fascinating window into Dennis Hopper's world circa 1971
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.
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