Birthday Appreciation, Film, Film Features, News

Philip Seymour Hoffman Appreciation Post

February 2, 2014

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.

Award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead Sunday afternoon in his New York City apartment. He was one of the most versatile and talented actors. He’s astonishingly good. Every role he plays was different, every character is portrayed with the grace of a man who loves his craft and is damn good at doing it. Such a shame, RIP.
I made the following post back in July when it was the actor’s birthday. In tribute to the actor, I thought I’d reblog my appreciation post for him.
May he rest in piece.

My favourite actor! Philip Seymour Hoffman is the most versatile and talented actors, ranging from the cool Lester Bangs in Almost Famous, lonely Phil Parma in Magnolia, vindictive Dean Trumbell in Punch-Drunk Love, hilarious Sandy Lyle in Along Came Polly, compassionate Father Brendan Flynn in Doubt to leader Lancaster Dodd in The Master. There is nothing this man can’t do, and as of now, I have yet to see Hoffman give a bad performance.

He does have a fair advantage considering Almost Famous is my favourite movie, and Boogie Nights is in my top 20; Hoffman is an actor who’s presence is always welcomed in any film. Synecdoche, New York and Along Came Polly are both great examples where his performance manages to make a bad film watchable. Synecdoche, New York wasn’t necessarily bad; I just didn’t understand it. Philip Seymour Hoffman is only turning 46, and I’m still very excited by his work, and his future career decisions.

I didn’t go out looking for negative characters; I went out looking for people who have a struggle and a fight to tackle. That’s what interests me


Choosing my favourite performance by Hoffman is hard, its between Magnolia, Capote and Synecdoche, New York. However, there is something about his performance as Phil Parma in Magnolia that stands out than the others. Phil is a kind, compassionate and normal man and Hoffman’s heart-breaking yet subtle work is remarkable. We see the character’s feelings through his mannerisms and eyes; Phil is the only sane person in this world full of unusual people, and his struggle is painful to watch. Although I do think Tom Cruise gave the performance of the film, Hoffman comes close.

As for his upcoming films, Philip Seymour Hoffman will be playing Plutarch Heavensbee in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay; I’m a huge fan of the books, so Hoffman is a great addition to the already impressive cast. A Most Wanted Man sounds interesting, I’m a fan of Anton Corbijn’s The American, so naturally I’m looking forward to this. Oh, and Rachel McAdams is in it too. Mad Men’s John Slattery makes his film directorial debut, God’s Pocket, starring Christina Hendricks, the plot sounds interesting, but I’m mainly excited to see Hoffman work with Hendricks. And finally, Child 44, I like Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace enough, but Philip Seymour Hoffman and Gary Oldman in the same film together?!! It’s worth seeing alone for that.

Top Five Films

  1. Almost Famous
  2. Boogie Nights
  3. The Talented Mr. Ripley
  4. The Savages
  5. Doubt

Top Five Performances

  1. Magnolia
  2. Capote
  3. Synecdoche, New York
  4. The Savages
  5. The Master

Ranking his Oscar Nominated Performances

  1. Capote
  2. The Master
  3. Doubt
  4. Charlie Wilson’s War

Worst Film: Along Came Polly

Worst Performance: He’s flawless in everything.

Directors I’d like to see him work with: Cameron Crowe (again), Wes Anderson and Jason Reitman.

Actors I’d like to see him work with: Natalie Portman, Russell Crowe, Drew Barrymore, Sam Rockwell and Susan Sarandon.

Top Five Film Quotes

  1. Almost Famous: I’m always home. I’m uncool.
  2. Capote: More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones.
  3. Doubt: There are people who go after your humanity, Sister, that tell you that the light in your heart is a weakness. Don’t believe it. It’s an old tactic of cruel people to kill kindness in the name of virtue.
  4. Synecdoche, New York: I know how to do it now. There are nearly thirteen million people in the world. None of those people is an extra. They’re all the leads of their own stories. They have to be given their due.
  5. Along Came Polly: I tried to fart and a little shit came out. I just sharted. Now let’s go.


Best Actor in a Leading Role, Synecdoche, New York *

Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Doubt

Best Actor in a Leading Role, The Savages

Best Actor in a Leading Role, Capote *

Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Along Came Polly

Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Magnolia

6 nominations – 2 wins

Top Tens for: The Master, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, Punch-Drunk Love, Almost Famous 

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  • Reply Asrap July 23, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    Awesome and intense actor!! One of the best around, yet I still feel he is a bit underrated. He probably needs one really defining movie & character to catapult him alongside the likes of De Niro.

