Friday, February 7, 2014

R.I.P. Philip Seymour Hoffman

I still haven't come to grips with the fact that Philip Seymour Hoffman has died. Last Sunday, February 2, 2014, his body was discovered in his New York apartment. He died of an apparent heroin overdose. I say apparent because the coroner hasn't released an official cause of death yet, but police claim he was found with a fucking needle in his arm so, I'm just going go with heroin here. Hoffman was regarded as the greatest character actor of his generation and ranked amongst a handful of others as the most talented working actor today. To say his untimely death is a tragedy would be a understatement. This whole ordeal has left me and anyone with a more than passing interest in cinema and the creative arts, absolutely devastated.

Hoffman began his acting career on the stage. I've read a flood of tributes and interviews with the man that state his only real aspiration in life was to be a Broadway actor, capable of performing his craft then riding his bike home in complete anonymity. He had no desire for international stardom. Hoffman's talent was too great however and a string of small film roles in the early 90's would catapult him into the limelight for the next two decades. Hoffman, with his bulky frame and disheveled looks was not the typical Hollywood leading man and he knew it. Instead, Hoffman seeped into the heart and soul of cinema through his incredible laundry list of supporting characters. He rarely hogged the spotlight, but onscreen, Hoffman always stole the show. His performances were rife with emotion and felt less like an actor than a literal exposed nerve. The vulnerability in his performances was undoubtedly tied to deep psychological turmoil. Whatever dark inner forces led this talented man to seek refuge in drugs also served as the conduit for some of the greatest acting ever captured on film. It's a damming double edged sword that I wish cut less deep.

Philip Seymour Hoff was one of my favorite actors. I've basically grown up watching the man. He was the douche-y kid in Scent of a Woman, crazy Dusty in Twister, and had two iconic roles in films that changed my life: Scotty J in Boogie Nights and Brandt in The Big Lebowski. Those two movies changed the way I looked at film, forever. I'm not going to list all his great roles because that would take forever. The man's filmography is damn near untouchable. Even when Hoffman was slumming in shitty films for a paycheck, he always delivered onscreen. I was fortunate enough to watch Hoffman in glorious 70mm in his now iconic performance in The Master. I sat in the theater mesmerized, as Hoffman's face was projected on the Arc Light's massive Cinerama Dome. Finally, I thought, a screen capable of sustaining this man's gargantuan talents. I felt lucky and privileged to live in a time when actors like Phoenix, Bale, Fassbender and the most consistent of the bunch, Philip Seymour Hoffman, delivered such captivating and inspirational performances. I had grown up watching Hoffman as merely a side character, only within the past few years did I become aware of/fully appreciate the scope of his talent. I thought there would be more films to enjoy. It pains me at how wrong I was.

Hoffman's death is disgusting, infuriating and utterly heartbreaking. At a time when modern culture revolves around vapid reality stars and teen pop drivel, Philip Seymour Hoffman was a national treasure to anyone with a working brain. I'm saddened for his family's loss, I'm outraged by his selfishness and weep for such wasted potential and the future greatness we have all been collectively robbed of by his passing. From the grizzly details surrounding his death, we all know he wasn't a perfect human being, but there is no doubt that Philip Seymour Hoffman was the perfect actor. He will be greatly missed.


  1. Yeah, this was one of the deaths that I actually cared about. It's sad to see him go. I just hope it was worth it, in some twisted way, for him.

  2. I liked his role the in great The Big Lebowski, that laugh of him so good!