Like Pacino and Bette Davis and Brando, Hopper combined near-unbridled intensity with technique and precision. His turn as the sociopath Frank Booth in Blue Velvet has long been, for me, his most effecting performance.
I’ve also long held that the most meaningful compliment we can give to a screen actor is not that she or he is talented or has tremendous “chops,” but rather that she or he is of a singular talent. Marilyn Monroe earns my admiration not because she was a master thespian, but because what she did on screen could only be done by her. Megan Fox doesn’t impress me as an actor not because she cannot act (she can, pretty much) but because there’s nothing special about her. She’s interchangeable with a great many other actors who are pretty and can (pretty much) act. (For the record, there are plenty of male actors who fit this bill as well; Megan was just—perhaps unsurprisingly—the first that came to mind) And Hopper was a singular talent. There will never be another actor like this. He will be missed.