|Index||4 reviews in total|
This documentary film about Dennis Hopper really impressed me back in 1971, when I saw it at U. of Penn. It was released on college campuses per Hopper's wishes as part of a plan to change film distribution patterns which, alas, failed, and I haven't heard of it being revived since. The premise was to show Hopper at his Taos, New Mexico headquarters editing his epic "The Last Movie". Along the way his pal and documentarist L.M. (Kit) Carson revealed a lot about Dennis, including his fondness for dallying with young groupies, occasionally right-wing views mixed in with a generally liberal philosophy (particularly regarding gun ownership), etc. The most fascinating segments show clips from "The Last Movie" and Hopper in the editing room musing over the filmmaking process. Later, when the finished "The Last Movie" was released and flopped miserably, thereby curtailing Hopper's budding career as a director (see "Easy Rider"), this documentary took on added meaning in revealing those excesses that contributed to his Wellesian implosion.
This warts-and-all documentary of Dennis Hopper at home in Taos, New Mexico, in the period after the filming but before the release of his amazing THE LAST MOVIE, provides a fascinating window into a world that is forever gone and probably only lasted for a short time: the period when the sixties were over but we were still running on fumes from the sixties and things had not yet crashed and burned. This was a year when you could go see a film like VANISHING POINT at a mainstream movie theater and when THE LAST MOVIE was released by a major studio. I was an adolescent at that time and can testify that Hopper represented a heroic image to many of us back then. I never got to see this film at the time because it did not get much distribution. How interesting to see it thirty-three years later. Hopper raises so many interesting questions and issues in THE American DREAMER, but rambler and dreamer that he is, he moves on without stopping to analyze or apply any of it. Perhaps Mr. Hopper expected US to make the next move fueled by the ideas he threw us. The film itself shows Hopper at home editing what would become THE LAST MOVIE, pontificating on all kinds of subjects regarding the arts, society, sex, drugs,his own legacy, and life in general. Intercut with this is footage of Hopper taking his clothes off on the street in a residential neighborhood, shooting various guns, talking with representatives from Universal about THE LAST MOVIE, walking around. Voice-overs of Hopper thinking aloud are played during these scenes. The music is an assemblage of vaguely philosophical stoner folk that perfectly reflects the atmosphere. Hopper talks about honesty in film, and he certainly lives by his own ideology as this is one of the least flattering artist-approved film biographies I've ever seen. Bob Dylan's DON'T LOOK BACK and Woody Allen's WILD MAN BLUES are the only other films about well-known celebrities I'd include on the same shelf. If Mr. Hopper owns the rights to this, he should definitely release it on DVD. By the way, I mentioned earlier about the sixties crashing and burning (as symbolized in the final scene of VANISHING POINT). The film that for me documents the final nail in the coffin of the sixties spirit is WONDERLAND.
Bought the LP soundtrack 30 years ago & recently bought the DVD to see where the music fit - some tracks are missing on the video. Dennis' ego trip(s) are normal for the 1970s. We all had a bit of telling the government what we were not going to do. Like the late-1960s, the early 1970s fostered the remnants of the 60's revolution into the 1970s "ME" generation. Someone like Hopper could affect so many, as did Tom Laughlin, in the "Billy Jack" series. Hopper was a man of his time & you either liked what he had to say or not. I chose middle ground, thus not getting into the decadence of the message, but not being complacent with what was going on during that period. "The American Dreamer" was one man's version of what he wanted to do with his life at that time. He (& I) have grown up.
This movie is worth seeing only if you have a hankering to watch Dennis Hopper wander around smoking joints and or hand rolled cigarettes and spewing retarded hippie philosophy for two hours. This film is horrible. The only interesting and or funny parts are definitely unintentional. Hopper's rambling, near incoherent and clichéd dissertations on life, God, the mind, sexuality and more are extremely nonsensical and make him sound half mad or whole stupid most of the time. Hopper is trying way too hard to create an outlaw mythos for himself and it shows. On top of the false machismo, his attitude reeks of ego mania, or just plain mania. Definitely worth seeing for Hopper fans so they can see what a dirt-bag he was back then. Hopper has stated numerous times that he is very embarrassed about his shenanigans in the 70s, and I'm embarrassed for him. 1/10.
|Ratings||External reviews||Plot keywords|
|Main details||Your user reviews||Your vote history|