Happy Birthday to one of the finest actors of his generation, Philip Seymour Hoffman. Skilled in comedy and drama, a dynamic actor, producer and director, Hoffman has forged an incredible career on stage and in film and is still a relatively young pup at forty-three.
Capote - The perfect intersection of artist and role.
I now live in his hometown and can tell you that the entire place went batshit the night he won the Academy Award as Best Actor for Capote, a personal project he brought to the screen with two close friends. And since my girls went through the same drama program with the same teacher at the same High School, I can play the Kevin Bacon Game and connect in two moves.
But first and foremost as a film lover, I see what people around the world see – an actor’s actor who respects his craft and delves into his roles with complete immersion. It’s why I put any project he’s involved with on my must-see list; like Kevin Spacey or Guy Pearce, he’s versatile and usually uncompromising in his choices. (Well, okay…maybe Patch Adams was a compromise…)
So for this week’s TGIF, here are ten great film performances from Philip Seymour Hoffman. There are many more beyond these; memorable supporting roles in Twister and The Big Lebowski; hell, his part in Punch Drunk Love made me like an Adam Sandler movie for the first time since The Wedding Singer. There are also poignant and dark moments in Love Liza and Flawless as well as highly touted roles in Doubt and yes, some big budget cheese like MI3.
He’s already worked with most of the best directors and actors of his era, and has solid credibility throughout the film and the theatre industry. You should know most if not all of these films, but if any are new to you I give you my full Prescription promise that you will thank me for pointing you to them…except Patch Adams, of course.
Almost Famous – steals the movie as Lester Bangs.
Owning Mahoney – like many of his roles, a double life.
The Talented Mr. Ripley – larger than life Freddie, who sees through it all.
Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead – Andy is a bad, bad man.
Happiness - disturbing, desperate and shattered Allen.
“Sometimes it’s hard to say no. Ultimately, if you stick to your guns, you have the career that you want. Don’t get me wrong. I love a good payday and I’ll do films for fun. But ultimately my main goal is to do good work. If it doesn’t pay well, so be it.”
Magnolia - Phil Parma, porn-loving caretaker.
State And Main – Nervous writer Joseph Turner White.
Charlie Wilson’s War - rockin’ the stache as Gust.
Along Came Polly – egomaniac Sandy is blind to his failures.
Boogie Nights – the incredible, uncomfortable Scottie J.
And keep your eyes peeled for Jack Goes Boating this Fall.