I was gutted to read that Philip Seymour Hoffman died today.
I did really like him as an actor but it does always seem a bit worse when a famous Philip dies. That’s just how it is. I cannot justify it in any way but it definitely feels different.
He was an amazing actor, regardless of name. If you haven’t seen much of his work can I advise the following films?
Scent of A Woman
Mission Impossible III
Talented Mr Ripley
Synedoche, New York
He first came to my attention playing, well, pathetic human beings. That’s not strictly true. I was aware of him from Scent of a Woman I just didn’t know who he was when I watched it. Like everyone else after watching that film I was wondering how many Oscars Chris O’Donnell would get in his career. And it turned out the answer was zero – he won zero oscars in the next four months. MEEEOOOOOOOW.
But other than that Happiness and Boogie Nights were where I became aware that Seymour Hoffman was an amazing actor. I can’t remember which I saw first. The release dates would suggest it was Boogie Nights. Man I love that film and Wahlberg is amazing in it but Seymour Hoffman as the repressed homosexual sound guy in the sea of heterosexual porn trying to fit in and dress like all the not-overweight men. Well that was very good and he brought a lot to what could have been an insignificant part.
The Happiness was – and maybe still is – the most fucked up film I’ve seen. In it Hoffman is maybe one of the more likeable characters: he wanks off while heavy breathing down the phone to the woman he’s in love with from his building. It’s that kind of film. If you haven’t seen it and you don’t mind being appalled by art then I seriously advise it. Be warned: one of the main characters is a paedophile and, as the viewer, we see him falling in love with his son’s male friend and planning his rape. You don’t see anything – it’s not that kind of film.
Anyway by the end of that and Boogie Nights I knew PSH was a bit of a don. I won’t carry on just remembering him in some films. Well I will but just one more: please watch Synecdoche, New York. PSH plays a theatre director who gets a grant and he basically recreates his entire world in a big hangar with actors. It’s absolutely mental, written by Charlie Kaufman – as if you needed telling from that brief description, and absolutely brilliant and it all hangs on the amazing chops of one of the finest actors of his generation.