Appreciating Dennis Hopper

The reports are that Dennis Hopper isn’t going to be around much longer, and though many people don’t even realize it, that means we’re going to be losing one of the great movie men of the last 40+ years.

we're gonna run the picket fence at 'em! merle, you're the swingman ... jimmy, you're solo right ... ok i need to stop

we're gonna run the picket fence at 'em! merle, you're the swingman ... jimmy, you're solo right ... ok i should stop

So it’s good that someone took the time to make sure while he’s still alive that everyone has a chance to marvel in his greatness. He’s got almost 200 items on his IMDB resume. Even though you won’t recognize 75 percent of them, it’s that other 25 percent you’re going to look at and say, “Oooooo, yeah, I loved him in that!” He may not have been the star in most of the stuff he did, but when he came on screen, you knew he was there.

For about 30 years, when you needed some kind of maniacal, crazy, whacked-out weirdo, you called Dennis Hopper because no one else could do it the way he could. Name one other actor in 1979 who could have played his five-minute part in Apocalypse Now. Or his part in Rumble Fish. Blue Velvet, True Romance, Speed — no one else could have done those parts the way he did. It’s taking every fiber of my being not to embed his True Romance speech here, because it could be his crowing singular moment in the movies, but is a little too gruff for the Pocono Record or 99.9 percent of normal society and would probably get me fired. That doesn’t mean you can’t easily do a Google search of “true romance dennis hopper monologue” and find it pretty easily. Just sayin’.

And those are only in my lifetime — that doesn’t even mention Giant, Rebel Without a Cause, Easy Rider, True Grit, Cool Hand Luke and everything else he started out with. Now that’s a career.

Still, my favorite Hopper part was the one that was his most endearing and the only one that got him an Oscar nomination, as Shooter in Hoosiers. I was just thinking of him Monday night after the Butler-Duke game, especially since everyone had been saying it was the real-life Hoosiers being played out. What no one realized was it was going to turn into the tragic part of Hoosiers because Gordon Heyward’s fate was the same as Shooter’s. “3 … 2 … 1 … Let ‘er fly! In and out. Well, I was fouled.”

Let’s hope Heyward doesn’t drink himself into looniness, become an assistant coach on his estranged son’s basketball team and show up for a playoff game drunk to get T-ed up for wandering onto the floor. Then again, let’s hope the head coach wouldn’t be moronic enough to make the ref’s job easier by announcing that Heyward is an assistant coach. Can you tell I’ve watched Hoosiers about 1,000 times too many? But man, that part p!sses me off every time I watch it. Why would you say that? Was Norman Dale some kind of masochist? Did he have money on the other team? Did he have some kind of college offer waiting and he was trying to get himself fired? I need to stop talking about this, otherwise I’m going to go back and watch it (again) to try and see if there is some hidden clue in the scene that shows why he told the ref that. Still ticks me off. Anyway, what is great about Shooter is that after watching Hopper talk about the part, he obviously knows jack squat about basketball — “Oscar Robinson” — so everything that was good about that part came from Hopper’s ability and nothing else.

Anyway, some other links:

Sons of Tuscon, we hardly knew thee. But we knew enough to know it wasn’t going to be that good of a show. We could have stuck with it like we stuck with 30 Rock through its first six awful episodes to be rewarded with one of the five funniest shows of the last 10 years, but that just sounded like a lot of work without much of a promise of a payoff. The Invasion Curse lives on. Everyone who had anything to do with the very good but one-season ABC sci-fi show Invasion has gone on to either make bad career moves, ruin formidable franchises and even famously destroy other people’s marriages. It’s too bad because Tyler Labine is a really funny guy, but the kids in Sons of Tuscon just stunk. On the other hand, we knew Til Death for too long.

