Monday, 14 April 2014

Alternate Best Actor 2009: Sharlto Copley in District 9

Sharlto Copley did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Wickus Van Mere in District 9.

District 9 could be viewed as the good version of Avatar as it actually an interesting and entertaining film about a difficult relationship between humans and an odd group of aliens.

Sharlto Copley before moving into playing a variety of wackos made his acting debut in his friend Neil Blomkamp's own feature film debut which is this film. Here Copley plays a much more down to earth fellow mentally this time around. In the opening of the film he is in fact no more than a bureaucrat ordered to take charge in the eviction of the Aliens from District 9 who are to be sent to another camp named District 10. Wickus spends his early time directly addressing the screen as Wickus is being the sort of star of a documentary video as he goes about his task. Copley is great in introducing us to Wickus as the corporate drone of sorts. The reason being because of just how realistically that he creates Wickus early on despite this being a film about stranded Aliens.

Copley smartly treats the role by playing Wickus simply as man who is being followed in his job as in a real documentary. Although a corporate man Copley still nicely plays Wickus as a man and at the start he is very effective in showing such a genuine excitement in Wickus as he receives his promotion along with his new assignment to remove the Aliens. Copley is particularly likable in the role even in these moments where he could have been unlikable simply because how much life he does bring in the part. Yes he is a bureaucrat to be sure, but Copley very naturally suggests that there is obviously at least a little more to the man than that. Copley makes him a feel like a completely real man even before we see him evict any Aliens, and in dong so he grounds the film incredibly well that could have easily become far too detached otherwise.

Although the film does not mind showing Wickus to be a more than a little out of his element as he tries to perform the evictions, and Copley does not mind showing this really either, he very importantly does indeed act as an excellent guide through District 9. Copley holds these scenes together incredibly well through the naturalism that he brings to the part. The reason for this is how well he plays the fact that Wickus is making a documentary at this point. In that point Copley properly brings a constant energy in the scenes that only reflect a particular passion that Wickus has to make a good impression in the documentary, but also just the baser sense that he is happy to be the star so to speak. Along with that though Copley brings the right pride in just the way Wickus walks as well as espouses his information of the land as if he were the expert he needs to be for this job.

Copley carefully shifts though depending on the situation as he should in a proper fashion that shows Wickus shifting gears when needed. Whenever Wickus is actually going through the process of evicting Copley effectively brings out the bureaucrat all the more as he attempts to portray Wickus as all business. Copley brings the right weakness in Wickus's manner in these scenes as it is easy to see the cracks in him as he tries to act tough in front of the Aliens. Again though I like that Copley does not overplay that though as he never makes Wickus defined by it by any means. Copley is good in bringing the strong bluster in Wickus trying to be in charge, but Copley shows that he just really does not have it in him. Copley very realistically brings the attitude of a man who really just is not that good at his job, but really is trying very hard to be.

Copley is also terrific when things begin to go wrong during his attempted evictions such as when the Aliens commit violent acts or perhaps even he makes eye contact with a local human crime lord. Copley shifts perfectly in these scenes always to reflect the intensity of them. He even twists quite cleverly yet still realistically though by showing Wickus's strong attempt to try and seem like he still knows what he is doing despite it seeming obvious that he is in over his head. Copley is great by showing how every encounter shakes up Wickus a little more and he makes Wickus filled with far less confidence and a far more nervous fellow then he was at the beginning. This only becomes much worse for poor Wickus though when Wickus accidentally sprays a strange liquid upon himself that came from a hidden canister from one of the Aliens's shacks. 

That liquid causes Wickus to suffer severely and Copley once again delivers brilliantly with this aspect of his performance. Wickus start out becoming ill and Copley does not just leave it to spewing black liquid from his orifices. Copley brings the illness alive through his portrayal and his depiction of Wickus's physical degradation is made odd believable because of him. After he is done for the day Wickus collapses at home finding himself in the hospital, but much worse than that he finds that his hand has become the same hand that belongs to the Aliens. Copley's reaction is outstanding because he merely conveys what most men's reaction would be to discovery this. The horror in his eyes and panic is painfully raw. Copley is very powerful in that scene as well as the proceedings scenes where his company uses him as a guinea pig, but being just so honest in his performance.

