Sunday, February 2, 2014

Philip Seymour Hoffman Tribute (1967 - 2014)


I just found out that my favorite actor, Philip Seymour Hoffman, was found dead in his NYC apartment at the age of 46, and I am devastated by this.  Apparently he had a pretty bad drug addiction and overdosed on heroin.  This is a terrible tragedy, but unfortunately it seems that many of our best actors wrestle with their share of demons, and perhaps it is those demons that fuel their unrivaled performances.  I really cannot think of even one role that Hoffman didn't make shine, no matter how small the part, and in a relatively short period of time (22 years), Hoffman had arguably the best filmography of anyone I can think of.  And it sure seems that I'm not alone in that feeling.  In fact, my Facebook news feed has been flooded all day with tributes to him.  His premature passing has united the film community more than anyone I recall.  And what is particularly of note is that all of them reference different films.  That speaks to just how many unbelievable performances he has given us.  And it is devastating to imagine how many more we will be deprived of, as he has left us at the very peak of his career.

Hoffman was clearly a favorite of one of my favorite directors, Paul Thomas Anderson, appearing in all of his films except 'There Will Be Blood', in increasingly prominent roles in 'Hard Eight', 'Boogie Night's', 'Magnolia', 'Punch Drunk Love', and culminating with 'The Master'.  The latter is a masterpiece, and his performance is absolutely mesmerizing.

Sadly, I never got to meet him, but I did attend a conversation with him at the Toronto Film Festival in 2010 and stood up and asked him a question (which is something I never do at those events.)  Honestly, I don't really know much about him as a person, but as a film buff I can tell you he was truly as good as it gets.  I will be adding to this tribute as the day goes on, but for now I give you below the essential Philip Seymour Hoffman.  Please pay tribute to him as one of the finest actors we'll ever have and check some of these out.  He was an inspiration and a joy to watch. I always looked forward to seeing everything he did.  And now I will treasure the last few films that he had already completed that I haven't yet has the opportunity to see even more.  Today, while the country is watching the Super Bowl, I will be spending my day watching his greatest performances.  Rest in Peace, Mr. Hoffman.  You've earned it.
  1. Synecdoche, New York - This is, in my opinion, one of the greatest and most ambitious movies ever made.  Written and directed by one of the most imaginative minds in Hollywood, Charlie Kaufman, and starring Hoffman in a tour de force performance, it's an epic film about life and death and love and sadness that will make you think and feel quite deeply if you allow it.  To attempt to even try to describe it would be a mistake.  It's a film you need to experience, and I encourage you to do so when you're in a pensive state of mind.  It is certainly the film I will think of most when I think of who Philip Seymour Hoffman, the actor, was.
  2. The Master - Hoffman is totally captivating as the leader of a Scientology-esque cult, and was smartly nominated for an Academy Award.  The fact that he didn't win was a travesty.  Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams are also amazing.
  3. Capote - Hoffman won the Academy Award for his performance as Truman Capote.  And sometimes even the Academy gets it right.
  4. Before the Devil Knows You're Dead - This Sidney Lumet crime and family drama contains some of the finest acting I've ever seen by both Hoffman and Ethan Hawke.
  5. The Savages - A heartfelt drama with Hoffman and Laura Linney playing somewhat distant siblings who must reunite to take care of their estranged father who is suffering from dementia.  It's one of the most honest films about what many people have to eventually deal with in life but no one wants to talk about.  And even though Linney is the lead and is excellent, Hoffman is just as great.
  6. Doubt - Hoffman was nominated for an Academy Award as a priest who may or may not have had an inappropriate relationship with a student.
  7. Pirate Radio - An overlooked gem of a movie written and directed by Richard Curtis ('About Time', 'Love Actually'.)  It's an ensemble film, where everyone shines.
  8. Mission Impossible III - Hoffman elevates this blockbuster from being ordinary to being extraordinary as a memorable villain worthy of comparison to the great Alan Rickman in Die Hard.
  9. Moneyball
  10. The Ides of March
  11. A Late Quartet
  12. Owning Mahoney
  13. Hunger Games: Catching Fire
  14. Happiness
  15. Along Came Polly
  16. The Big Lebowski
  17. Punch-Drunk Love
  18. Boogie Nights
  19. Magnolia
  20. Hard Eight
  21. The Talented Mr. Ripley
  22. Almost Famous


  1. I was shocked and saddened by this, far more than I thought I would have. RIP Phillip.

  2. I haven't seen a lot of these, but I always enjoyed him in Almost Famous and Along Came Polly. Understated roles unlike his heavier leading roles.