Saturday, May 29, 2010
RIP Dennis Hopper - The Man Who Saved Hollywood
I'm sure everyone has heard of the passing of Dennis Hopper. It was only a matter of time unfortunately with him having cancer but it's still sad when it happens. Much will be written about he and his movies. His drug years. His amazing up and down career. His friendships with all kinds of people including the late great James Dean. A man who lived life to the fullest (perhaps too full sometimes) and has left a mark unlike few before him. However one such mark is the fact that the man saved Hollywood.
During the 1960's Hollywood revenue had dropped drastically and the studios were on the verge of bankruptcy. People weren't going to the movies as much and with the social climate at the time more kids were getting high and/or protesting the war (specifically the draft more than the war but that's a whole other thing) so no one was invading their local theatre for the latest Hollywood had to offer which wasn't really much. The films being turned out at the time were not ones anyone wanted to see. Hollywood had lost touch with the current crop of moviegoers. They were in a downward spiral until one actor decided to make his own movie. A hippie drug biker flick starring he and his buddy and a few friends. The film was 'Easy Rider'. A low budget film that no one at the studios even understood. And quite frankly some of us in the audience didn't either. But the film struck a chord with the people at the time and it became a huge success. Hollywood scratched its head and decided they were out of touch and knew their only hope was to grab onto young directors and let them do their thing. Out of this came the careers of Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Brian DePalma, William Friedkin, Peter Bogdanovich, Martin Scorsese ... and the list goes on and on. These filmmakers in turn redefined Hollywood and soon both the amazing films of the 1970's came about plus the birth of the modern blockbuster.
If not for 'Easy Rider' then who knows what would have happened. All because one man decided he wasn't seeing the films he wanted to see and went out and made his own. 'Easy Rider' isn't just about the hippie movement of the 1960's but about how one man created something that he felt was missing and it ended up changing everything.
That man was Dennis Hopper. Rest in peace.