 The film technically takes a rather drastic turn as he goes on the run seeking refuge in District 9 while gradually transforms more into the Alien. Copley capitalizes on the fact at the beginning of the film he always manged humanize Wickus even though he was a bit of dope. This is especially important when the film expects us to become completely invested in him as he must try to cure himself and avoid being dissected by his company. Copley allowed the right sympathy by never turning Wickus into a caricature earlier therefore when Wickus's life is threatened it becomes very easy to feel for his plight. The film does not spend too much time on Wickus's regrets as he ends up with teaming up with one of the Aliens, it pretty much leaves it to Copley's portrayal of Wickus's reactions to the Alien. That is all that is needed as Copley's naturalism shines through as we see the shame and regret in him, but Copley keeps it subtle fitting to a man who's problems are quite pressing.

The last act of the film is very action oriented as Wickus has to fight off by the armed company men and plenty of criminals who want him for their use. All of the action could have easily overwhelmed Copley's performance and he could have easily just been kind of there. Copley never let's that happen though making the most of all of his reactions. Yes Wickus kind of does become an action hero through his use of the alien armaments, but Copley does not play it that way. Copley brings the right awe in Wickus's astonishment at most of what he does, as well still bringing the appropriate fear and desperation as he is forced into this situation he never wanted to be a part of. Copley that carries this film so flawlessly. He does this because in every step, even though it is science fiction, even though he plays a guy who is turning into alien, who always makes Wickus feel like a real person through his portrayal of every emotion he goes through. He gives a great performance that is probably one of the best feature film debuts I've seen.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Alternate Best Actor 2009: Nicolas Cage in Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans

Nicolas Cage did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Terence McDonagh the titular character of Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans.

Werner Herzog's own Bad Lieutenant's name may sound like a bad straight to DVD release sequel, but its actually a very entertaining sorta re-make to 1992 film directed by Abel Ferrara with Harvey Keitel as the Bad Lieutenant.

The similarities in the two films are that they focus on the exploits of a bad Lieutenant who is tasked to solve one major crime while he indulges in sex, drugs, gambling, and all while abusing his power as a police officer. The earlier film was a very serious depiction of this troubled man, but in this case it goes for much more of a dark comedy type of approach to the material. The same goes for Cage's depiction of the Lieutenant which differs greatly from Keitel's work. The Lieutenant engages in the same behavior but in a vastly different fashion. Also I would say that this named Lieutenant, although definitely makes problematic decisions throughout the film, it is easy to see that he is far more competent individual than the unnamed Lieutenant who was completely incompetent in basically every single facet of his life.

 Nicolas Cage receive a bit of a bad rap these days with many calling him a terrible actor, but I think I would more of categorize him as a wasted actor. Yes he's in plenty of bad films due to his lack of selectivity, but so is Gary Oldman for the same basic reason. Cage when he really goes for a role, like in his two Oscar nominated performances, he goes all in which thankfully is the case here. There is no really reason to compare him to Keitel because he does not go for anything like Keitel's great performance. This is mainly a comic performance by Cage. That is not to say he is going for laughs directly even once, but Cage knows what he is doing. Cage was probably the absolute perfect choice for the role as this Lieutenant is someone you should never be able to guess what he is going to do next much like a Nicolas Cage performance.

It is funny in that in terms of the drug problem with this Lieutenant you might actually be able to attribute it, at least in part, to his his back pain which Cage illustrates quite well through a constant hunch. The Lieutenant is never off any single drug through the film and Cage can practically make you see it coursing through his veins through the certain malaise that he gives him. There is always something working through his system and Cage rather brilliant brings this through his performance as any highs or lows seem on a physical level as well as a mental one. When for example he abuses some young people outside of a club for drugs his sleazy style is that of a lowly addict just constantly pleading for drugs, but Cage cleverly subverts but still having the appropriate command that still is what you may expect from a normal cop handling the situation.

