The Middle Word in Life

What we think about when we think about Dennis Hopper (1936–2010)
by Matt Zoller Seitz   posted Apr 6, 2010

Back to Article


So great to watch this again. Thank you.
Nomi   posted 29.02.12

i disagree as well. dennis hopper is not gone, his work makes him live on.
eugenie de franval   posted 08.06.10

This world is a darker place today.
Konstantin   posted 30.05.10

This was a wonderful compilation, bravo. I beg to differ with Matt Zoller Seitz assertion that Dennis Hopper is not immortal. He has proven it with this moving tribute to his awesome body of work. While James Dean may have been the "rebel without a cause," Dennis Hopper was the "Rebel with a cause." He ain't gone, he's just dead. What a true artist!
JayL   posted 30.05.10

Having Dennis Hopper on film is like having captured lightening in a bottle. He gave a depth and breadth to the representation of the modern American experience that we'd be even more lost without as a touchstone. Your tribute captured the essence of the man and the artist through his own work beautifully. Thanks for giving me a way to pay my respects on the day that we lost him.
Leslieness   posted 29.05.10

I found this via IMDb. Thank you so much for putting that montage together. I've watched it three times, shared it on FB and emailed it around to my friends. You are so right: it's always seemed that Dennis Hopper would live forever (and in many ways, he will). Ever since the news of his cancer broke, I've been dreading the day that I go online and read of his passing. He represents so much that is good, beautiful, bad, ugly, important, irrelevant, poignant and thrilling about all of us (and especially, I think, about America). He's definitely a one-of-a-kind spirit, and you captured him beautifully! Thanks again.
Misha   posted 09.04.10

Great tribute. I too found it via Roger Ebert. Thanks for putting it together. I've always appreciated Dennis Hopper and this summed up all the reasons why everyone should so very nicely. I wasn't aware that his health was so poor until I saw this. Fascinating man and fascinating career. Kudos!
whiskeytangofoxtrot   posted 08.04.10

Cameron: I'd tell you where I got that good dupe of "The Last Movie," but then I'd have to kill you -- and film it with my stick camera. Seriously, though, that dupe came from an off-the-radar Good Samaritan who shall remain nameless. Contact me via email (it's a couple of Google searches away) and I'll hook you up. "The Last Movie" really needs a proper home video release. It's a beautiful wreck of a film, with some passages that are so lovely, intuitive and aesthetically radical that it's not surprising that the film was slaughtered by critics upon first release. Thanks, everybody.
Matthew Seitz   posted 07.04.10

So beautiful, Matt. I commend you for producing this before we lose Hopper. You're so right that we should appreciate the man now. Hopper's one of the most exciting, intelligent, unpredictable actors we'll ever see. Undervalued director as well. I'm so happy you included clips from CATCHFIRE and THE HOT SPOT, two of his lesser appreciated works as a director (it's probably for the best that you left out clips from CHASERS, his semi-embarrassing remake of THE LAST DETAIL). I also loved your use of "Spaces Between Spaces" from THE LAST MOVIE, and your decision to use the clip of Hopper practicing his death fall for the natives in said film. To my mind, that's the single most "moving image" in Hopper's directorial oeuvre (rivaled only by the shot in OUT OF THE BLUE where Hopper holds two telephones up to his ears to talk to his wife and daughter from behind the visiting glass in prison). It's going to crush me when Hopper goes. Thanks so much for this tribute, Matt. Brought tears to my eyes. (I do have one question for you: Where did you find the OAR clips from THE LAST MOVIE? Was it from a home video source, or from television perhaps? I've only ever seen the film in a shabby reformatted VHS. It would help me greatly to know the source of those clips, as I'm busy preparing an article on Hopper's directorial career that I'm hoping to finish and convince somebody to publish before Hopper leaves us.)
Cameron   posted 07.04.10

Matt, this is a terrifically moving tribute. Thank-you.
Nick Faust   posted 07.04.10

Amazing piece of work. Thank you for this tribute. It is enlightening, cool and dare I say it? - Fun!! I found the link via Roger Ebert.
Lynne   posted 06.04.10


Fighting Words

Fighting Words
by Imogen Sara Smith
posted August 12, 2014

Fighting Words, Part 2

Fighting Words, Part 2
by Imogen Sara Smith
posted August 20, 2014

On the Margins: The Films of Patrick Lung Kong

On the Margins: The Fil…
by Andrew Chan
posted August 12, 2014

Robin Williams: A Sense of Wonder

Robin Williams: A Sense…
by David Schwartz
posted August 12, 2014

Dennis Hopper
Dennis Hopper
Photo Gallery: The Middle Word in Life


video essay  |  Dennis Hopper  |  Obituary  |  New Hollywood  |  Retrospective


Matt Zoller Seitz is a writer and filmmaker whose debut feature, the romantic comedy Home, is available through Netflix and Amazon. His writing on film and television has appeared in The New York Times, New York Press, and The Star Ledger, among other places. He is also the founder of The House Next Door, a movie and TV criticism website.

More articles by Matt Zoller Seitz
Author's Website: The House Next Door