We also barely know the new reality shows on NBC — but that hasn’t stopped the network from renewing Minute to Win It, Marriage Ref and Who Do You Think You Are.

new jenny mccarthy doesn't seem very fun. not like the one that i saw signing pictures of her nekked playboy photo spread in lancaster in 1994

new jenny mccarthy doesn't seem very fun. not like the one that i saw signing pictures of her nekked playboy photo spread in lancaster in 1994

If you’re not on Twitter yet, you’ve now got the best reason to be. How else would you know about Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy breaking upas it happens? I know that’s why PopRox is on Twitter, to find out immediately about celebrity break-ups. I hope it doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that Carrey looks like he’s aged about 30 years in the last five years and looks like he’s had so much work done on his face that he decides to hide it with a beard. Or that McCarthy isn’t the cool, fun girl she used to be, but now is a save-the-world mom. Couldn’t be either of those things.

If a celebrity panel critiquing repeats of Curb Your Enthusiasm leads to other such panels for better shows, then I’m all for it. I would have stuck around for a 24 panel this week after its best episode of the season Monday. I’d watch a Mad Men panel on a weekly basis, then watch the rebroadcast of it later that night. No sportscast seems complete anymore without watching a postgame show, so it would seem logical that people would be interested in seeing postgame shows from their favorite series. My fear is that it will lead to panels for crappier but more popular shows. Like a Two and a Half Men panel that will include a different Brat Pack member every week so they can say how much they wish they had the staying power of their former contemporaries Charlie Sheen and Jon Cryer. Such a panel should start and end with a moderator reading the sentence, “Just so everyone knows, Jon Cryer was prominently involved with Superman IV: The Quest for Peace.” Maybe in the middle of the panel too. The trend would take a disturbing turn when CBS realizes it could repeat the same panel for each of its crime procedurals and no one would know the difference.

see? the kids are fine.

see? the kids are fine.

Ahhhh. Sometimes, you feel so dirty it’s almost comfortable. Especially when it’s talking about something we haven’t talked about around here in while, but it’s OK to talk about now since the major hype finally has died down and this barely makes a blip on the radar. America’s favorite warring couple, Jon and Kate, have managed to slip their way back into the news. Seems Jon has a problem with Kate being the one getting attention, so he’s ceased her moment on Dancing with the Stars to drum up a little publicity of his own by re-suing for primary custodyof the kids. Perfect! So he thinks because his wife is making about $100,000 for a couple months of work that makes her an absentee mother? Nice. If he wins, how fast will the judge take away the kids when he’s pictured six of seven nights a week taking out a new hussy to the streets of New York? A month? A week? Five minutes? It remains incredible how Jon has gone from victimized husband to the most ridiculous man in America in three years flat. New record!

It’s been six months since Anaheim started saying it was going to try and lure Comic-Con away from San Diego — and this is the first time we’re hearing any kind of major volley back from San Diego? That a deal should get done at some point to expand the convention center? Not good news. San Diego spent years not even bothering trying to bring tourists to its city, just relying on a slogans like, “Go ahead and spend your vacation in New York City in January, we’re FREAKIN’ SAN DIEGO!!!” And they worked, because no one ever has a bad day in San Diego. But in this climate — and tourism stinks right now — you need every tourist dollar you can get. Comic-Con has become synonymous with San Diego, and for the city to lose it would be like Dunder-Mifflin closing the Scranton branch and moving it to Tulsa. It would be a huge blow.

If you are like me and hold the Star Wars universe sacred, then you might want to make sure you have a fifth of Jack Daniels close by when you read about how George Lucas is at least interested in making an animated Star Wars sitcom. There is just no telling how far Lucas will take his diabolical plan to make sure Star Wars is as completely ruined as it can possibly be, so why are we still holding such an affinity for it if the guy who made it couldn’t give two craps about what it becomes? And handing ti over to the Robot Chicken guys just seems like Lucas saying, “Gimme a check and do what you want. A BIG check.” But at least Seth Green, a Robot Chicken creator, has a sense of humor about his show (he’s the voice of Chris in Family Guy):

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