Upon hearing about Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s death this morning, an apparent drug overdose, I was saddened, as I’m sure most of the film community is, that we have lost such a fantastic talent. When his name is mentioned at the Oscars In Memoriam segment, I’m sure that there won’t be many dry eyes in the audience.
So instead of focusing on his death, I would like to put together a quick list of my Top 5 Favorite Phillip Seymour Hoffman Films. He may not have been the main actor in every one of these films, but even in a supporting role he has been known to steal every scene that he is in. Mind you, this is a quick list that I came up with upon hearing the tragic news, so this list is about the way I’m feeling right now, so don’t get mad if I left a film out.
Also, this list isn’t in any particular order, it is just my favorite 5 films of his. It would take a lot of time and effort to decide which of these 5 films is better than the other, which says a lot about Hoffman’s unique talent.
Boogie Nights – An involving look into the pornography industry in the 1970’s, this film is probably one of Hoffmann’s most known roles, in his portrayal of a deeply troubled man. It was also his first, out of four collaborations with Paul Thomas Anderson.
The Master – A War Veteran, played by Joaquin Phoenix, becomes involved with a cult and their charismatic leader in this quietly unsettling character study. Hoffman’s best overall performance, at least in my eyes, I find it amazing that he did not win an Oscar for this one. The scene in which Hoffman interrogates Phoenix’s character should be studied by anyone wanting to become an actor.
The 25th Hour – This is my favorite Spike Lee Joint and I am glad that people are finally discovering this underrated classic. Edward Norton put together an amazing performance as the lead character, all you have to do is watch the mirror scene to know this, but somehow Hoffman managed to stand out as a supporting character amongst Norton’s performance. If you haven’t seen this movie yet, then stop reading this and watch it now.
Happiness – Happiness is a very uncomfortable movie and not something that just anybody can watch. Hoffman plays a lonely and depraved pervert whose performance, like the film itself, is so uncomfortable to watch that you may want to look away, but that is why he is so amazing in this. He throws himself into the role and just goes with it, which shows that Hoffman wasn’t afraid to accept roles that were challenging and unconventional.
Mission Impossible 3 – In what could have been an unremarkable and forgettable entry in the Mission Impossible series, the film becomes something somewhat amazing every time Hoffman makes an appearance. The scene in which he is trying to press Tom Cruise for information, while holding a gun up to Cruise’s love interest’s head and begins to count to ten, is one of the most tension filled scenes I’ve ever seen. He proves in this film that he can portray a villain with the best of them, and puts most Bond villains to shame.
Philip Seymour Hoffman was only 46 years old and in a short time made an immediate impact on the film medium as a whole. This list included many great films, but there were still a lot of other performances of his that I will remember, and he was also in one of my favorite comedies of all time, The Big Lebowski. During Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Oscar acceptance speech for Capote, he mentioned all the people that were important to him and said “I love, I love, I love” you all just like that Van Morrison song (which can be heard below).
Well Philip Seymour Hoffman, on behalf of all movie fans and people that you have influenced and entertained worldwide, we love, love, love you and you will be sorely missed. You may no longer be with us, but your movies will live on and your legacy will continue to flourish.