Tag Archives: dennis hopper

Segan On Hopper

In this episode's announcement, we boasted that we had one Kid Blue talking about another Kid Blue. But it's no coincidence that our guest Noah Segan and his filmmaker of the month played distinct characters who just happened to share a name. And the only place you can hear the story behind it is by listening to this month's Hyphenates!

(Note: you may possibly be able to hear it in other places, but the rules of plausible deniability mean that if we can't be bothered googling it, we're allowed to claim the exclusive.)

It's a jam-packed episode as we talk not one, not two, not three, not four, not six, but five films! Rochelle and Lee look back at some of this month's new releases, as they debate Steven Spielberg's pop culture paean Ready Player One, Aki Kaurismäki's wry Finnish comedy-drama The Other Side of Hope, Ruben Östlund's wry Swedish comedy-drama The Square, Armando Iannucci's wry Russian comedy-satire The Death of Stalin, and Garth Davis's non-wry Biblical drama Mary Magdalene. One of those films provokes some sparks, but we won't say which.

We're then joined by Noah, who talks about what it's like to go from being a fan of classic films to the star of future classics. Is there a cognitive dissonance that comes from growing up on Star Wars and then suddenly finding yourself piloting an X-Wing?

Then it's time for Noah's filmmaker of the month, Dennis Hopper. Noah's love of New Hollywood shines through as he examines at a great actor whose first film changed American cinema forever. So, you know, no pressure on Noah's eventual directorial debut. But there's more to Hopper the Director than Easy Rider, and if you've never considered his career as a filmmaker, stop reading this and listen to the show. Then continue reading this.

Also, we're very willing to invest in Noah's million dollar app idea.

Further reading:

  • Rochelle goes into more detail about her love for Mary Magdalene over at her blog It's Always Better in the Dark.
  • Lee talked about his adoration of The Square in his rundown of the best films of 2017. (Film festival screenings vs general release dates mean a film can come out a year after they made your fave-of-the-year list.)
  • Make sure you check out some of Noah Segan's amazing film writing over at Birth Movies Death.
  • Hyphenates alum Edgar Wright interviewed Steven Spielberg for Empire, with the wide-ranging chat covering everything from Duel to Ready Player One. You can read an excerpt from the chat here.
  • If you'd like to watch Hopper's final film, the 2008 probably-an-advertisement short film Pashmy Dreams starring Gwyneth Paltrow as Gwyneth Paltrow, this link is the most kosher one we could find.
  • Hopper talked about his directorial career with The Guardian back in 2001, and in 2008 told Indiewire about his desire to direct more films.
  • And the extract of the Ready Player One book that was going around the net a while back, the one Lee was desperately trying not to judge the book on, is as follows:

Outro music: Born To Be Wild by Steppenwolf from Easy Rider (1969)

The latest episode of Hell Is For Hyphenates, featuring Noah Segan talking the films of Dennis Hopper, can be heard on Stitcher Smart Radio, subscribed to on iTunes, or downloaded/streamed directly from our website.

Hell Is For Hyphenates – March 2018

Noah Segan joins us to talk the films of Dennis Hopper!

Rochelle and Lee look back at some of the key films from this month, including Steven Spielberg’s pop culture paean Ready Player One (00:46), Aki Kaurismäki’s wry Finnish comedy-drama The Other Side of Hope (05:49), Ruben Östlund’s wry Swedish comedy-drama The Square (08:08), Armando Iannucci’s wry Russian comedy-satire The Death of Stalin (11:51), and Garth Davis’s non-wry Biblical drama Mary Magdalene (14:32).

We’re then joined by this month’s guest, actor Noah Segan! Noah talks about what it’s like to go from being a fan of classic films to the star of future classics. Is there a cognitive dissonance that comes from growing up on Star Wars and then suddenly finding yourself piloting an X-Wing? (17:05)

Then, Noah takes us through the films directed by the legendary Dennis Hopper! Hopper appeared in some of the most iconic movies of all time, but with his directorial debut Easy Rider he proved he was just as capable of making modern masterpieces himself. His subsequent career as a director did not quite hit the heights of that first film, but what followed still proved Hopper to be a fascinating filmmaker with a unique point of view. Noah talks about what these films meant to him, and reveals the very specific influence Hopper had on his own career. (30:12)