Cage is never set to set a scene in just a scene lay down as there is a constant energy he brings to role that is effective as it is always in character for the manic nature of his character. Even when the character comes down from one of his highs Cage even manages to that with some great gusto. Some of my favorite scenes though are when Lieutenant McDonagh proves himself far more capable than the original Lieutenant such as one scene where he goes through one house to sneak behind one the murder suspects they are after. Cage is great in the scene once he catches the man as it is a truly intense high he presents in the Lieutenant from his accomplishment. It is not just that of the success but Cage puts the drugs right in there to as the Lieutenant is not doubt on the up swing when it comes to whatever he had possibly ingested most recently.

One of the most interesting things I found watching this performance is how likable Cage manages to make the Lieutenant despite the fact that the bad is definitely earned as torturing old ladies is not even out of the question if it meets his demands. Cage succeeds well in two points in this regard. One being that he does have so much fun in the role and he properly channels that at the right times to concise for any particular success the Lieutenant may be having. Another reason though is the comic manner Cage has. He is pretty spot on in all manners that he takes in this regard. On one side one will be a little broader moment that he makes work because he has set up the Lieutenant to be just this spontaneous. Anything does go for the Lieutenant it seems and Cage completely makes that work often to a rather hilarious degree.

There are two particularly fantastic moments for Cage in that regard. One being when he threatens his new criminal associates for his cut in a criminal bargain. Cage goes from possibly killing them type insanity to a joking jubilation so naturally that is riotous. The other scene though is when he uses the murderers he's suppose to be catching to kill another set of gangsters that he has crossed in some way. After the murders the Lieutenant hallucinates one of their souls break dancing afterwards ordering his associates to shoot the man again to stop it. That might go on the too absurd side but Herzog and Cage make it work. Cage's is expression is awesome in nature as his totally gone expression seems to honestly be that of a man who is in fact seeing a break dancing soul. That is not all there is though to Cage here.   

Cage oddly enough goes from insanity to a calmer at times in such an extreme way yet only fitting for the character that he has developed. Cage even manages to bring humor to some technically dark scenes, like letting some men have their way with his prostitute girlfriend. In this case he does in such a matter of fact way that he allows the blackness of the situation to have the right tinge of farce to stop it from becoming a little too serious. This is not to say Cage is even all fun and games, even if there is plenty of that to go around. There is a strange underlying heart that Cage suggests that is underlying in any scene where the lieutenant must actually do the right thing. There is no confession scene like in the other film yet Cage still manages to subtly suggest the good man behind the very bad one.

Before writing this review I thought perhaps a 4.5 for Cage here, but as I've gone through all that I liked about his performance I have had an even greater appreciate for his work here. This is Cage probably at his very best as he goes for broke and gets the appropriate pay off in return. Cage never becomes dour he never becomes even slightly uninteresting for a second. There is always something he brings to the part and his twisted comedic nature makes the film soar far more than if an actor took a more straight forward, and to be honest less Cagey, approach really the film may have been a complete failure. Cage matches the style exactly as he should and gives a incredibly enjoyable performance. This definitely might not be everyone's cup of tea I suspect but I have to admit I loved it.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Alternate Best Actor 2009: Tobey Maguire in Brothers

Tobey Maguire did not receive an Oscar nomination, despite being nominated for a Golden Globe, for portraying Captain Sam Cahill.

Brothers has a certain effectiveness at times but overall it never quite comes together in it's story about two brothers one who is a soldier who is thought to have died in Afghanistan, and the other a perpetual screw up who finds some responsibility at his apparent death.

Maguire plays the "good" brother and Jake Gyllenhaal plays the "bad" brother Tommy. That is technically good casting in that they can be taken as brothers as they both fit a similar type and it is no surprise to learn that Gyllenhaal was considered to replace Maguire as Spider-Man when it was in question whether or not he would reprise the role in Spider-Man two. The comparison between the two is problematic in that I would not hesitate in saying Gyllenhaal is simply the much more talented Maguire as Maguire has a tendency for a blandness in his performances. This blandness is not avoided here either even though this ends up being a very emotionally charged role. The beginning of the film though is just setting up the family dynamic with showing Sam as a devoted soldier but also a man who is very loving toward his children and his wife (Natalie Portman).