    • Reply Jack July 23, 2013 at 2:37 pm

      He is underrated, despite having a range of successful films. Maybe its because he doesn’t do many mainstream films?

  • Reply Andrew July 23, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    Just curious, but you have Doubt listed in your Top Five performances by him and yet you rank it under The Master in your ranking of his Oscar nominated performances.

    And yes, PSH is certainly one of the best working today!

    • Reply Jack July 23, 2013 at 3:39 pm

      Edited! Thanks for pointing out the error.

  • Reply Terry Malloy's Pigeon Coop July 24, 2013 at 8:07 am

    Great post. He rarely gives a bad performance, you always know you’re gonna get something from him. I saw A Late Quartet earlier this year and the film itself was nothing special but he was just brilliant in it.

    • Reply Jack July 24, 2013 at 12:49 pm

      Glad you like him. I still haven’t seen A Late Quartet.

      • Reply ruth July 29, 2013 at 4:07 pm

        I echo Chris about A Late Quartet. I think the performances, esp Hoffman’s, really elevated that film. Great tribute!

        • Reply Jack July 31, 2013 at 3:48 pm

          Thank you!
          I really need to watch A Late Quartet.

  • Reply sati July 24, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    Love him! My favorite performance of his is definitely Doubt, that was some intense shit there. I agree that this guy never delivered a bad performance, one of the best working right now.

    • Reply Jack July 24, 2013 at 10:06 pm

      He was excellent in Doubt. I’m very excited for his future projects.

  • Reply Eric @ The Warning Sign July 26, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    Very nice piece. Hoffman is my favorite actor working today. Not sure if I can pick a favorite performance… probably a tossup between Almost Famous, The Master and Punch-Drunk Love. I also really enjoyed him in the underrated Owning Mahowny.

    • Reply Jack July 27, 2013 at 3:01 pm

      Thank you! Glad you enjoy his work as much as I do.

  • Reply filmhipster August 6, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    Such a fine actor, I really didn’t like the Master though. I liked him, just not the film.
    He can do serious as well as funny better than anyone.

    • Reply Jack August 6, 2013 at 4:02 pm

      I wasn’t a big fan of The Master either.
      Glad you’re a fan of him though.

      • Reply filmhipster August 6, 2013 at 4:08 pm

        I am a big fan, he’s something special.

        I keep sending you an email but it keeps bouncing back. Let me know if you received it.:)

        • Reply Jack August 20, 2013 at 2:40 pm


  • Reply Alex Withrow August 11, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    Great picks for his top performances. So hard to choose a favorite PSH role. I’m still really drawn to his conflicted work in Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead. Such a mess of a man.

    • Reply Jack August 12, 2013 at 2:51 pm

      He’s fantastic in everything isn’t he? Glad you’re a fan.

  • Reply Dan August 18, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    He’s astonishingly good. Every role is different, every character is portrayed with the grace of a man who loves his craft and is damn good at doing it.

    • Reply Jack August 20, 2013 at 1:09 pm

      Glad you’re a fan!

  • Reply Alex Withrow February 4, 2014 at 1:15 am

    A lovely post of such a damn tragic thing. I love your choice for Worst Performance. And Magnolia as his best… great call. Love him in that.

    • Reply Jack February 5, 2014 at 9:21 pm

      Thank you. It’s just so so awful.

  • Reply ruth February 4, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    Great tribute here Jack. I’m amazed by how gifted and dedicated he is as an actor. What a sad day for moviegoers that he’s gone.

    • Reply Jack February 5, 2014 at 9:21 pm

      Thank you. He was a phenomenal actor, so so sad he’s gone.

  • Reply The Hot Rod February 5, 2014 at 3:25 am

    Even now, a few days after the fact, this is still hard to comprehend that he’s gone. What a talent, taken too early.

    • Reply Jack February 5, 2014 at 9:20 pm

      It’s an unbelievable tragedy.

  • Reply jjames36 February 5, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Great commentary. And agreed. It’s hard to find flaw with any of his performances. All of them are so very powerful.

    • Reply Jack February 5, 2014 at 9:20 pm

      Thank you. Such a shame he’s gone.

  • Reply Dan February 16, 2014 at 8:39 pm

    Terrific celebration of Hoffman’s best work. It’s difficult to pick favorites because he was so good all the time. He seemed to fully embody every character he played and made it look effortless.

    • Reply Jack February 16, 2014 at 9:00 pm

      Thank you. It’s an absolute shame that he’s gone.

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