Category Archives: jack nicholson

Dennis Hopper 1936-2010

Actor, filmmaker and Hollywood legend Dennis Hopper has passed away. He was 74.

I used to have this thing for sixties movies when I was a kid. Don’t ask me why, but I was into hippies and drugs and bikers waaay back then. As you can imagine, when local WPVI channel 6 showed Easy Rider on its Million Dollar Movie Friday nights at 11:30 PM – it was an event for me. I stayed up and marveled at the psychedelic exploits of Peter Fonda, Jack Nicholson and this shaggy headed rebel named Dennis Hopper. This was the first time I had run into the man. He was a one-liner, comic relief almost, in Rider, but little did I know then that the man co-wrote and directed the flick. And the flick was one of the new wave of youth-oriented films that changed the way Hollywood made movies.

Hopper once again slid into my tunnel vision with his frightening performance in David Lynch’s Blue Velvet. Nightmarish, charismatic and dangerous – he had a lasting effect. I became a fan, and slowly became aware of his long and storied career.

Dennis Hopper, reputedly one of the bad boys of Hollywood was also one of its new wave of geniuses to come out the late 1960s. His career before Easy Rider was primarily in television and almost stretched back to its beginnings. After lots of TV westerns and some dramas, he jumped to the big screen in 1968 and began a long string of brilliance, whether it was a small part, or larger role in front or behind the camera – Hopper was one of the greats. He seemed to vanish in the 1970s but reemerged quickly in the early 1980s, thanks to roles like Frank Booth in Blue Velvet.

After that it didn’t matter what you saw Hopper in, whether it was as the bad guy in Speed or the television series “24,” or in just silly stuff like Space Truckers or Super Mario Brothers – you knew you were going to get a hell of a performance. We have lost a true Hollywood legend in Dennis Hopper, and he will be missed.

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Who Put the Freak in French Fries?

The Only Films the Academy Ever Sees

Time warp time again, folks. This one was written shortly after the Oscar nominations for this year’s awards…

Observations about the 2002 Oscar nominations

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is supposed to see all the movies released the current year so as to judge what should be nominated as the best in each given category. Well, at least in a perfect world. We all know that’s not the way it works.

The real rules are different. They only see films released in December. Only films by major directors. Only featuring tried (or should that be tired) and true actors like Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep. If it’s got Tom Hanks it’s got a pretty good chance too. Plusses for films with Nazis or the handicapped also have a good shot as well. Don’t ask me, I don’t make the rules.

Speaking of Jack Nicholson, I also have to assume I’m the only one sick of Jack Nicholson being nominated for playing Jack Nicholson. Oh. Boy. I just can’t wait to see him act with genius Adam Sandler later this year in Anger Management. What a joy that will be. Does Jack have some serious gambling debts we don’t know about? He can’t need the money that bad.

Nominations can not include horror movies or comedies, Nothing with teenage casts or rock music scores. Nothing animated, no superheroes, no action heroes and nothing based on TV show or toy. These aren’t real films. Which is a shame, one of the better performances I’ve ever seen from Lou Gossett is in a wretched piece of crap called The Punisher, based on a Marvel comic book. A performance no doubt never seen by the Academy.

The Hours? Interesting idea but the movie is aptly named – it seems like hours. My Big Fat Greek Wedding? It deserved much much more than just a nomination for screenplay. Adaptation? I can’t understand this one, yeah, it was clever but much too long. Meryl Streep was capable of better than this and Nicholas Cage… get real, he had a double role so he was twice as bad as usual.

Where was One Hour Photo and Insomnia? How often do you get (and I don’t believe I’m saying this) two movies in one year where Robin Williams actually deserves praise? Where was Igby Goes Down? Where was the screenplay nom for Spider-Man or the musical score for Harry Potter? What about Dennis Quaid and The Rookie? Sam Rockwell and Drew Barrymore in Confessions of a Dangerous Mind as well as George Clooney? Where is the major omission this year (notably based on a comic book) Road to Perdition featuring wonderful performances by Jude Law, Tom Hanks and Paul Newman along with director Sam Mendes.

Oh, well, I guess this is another year I’ll watch the Oscars on tape with my finger on the fast forward button. There’s always next year. Yeah, right.