Maguire sorta fails in both of the points early on. He just never really seems like a man who was ever a soldier here and he does not do anything to really suggest anything about Sam early on. He's very paint by numbers just kinda going through the motions of any scene. He does not show really a command you might expect from a respected Captain like he probably should. He also does not strike up enough chemistry with either Portman or the two child actors playing his daughter. Also he does not really strike anything notable with Gyllenhaal, in fact it does not seem like he really is trying all that hard in that case whereas Gyllenhaal really is trying to bring something between the brothers. Unfortunately there is not anything that comes from Gyllenhaal effort because Maguire does not reciprocate, and despite being called Brothers Maguire and Gyllenhaal don't share that many scenes together.

Everything changes though once Sam goes off to Afghanistan and his helicopter is shot down, but he survives although he is captured by enemy forces. They take him and a fellow soldier and proceed to torture them to elicit "confessions". Maguire in these scenes isn't terrible in that I do think there are glimpses of expressing the severity of the situation and the change in Sam's mental state. Maguire never pulls the emotions together enough to make these scenes truly harrowing. There is still an inadequacy at times as he does not bridge the transformation from one to another well enough. There are moments where he seems to have it in portraying Sam's descent, but then others he seems lost in the scene. This is especially true for the pivotal scene where his captors force him to kill subordinate. Maguire does not build the moment instead going to some standard yelling and just undercuts what should be an essential character moment.

Sam comes back and is obviously a bit off as he no longer seems the same man, and is clearly suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome. Maguire actually has one really strong scene where Sam accuses Tommy of sleeping with his wife. Maguire is very effective in showing the unsettled nature of Sam and just the cold nervousness of the man. Maguire in that scene realizes the state of Sam rather powerfully, unfortunately this is not the case for the rest of the scene. Maguire just seems to go on a blank stare autopilot that fails to bring his conflict to the forefront. He stays this way until an extreme breakdown that occurs. It's a loud scene and really it comes off as much more of him acting loudly rather than bringing the natural breakdown. One reason is he did not build to this well enough, other than that one scene with Gyllenhaal, but as well it is just insufficiently acted in a base sense. Although the ending is particularly weak this isn't a terrible performance as there are moments where Maguire finds the character, but those moments are the exceptions.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Alternate Best Actor 2009

And the Nominees Were Not:

Nicolas Cage in Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans

Tom Hardy in Bronson

Viggo Mortensen in The Road

Sam Rockwell in Moon

Sharlto Copley in District 9

And since I'm a man of my word BONUS REVIEWS:
Joseph Gordon-Levitt in 500 Days of Summer

Tobey Maguire in Brothers

The prediction contest will just be for the first five.

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1986: Results

5. Raul Julia in The Morning After- Julia is going against a terrible film, but he does rise enough above it to give some depth to a role.

Best Scene: The Revelation.
4. Steve Martin in Little Shop of Horrors- Martin may peak with his song, but that is one entertaining peak to reach.

Best Scene: "Dentist!"
3. Brian Cox in Manhunter- Cox gives us his own Hannibal that emphasizing the intelligence once again, but with with a very effective more down to earth style.

Best Scene: Hannibal's introduction.
2. Daniel Day-Lewis in A Room With A View- Day-Lewis gives a brilliant portrayal of the ultimate Edwardian man which he makes amusing in the extremity yet completely natural to his character.

Best Scene: Lucy breaks off the engagement with Cecil.
1. Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet- Good Predictions Psifonian, Lezlie, Maciej, RatedRStar,  and Michael McCarthy. Despite this year having several strong strong supporting performances I have no hesitations in rewarding Hopper the win here. He is absolutely amazing with his searing and completely unforgettable depiction of the twisted Frank Booth.

