C. and Stiggs
This one has seriously fallen into a black hole in the collective consciousness. I never resist a chance to plug this oddball. It’s charms are abundant, but somehow it has failed to have the lasting adoration of similar 80s fair. Anyway, a film that is largely involved with a plan to arrange a concert by the master of Nigerian Juju music King Sunny Ade is one worth supporting. Dennis Hopper reprises his role from Apocalypse Now… oh, wait, sends up, royally. majestically. Ray Walston makes Huevos Rancheros. Jane Curtin, Jon Cryer, Tina Louise, Cynthia Nixon, Martin Mull, Melvin Van Peebles, and Bob Uecker also appear.

Dennis Hopper Hosts Saturday Night Live 1987
The sequel you will never see to Easy Rider, Dennis Hopper and Phil Hartman portray booze-hungry aliens who threaten to send watchmen robots to the Earth if their demands are not met, Roy Orbison performs. More info. Probably the only episode of SNL I have ever taped.

Flashback
Kiefer Sutherland and Dennis Hopper are an awesome double act, it’s a shame they did not do alot more together. I think the most recent was in ’24’. The film also has the always lovely Carol Kane and Michael McKean (Spinal Tap/Lenny). It’s very much fun.

BackTrack
Strangely this film has not gotten much love from reviewers. Strange as it is a film so full of love. Backtrack (AKA Catchfire) is a complete love letter. A love letter to film making, to Taos, New Mexico, to art, and to Jodie Foster. For reasons of cast and situaton, you might well think it was an alternate reality David Lynch film. the cast includes Dean Stockwell, Vincent Price, John Turturro, Fred Ward, Sy Richardson, Charlie Sheen, Bob Dylan and Alex Cox as D. H. Lawrence. Directed by Hopper. In some odd way I think of it as his “Confidential Report”. If I had to pick only three of the films Hopper directed that you must watch I would add this to Easy Ride and Out of the Blue.