Philip Seymour Hoffman R.I.PFebruary 3, 2014
I was on Twitter when I saw the news breaking on my timeline. I was hoping it was a hoax, like the ‘deaths’ of Jeff Goldblum and Morgan Freeman in recent years. But as the tributes started pouring in, I had to accept, with sadness, that it was all too real. Another drug related death of an actor/musician/whatever. Except that this person wasn’t a ‘whatever’. This person was Philip Seymour Hoffman. He was 46.
This seems to be a particularly cruel way to go because he’d managed to swerve the drugs for over 20 years. Only he knows why he took the decision go back there. My sadness however, is mixed with the joy of knowing he made so many great films. I haven’t seen all of them, but I realised I had watched more than I thought: Boogie Nights; The Big Lebowski; Magnolia; Capote and Red Dragon. For those of you who haven’t yet seen Red Dragon, I won’t give anything away, but I’ll just say that his appearance, given where he eventually finds himself, is mercifully brief.
I’ve added a few clips of his performances on the films I mentioned earlier, but not Red Dragon for the reasons above.
The Big Lebowski. If you want to see what it is to be obsequious, ingratiating, sycophantic, fawning, unctuous, oily, oleaginous, grovelling, cringing, subservient, submissive, slavish, brown-nosing and bootlicking, watch Hoffman in this role as the butler/assistant to Mr Lebowski.
In Boogie Nights, Hoffman plays Scotty J, an awkward character by all accounts. These clips show him first developing a crush, then finding out in the most excruciating way, that the object of his affection definitely does not feel the same. Watch his facial expressions in the first clip and his collapse in the second. We’ve all been there. That he was able to express it so beautifully, displayed a great talent.
Magnolia is a great ensemble piece that made me see Tom Cruise as more than just an annoyance with a pretty face. I haven’t seen this film for a while, so I had to remind myself through YouTube why I liked Hoffman’s performance so much.
There were two films about Truman Capote released in the same year. One was called Infamous starring Toby Jones. I’m sure it was good, but I’m afraid it was steamrollered by the juggernaut called Capote featuring Hoffman.
Almost Famous is a film I haven’t seen, but the clip I’ve included here was posted on Twitter last night – a lot. I think I’ll be adding it to the Philip Seymour Hoffman ‘must see’ list.
Philip Seymour Hoffman: a life cut short, but a great talent, which will remain for us to watch for many years to come. R.I.P, Mr Hoffman, and thank you.