Best Scene: "In Dreams" 
Overall Rank
  1. Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet
  2. Daniel Day-Lewis in A Room With A View
  3. Tom Berenger in Platoon
  4. Willem Dafoe in Platoon
  5. Dean Stockwell in Blue Velvet
  6. Michael Caine in Hannah and Her Sisters
  7. Brian Cox in Manhunter
  8. Steve Martin in Little Shop of Horrors
  9. Ray Liotta in Something Wild
  10. Michael Caine in Mona Lisa
  11. Tom Noonan in Manhunter
  12. John C. McGinley in Platoon 
  13. Raul Julia in The Morning After
  14. Lance Henriksen in Aliens
  15. Dennis Hopper in Hoosiers
  16. Vincent Price in The Great Mouse Detective
  17. Michael Biehn in Aliens
  18. Bill Murray in Little Shop of Horrors
  19. Corey Feldman in Stand By Me
  20. Levi Stubbs in Little Shop of Horrors
  21. Robbie Coltrane in Mona Lisa
  22. Paul Reiser in Aliens
  23. Clancy Brown in Highlander
  24. Bill Paxton in Aliens
  25. James Hong in Big Trouble in Little China 
  26. Alan Ruck in Ferris Bueller's Day Off 
  27. Helmut Qualtinger in The Name of the Rose 
  28. Woody Allen in Hannah and Her Sisters 
  29. Jeffrey Jones in Ferries Bueller's Day Off
  30. Jerry O'Connell in Stand By Me
  31. Vincent Gardenia in Little Shop of Horrors
  32. George Dickerson in Blue Velvet
  33. Forest Whitaker in Platoon
  34. Dennis Dun in Big Trouble in Little China
  35. Max von Sydow in Hannah and Her Sisters
  36. Keith David in Platoon
  37. William Hope in Aliens
  38. Forest Whitaker in The Color of Money 
  39. Conrad Roberts in The Mosquito Coast
  40. Ray McNally in The Mission
  41. Victory Wong in Big Trouble in Little China
  42. Kevin Dillon in Platoon
  43. F. Murray Abraham in The Name of the Rose
  44. Francesco Quinn in Platoon
  45. Val Bettin in The Great Mouse Detective
  46. Liam Neeson in The Mission
  47. Val Kilmer in Top Gun 
  48. Sean Connery in Highlander
  49. Anthony Edwards in Top Gun
  50. Denholm Elliot in A Room With A View
  51. Ron Perlman in The Name of the Rose
  52. Charles Dance in The Golden Child
  53. Simon Callow in A Room With A View
  54. Philip Bosco in Children of a Lesser God
  55. Brad Dourif in Blue Velvet
  56. Tom Skerritt in Top Gun
  57. Leonard Nimoy in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
  58. Michael Lonsdale in The Name of the Rose
  59. DeForest Kelley in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
  60. Victor Wong in The Golden Child
  61. Dennis Farina in Manhunter
  62. Rupert Graves in A Room With A View
  63. John Turturro in The Color of Money
  64. Michael Ironside in Top Gun
  65. Reni Santoni in Cobra
  66. Jim Belushi in Salvador
  67. Yuj Okumoto in The Karate Kid Part II
  68. Martin Scorsese in 'Round Midnight
  69. Alan Young in The Great Mouse Detective
  70. James Hong in The Golden Child 
  71. Danny Kamekona in The Karate Kid Part II
  72. John Savage in Salvador
  73. Stephen Lang in Manhunter
  74. Alfonso Arau in The Three Amigos
  75. John Getz in The Fly
  76. David Kagen in Friday the 13th Part VI
  77. Andre Gregory in The Mosquito Coast
  78. Andrew Schofield in Sid and Nancy
  79. Austin Pendleton in Short Circuit
  80. Fisher Stevens in Short Circuit
  81. Tom Fridley in Friday the 13th Part VI
  82. Brian Thompson in Cobra
Next Year: 2009 lead

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1986: Raul Julia in The Morning After

Raul Julia did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Joaquin "Jackie" Manero in The Morning After.

The Morning After is an awful is about an alcoholic actress Alex (Jane Fonda) who finds a murdered man in her bed one morning. Sidney Lumet does a terrible job directing it keeping it tonally inconsistent and making some of the oddest music choices ever seen in a mainstream film. It does not help that the two main characters are not interesting, and I have to admit I found Fonda's drunk scenes to be pretty awful. As for the quality of the central mystery well I might as start the review....

