I'm not sure when it happened exactly, but Dennis Hopper just isn't cool. He seems like a nice enough guy, and back in those college days when you're hanging up tye-dyed tapestries with the image of Jim Morrison and The Wall is the only VHS cassette you own, he has some value, but somewhere along the way he became undone.
In Easy Rider, he's an up and coming director, but this movie was made in what probably was America's biggest drug years, unless you consider the "Pre-Reagan-War on Drugs-Everybody is doing Coke with no repercussions" era of the late 70s, early 80s. Hopper basically just had some "interesting" cut scenes but when you go back and watch it now, they're really not that interesting, and seem bush league. I liken the directing in the movie to some student in film class that has the balls to admit they use hallucinogens to the horror of the housewife who's also in that class to fulfill some sort "Art" credit. When it came out, sure, that movie hadn't been made, but now it's been made so many times, and done so much better, it's hard to find real value here.
Hippie revelations? As someone who has now listened to Phish for 18 days straight (true story) and wore tye-dyes over the weekend for his first time in over 10 years (also a true story), even I was having a hard time digesting them being hepped up on goofballs and waxing philosophic about how psycho-tropics "free your mind man." Was it fun watching Jack Nicholson get zooted? Absolutely, but Dennis Hopper and whatever Fonda? Not as much.
I've probably seen 4 or 5 Dennis Hopper movies in my day, and now he seems like he would've been a good Bozo in Ken Easy-Kesey's clan, which is not a compliment. A Bozo is the quintessential "took way too much acid" guy. There's a rumor that goes around saying that if you take too much acid, you never come back, and it's true. Each time people take it, they never come back all the way to the point some lose their minds, and I'm wondering if this happened to Hopper. My Hopper experiences are Apocalypse Now; Waterworld, True Romance and I think he was on a season of 24. He was fantastic in Romance, but borderline batshit crazy in the others. Was he playing a role, or was he Tom Cruisin' it, and playing himself?
Or maybe it's indeed the Waterworld factor. For those that don't know, this movie pretty much killed the career of everyone who was in it, i.e., Kevin Costner and a bunch of nobodies who never did anything, including a director who pretty much never directed a major motion picture again, and after this colossal failure, I don't blame any studio for not giving him the chance. Kevin Reynolds, "You really shat the bed on that one my friend!" Sadly though, it hurt Dennis Hopper to the point he was reduced to being a rival of Jack Bauer's, and yet, I'm supposed to pretend this didn't happen? Oh Hopper's doing acid in New Orleans so what he's saying here has to be VERY relevant!
Is their any wonder as to why a hotel clerk would tell the bikers, "No Hippies!" Shit, I would've told those guys the same. Fonda at one point attempts to define the word, "dude" which may have been necessary back then, but we've now had The Big Lebowski and even though the meaning may be entirely the same, it's entirely different. It's not nearly as "hippie." There's no way "The Dude" would've ever lived in a freaking' hippie commune man! See that last sentence? Never would've happened without Dennis Hopper, but still, that's not necessarily a good thing. It's almost as if all hippie stereotypes are derived from these two bozos. Sure you have things like sitars, the Summer of Love, Phish and Deadheads, but these two guys man! These two guys! Now I'm talking way too much like Hopper man! If you end up spending more than one night in a hippie commune and it's not for research or anything, you know you've fucked up bad.