Philip Seymour Hoffman (1967 – 2014)

philip seymour hoffman

 Whenever a famous person dies it always leaves me shocked for a few days afterwards. I remember it happening when Joe Strummer died, and Heath Ledger, and more recently Ryan Dunn, James Gandolfini and Paul Walker. I don’t even have to know any of their work (Walker) to still feel the shock. Sure, some people get old and they die and it’s not really a surprise. It’s no less sad, but it happens to everyone. Philip Seymour Hoffman though, was far too young. I’m not going to say that what makes it even sadder is that because he was supremely talented, because that doesn’t count for anything at the end of the day. We shouldn’t mourn Seymour Hoffman any more than Paul Walker or Ryan Dunn, or the average person in the street for that matter. But wow, that guy was talented!

I’ll admit to not having seen his Oscar winning turn in Capote, and I know I’ve not included The Big Lebowski, 25th Hour, Moneyball and countless others, but here are a few of MY favourite Seymour Hoffman films and performances…

boogie

Boogie Nights (1997)

Playing the sexually confused Scotty J, this was the first time most people would probably have seen Seymour Hoffman, despite his appearances in numerous films prior. It kick started a fruitful collaboration with it’s director Paul Thomas Anderson, after a first appearance in Anderson’s debut Hard Eight.

magnolia

 Magnolia (1999)

Another appearance in a Paul Thomas Anderson ensemble, this time as Phil Parma, a carer to Jason Robards dying Earl Partridge. He has to contend with Partridge’s vicious younger wife played by Julianne Moore. Hoffman brings a real gentleness and humility to the role.

punch

 Punch Drunk Love (2002)

Another, lesser known Paul Thomas Anderson hook up. Seymour Hoffman plays a support role in this Adam Sandler arthouse movie (yeah I know, strange things happen sometimes). PSH plays Dean Trumbell, a crooked mattress salesman who blackmails Sandler’s character. It’s not a huge role, but it’s a great movie!

devil

 Before The Devil Knows Your Dead (2007)

A film by 83 year old Sidney Lumet (12 Angry Men, Network, Dog Day Afternoon) which seemed to slip totally under the radar, despite featuring the likes of Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Marisa Tomei, Michael Shannon and Albert Finney. It is the tale of two brothers (one played by Seymour Hoffman) who rob their fathers jewellery store, and the unfortunate consequences. Check it out if you’ve not heard of it, it’s a decent little movie.

master

 The Master (2012)

A final collaboration with Paul Thomas Anderson, and an acting master class from Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix, even if the film itself wasn’t one of Anderson’s best. Seymour Hoffman plays the titular character The Master or Lancaster Dodd to his ‘family’. It is probably the best display of his acting skills to date and worth it just to see PSH go for it.

About thomasjford

I like Movies and Music and most things popular culture.

18 comments

  1. Thanks for showing some love to the two movies I immediately associate with Philip Seymour Hoffman: Boogie Nights (my initial exposure to his one-of-a-kind screen presence) and Punch Drunk Love. Special mention should also be given to his work as Lester Bangs in Almost Famous.

    • To be honest it’s been so long since I’ve seen Almost Famous, Big Lebowski, 25th hour etc that I couldn’t really say if he is amazing in them or not!

      • I only saw 25th Hour once, in the theater, so I don’t recall much about it. In fact, I had forgotten that Hoffman was in it. But his brief appearance in The Big Lebowski (as assistant to the “big Lebowski” who’s embarrassed by Tara Reid’s character) he made a huge impression on me. I’ve often cited that performance when talking about how much I love Hoffman’s acting. But Punch Drunk Love and Boogie Nights are the two big ones for me.

      • Yeah for sure, basically any Paul Thomas Anderson movie is great in my book!

  2. I still can’t believe he’s gone, he was such an excellent actor. May he rest in peace.

  3. Wow..its really shocking. May he rest in peace

  4. giorge thomas

    The thing about PSH is that you don’t really think of him when you think of actors, but when you see one of his performances, you are always blown away. I think we’ll miss him more in a few years, when we look back and realise there hasn’t been any gritty, going-into-it-head-first performances.

    • Yeah, judging by his last few performances, he still had so much to offer. It’s a real shame.

      I liked your post about him too Giorge, very true.

  5. rtimmorris

    Loved “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead”. Definitely worth a viewing. Where’s “Almost Famous” on this list???? His performance as Lester Bangs is legendary.

  6. Pingback: Remembering Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Oscar-Winning Actor Dead At 46 | Sunset Daily

  7. While there are plenty of good film actors around, few have the depth and quality of PSH, which is why his loss is all the more sad. He was very good in a film I saw last year called ‘A Late Quartet’, about a world-renowned string quartet whose members fall out with each other.

  8. Well said. And you really should watch Capote. It’s an unusual film but as you can guess Hoffman is amazing in it. I also enjoyed it as I’m a fan of Clifton Collins Jr.

  9. For me it was Belushi, Allan Ladd who died at fifty, and Sal Mineo, so many others young, so young.

    • Yeah, history is littered with tragic deaths eh. Did you there is a 2011 movie directed by James Franco about the last day of Sal Mineo’s life? It is, funnily enough, entitled Sal. Maybe you should check it out Barry.

      • Did not know that. One I miss was Nick Adams. He was in a western and used a short shot gun. There is a adage that the good die young, boy am I glad and never was that good.

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