This is not really one of Julia's greatest performances and in fact  I'd even say he was in a better film when he was in Street Fighter, but I can't help myself when a Julia performance is recommended just to recognize the man who was taken from this life far too soon. Anyway the mystery of The Morning After does not seem much like a mystery at all as the killing obviously has something to do with Raul Julia who is the only other character in the film besides the male lead played by Jeff Bridges who is a hillbilly? ex-detective. It was obviously not going to be Jeff Bridges as Jagged Edge was only a year before so it had to be Julia, well did it not? Well actually it isn't really because it's this character you don't see until the revelation, which I guess can work, but not if it's written this poorly. Anyway Julia's Jackie still has something to do with it.

For most of the film though Julia comes in and out of the film as Alex's hairdresser and husband although they are apparently amiable in a separation. Julia even in a bad part still has plenty of energy to go around like an early scene where he tries to replay what it was that Alex had done the night before the murder. Julia does not have all that much screen time for him to build a character but he is effective in showing the undercurrent of deceit in Jackie, and the fact that he obviously knows far more about the murder than he let's on. What Julia does though is suggest what is later explained and that is that Jackie is contemplating far more than if he was merely the murdering. There is going on in Julia's portrayal and it would have been interesting to have explored his character more but the film is terrible so it has to focus on Fonda's disjointed performance and Bridges's inconsistent accent.

The revelation at the end of the film is that Jackie is actually trying to cover for his new fiancee who apparently was the one who committed the murder. He does handle the revelation scene well particularly when Jackie is trying to kill Alex. Although the camera angle Lumet chooses is hideous, Julia is effective in showing that Jackie is almost breaking his own heart well trying to do this. In that moment he actually brings far greater depth to the piece than can be found any where else. He is even quite moving when Jackie's fiancee tries to pin the murder on him as he shows Jackie to be so honestly distraught that the woman he tried so hard to save has just betrayed him in the end. This is a more than solid performance by Julia as I do think he rises above his terrible surroundings despite the extreme limitations of the role. I have to say I would have much rather have seen the film be completely about Julia's character moral contemplation over his actions to save his love. Unfortunately though there just is not enough Raul to go around in this case.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1986: Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet

Dennis Hopper did not receive an Oscar nomination, despite being nominated for a Golden Globe, for portraying Frank Booth in Blue Velvet.

Blue Velvet is a brilliant film about a young man Jeffrey (Kyle MacLachlan) who tries to find out the mystery behind a severed human and in doing so undercover the dark underbelly of his seemingly idyllic hometown. 

Dennis Hopper actually was Oscar nominated for 1986 in this category, but not for his turn in this film. Instead he was recognized for his good but certainly in comparison simpler portrayal as a sympathetic drunkard in Hoosiers. There probably was not much of a competition between the performances in terms of votes either since in Hoosiers Hopper played a likable man and in Blue Velvet he plays a villain. Yes the academy likes villains well enough but not really so much when they are like Frank.Well there really aren't many villains like Frank Booth to be sure when one of his most savory qualities is the fact that he runs a small criminal organization in what seems to be a pleasant town otherwise. In fact Hopper's portrayal of Frank's very first scene probably guaranteed that he would be recognized for Hoosiers and not this film.

Frank makes his most unusual entrance once Jeffrey tries to become a sleuth by investigating a night club singer Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini) who is said to have some sort involvement with the missing ear. He is caught by her in her apartment and she beings to play a sexual game with that is quickly silenced when Frank comes over to have his own sexual game with Dorothy with the hidden Jeffrey forced to watch. Hopper is truly something to watch in this scene as he let's the whole prevision fly in his all too convincing portrayal of Frank particularly method to game sexual satisfaction. The way Hopper plays the whole scene is absolutely amazing yet an especially disturbing sight to be seen. It is a jumble of emotions in Frank's method and he seems all over the place mentally yet Hopper successfully brings it into one' man's madness.