The Dennis Hopper Cheat Sheet

Want to become an instant expert in our filmmaker of the month without committing yourself to an entire filmography? Then you need the Hell Is For Hyphenates Cheat Sheet: we program you a double feature that will not only make for a great evening's viewing, but will bring you suitably up-to-speed before our next episode lands…

EASY RIDER (1969) and COLORS (1988)

Not all filmmakers create a work that changes cinema and continues to resonate for the next five decades, and those that do rarely achieve such a feat with their debut. Dennis Hopper was no mere vanity actor-turned-director, launching Easy Rider into the zeitgeist and creating a work that served as an icon for both the counterculture movement as well as its inevitable death. Nothing but respect for my Captain America. Once you've finished watching that film, throw on Colors. This intense crime drama stars Sean Penn and Robert Duvall as unlikely partners, upending the cliché of the experienced elder cop and the brash young upstart even as the genre was taking root. It's a product of its time, but it's not dated the way it might have… or perhaps even the way it should have, given the issues it's dealing with could easily be ripped from today's headlines. It's remarkably nuanced work from Hopper, who perhaps should get as many plaudits for this work as he does Easy Rider. Either way, this is a hell of a double.

Substitutions: If you can't get or have already seen Easy Rider, seek out The Last Movie (1971). It's not exactly a beloved film, and its reputation is that of a total disaster, but the same dystopic 1970s feel that drove Easy Rider drives The Last Movie. It is a film of excess, a difficult and indulgent second album, and really worth a watch. If you can't get or have already seen Colors, get your hands on The Hot Spot (1990). This gritty film noir set in a sun-drenched small town stars Don Johnson, Virginia Madsen and Jennifer Connelly, and is definitely a minor classic, particularly if you're a fan of '90s thrillers.

The Hidden Gem: Want to see something off the beaten path, a title rarely mentioned when people talk about the films of Dennis Hopper? Then you should track down Out of the Blue (1980). This drama about a young girl whose obsession with music helps distract her from domestic dramas is remarkably nuanced work from Hopper, and deserves to be ranked with his best.

The next episode of Hell Is For Hyphenates, featuring Noah Segan talking the films of Dennis Hopper, will be released on 31 March 2018.

Our Next Hyphenate Noah Segan

Actor and Hi4H March 2018 guest host Noah Segan

Our next guest has appeared in everything from Dawson's Creek to NCIS, from Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever to Fanboys. But let's not bury the lede here: you know him best as the frequent collaborator of filmmaker Rian Johnson, appearing as stoner Dode in instant cult classic Brick (2005), The Duke in The Brothers Bloom (2008), and Kid Blue in Looper (2012). He had a cameo in Johnson's classic Breaking Bad episode Ozymandias (2013), and as X-Wing fighter pilot Stomeroni Starck he was the true hero of Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017).

When Noah Segan is not busy appearing in cult classics, he's also a proper film nerd in his own right, as proven by his regular guest columns on movie website Birth. Movies. Death. Here he is talking about the acting craft in Face/Off, and here he reveals Michael J Pollard's alternate Billy the Kid in forgotten New Hollywood western Dirty Little Billy. Noah knows his stuff.

So as he prepares for the greatest role of his career - that of Hyphenates guest host - which filmmaker has he chosen to talk about on the show?

None other than Dennis Hopper!

That's right.

We have one Kid Blue talking another Kid Blue.

We have a bloke from Looper discussing King Koopa.

We have the guy who appeared in The Last Jedi talking the guy who directed The Last Movie.

Okay, we'll stop now.

We all know Dennis Hopper as the Hollywood legend who starred in everything from Rebel Without a Cause (1955) and Giant (1956) to Cool Hand Luke (1967) and Mad Dog Morgan (1976) and Apocalypse Now (1979) and Blue Velvet (1986) and Red Rock West (1993) and Land of the Dead (2005). But did you know he was also a filmmaker himself? If you're the sort of person who listens to our show, you absolutely do.

From the iconic debut Easy Rider (1969), Hopper went on to make films like The Last Movie (1971), Out of the Blue (1980), Colors (1988) and The Hot Spot (1990). His filmography includes all-time classics and Alan Smithee disasters, and it's a part of his career that's rarely talked about.

So why has Noah chosen to talk about Hopper's directorial career on the show? Joins us on March 31 when we find out!

Our next filmmaker of the month, Dennis Hopper