Earlier today, I was told the sad news that Philip Seymour Hoffman, celebrated actor, was found dead today in Manhattan at the age of 46.
Hoffman is responsible for many performances that I have truly enjoyed, but I’m not going to sugarcoat it. I loved his presence because it made me (and many others) feel uneasy. He was a fantastic villain, and he stole the show from other formidable leads on a consistent basis.
He will be surely missed. I’m not going to pretend as if I am qualified to declare what his best performances were as a sort of memoriam. I don’t know what they are, and I honestly don’t care.
First and foremost, I want to say goodbye and wish his family and friends well. They’re losing a good man. Second, I’m not going to get into how he passed away. At the time of this writing, nothing has been confirmed related to the cause of death, and it’s ultimately irrelevant.
So I’m going to honor his memory the only way I know how. By saying goodbye. To do that, I want to thank him for all of the films he put work and effort into for us to love. The following four films stand out to me, as they are my favorite performances by the cherished actor. Of course, I’m leaving out many great films, so please feel free to consider listing the films that impacted you in the comments.
I was unprepared for Doubt, a fictional, suspenseful story of a priest who is being accused of pedophilia by the head nun, played by Meryl Streep.
The performances in this film caught me years before I was mature enough to appreciate them. I can still feel the intensity of the conclusion, which affected the audience in a deliciously deceptive plot twist that still lingers in my head when I think back on the film.
3. The Big Lebowski
Brandt (Hoffman): Her life is in your hands.
The Dude: Man, don’t say that, man.
Brandt: Mr. Lebowski asked me to repeat that: her life is in your hands.
The Dude: Oh, s***, man.
Brandt: Her life is in your hands, Dude.
2. Mission Impossible III
There are plenty of other films I would place above this Tom Cruise action spy flick, but I feel compelled to include it due to the embarrassing fact that before I watched this movie, I had no idea who Philip Seymour Hoffman was.
Boy, did I learn, and if I hadn’t, I probably would have missed out on Pirate Radio.
1. Almost Famous
Hoffman was responsible for my favorite scene of this movie.
Lester Bangs (Hoffman): Aw, man. You made friends with them. See, friendship is the booze they feed you. They want you to get drunk on feeling like you belong.
William Miller: Well, it was fun.
Lester Bangs: They make you feel cool. And hey. I met you. You are not cool.
William Miller: I know. Even when I thought I was, I knew I wasn’t.
Lester Bangs: That’s because we’re uncool. And while women will always be a problem for us, most of the great art in the world is about that very same problem. Good-looking people don’t have any spine. Their art never lasts. They get the girls, but we’re smarter.
William Miller: I can really see that now.
Lester Bangs: Yeah, great art is about conflict and pain and guilt and longing and love disguised as sex, and sex disguised as love… and let’s face it, you got a big head start.
William Miller: I’m glad you were home.
Lester Bangs: I’m always home. I’m uncool.
William Miller: Me too!
Lester Bangs: The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what we share with someone else when we’re uncool.
William Miller: I feel better.
Lester Bangs: My advice to you. I know you think those guys are your friends. You wanna be a true friend to them? Be honest, and unmerciful.
Goodbye Mr. Hoffman. Rest in peace.