It would have been easy enough to just be the vicious rapist he is, and Hopper certainly does not hold back in that regard. Every time he tells Dorothy to not look at him, or to shut up Hopper is so brutally cruel in his delivery and such an unpleasant degree. That is not all there is to even Frank anger though. During the "sex" scene there is such a bizarre intensity that Hopper brings to Frank lust that is honestly completely frightening to see. The reason being that within the anger there is that sexual desire and satisfaction that he depicts in the same moment in a truly twisted dance of emotions. That would be enough it seems to leave an impression but Hopper does not stop there. Underlying all of it Hopper expresses moments of almost an emotional breakdown in Frank as the sexual experience also seems to cause him to reflect on some very odd psychological issues stemming from his past.

Well that is only Hopper's first scene and he already pretty much insured you would never really forget his performance. Anyway Hopper appears once again after Jeffrey makes a very ill timed exit from Dorothy's apartment as it just happens to be the same time Frank and some of his henchmen arrive. Again what is so incredible about Hopper's performance is just how much he does in every scene with Frank Booth, to be sure there is not one even slightly dull moment when he is onscreen. In the basic villain mold of things Hopper certainly fits that part particularly well. His menace is a truly palatable one here as he makes Frank presence resonate throughout the film so there is some dread in the mere implication of his appearance. Hopper's portrayal isn't even that of a cunning villain necessarily, but the ferocity he brings in Frank's violent demeanor makes him a man to be feared.

Again merely being the villain just does not seem enough in Hopper's performance as there is even a very darkly comic element that Hopper brings with his portrayal Frank. In his scenes with Jeffrey Frank addresses him as neighbor and Hopper is rather hilariously friendly in the way he says it even while he is constantly physically abusive toward him. Any of these moments could come off poorly or odd considering the rest of what Frank does but Hopper handles them so naturally that his deliveries seem exactly how Frank would say them. My favorite of these pitch black comedic moments has to be right when Frank is intent on murdering Jeffrey and just before believing he's going to do it says "You've got about one second to live buddy!". Hopper delivers so amusingly like Jeffrey is his buddy, yet the killing intent in Frank still is never lost even for a second. 

Of course Frank is not just a thug  even though is unquestionably a thug. This is best shown when Frank forces Jeffrey and Dorothy along with his gang to the home of a very strange man called Ben (Dean Stockwell) who lip syncs Roy Orbinson's "In Dreams" to Frank. Hopper is fascinating in this scene as he shows such a vulnerability in Frank as the song brings him almost to tears. What is so compelling about his performance is that he makes this moment of reflection a completely believable transition for Frank. Even more than that Hopper is absurdly magnetic and even oddly poignant as he portrays the profound affect on Frank and alludes to the psyche of the man. Hopper expresses what the song means to Frank, and suggests that the emotions it brings are overwhelming to the point that he must fight them with anger. It is a completely flawlessly acted scene by Hopper. 

Frank is a role that could have easily been filled with pitfalls not only the whole idea of the character but as well just merely behavior perhaps could have seemed overly repetitive. This is never the case for Hopper as you never know what Frank is going to do in a given scene except that it is going to be very disturbing yet so strangely entrancing to witness. This is especially true in the scene where he first threatens then proceeds to beat Jeffrey for interfering with his abuse of Dorothy. Hopper certainly makes you believe the threat as he is brutally imposing but again the twist in his Frank is how well he suggests just how damaged of a man the psychotic Frank is. Frank again almost cries as he's beating Jeffrey and Hopper only ever brings these emotions into Frank as Frank. Hopper makes all these seeming inconsistencies all what is this one deranged man and that is something astonishing to behold. 

I really cannot praise this Hopper enough in this film. It is such a tremendous work by him as he turns Frank into one of the most unforgettable villains of course. I don't see him just as a villain though as Hopper goes so much further than that with his work, he creates this remarkable character that he does make so unrepentantly repulsive yet you can't look away. Frank isn't even necessarily necessarily that much of Blue Velvet's running time yet it is impossible to think of the film without thinking of his performance. Hopper is captivating in every single frame of his performance as he never wastes a second in realizing every facet of Frank Booth. This is easily the greatest performance by Dennis Hopper that I have seen, and I hold no hesitations to call it one of the greatest supporting performances of all time.