I don’t normally care about celebrity deaths; they’re so remote from my lifestyle that it always registers as a tragedy, but easy to move past. Today, though, Philip Seymour Hoffman passed away, and the loss is felt viscerally in me. Hoffman was likely the greatest working actor around: not only immensely talented, but also a worker: he was never so discriminating that he would pass down lesser roles, and never phoned it in when he took them (as so many others would.) In each and every performance, he would give it his all: this morning, my brother told me that he first noticed him in Along Came Polly, of all places. (Hoffman took literally the shittiest roles, evidentially.)
If you would like to commemorate Hoffman by watching his films, I highly recommend his films with Paul Thomas Anderson: I chiefly recommend his turns in The Master and Boogie Nights, but his other roles are certainly worthwhile as well. Synecdoche, New York is highly recommended as well: Hoffman carries the film with his performance, rendering an emotive character that would be a mess in any other actor’s hands. However, any of Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s performances are worthwhile to seek out, even in Along Came Polly or the five minutes he is in Catching Fire. I cherish the films that we have, and lament the roles we will never see him in. I hope that he rests in peace.
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