Sunday, February 2, 2014

Rip Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Philip Seymour Hoffman
July 23, 1967 – February 2, 2014

Sad news, as it's being widely reported that Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead today. Possible drug overdose. A shame. A waste. Terrible. I can't begin to wrap my mind around the impact Hoffman has had in film in the last twenty years or so. He was one of those out-of-left-field sort of actors, who silently rose up through small, memorable roles. Through the '90s you knew his face, you knew his work, but you may have not known his name. I think I first watched him in Scent of a Woman (1992), but it may have been The Big Lebowski (1998). Most probably learned his name in his "break-out" role in Boogie Nights (1997). I didn't see that film until several years after its release, so for me it was The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) where I suddenly realized "wait, I've seen that guy before, he's really good!". That was the start of checking out his past work and following whatever came next. I've pretty much loved him in everything I've seen him in, even if the film itself wasn't great. He had a pretty striking physical presence to back up his acting chops. He could pull off prim and proper and disheveled with equal effectiveness. He could be interesting, lovable, or just a downright slimy creep. Few can do a person on the verge of falling over the edge like he did in films like the fantastic character piece about a degenerate gambler, Owning Mahowny (2003), or as the desperate mastermind of an ill-fated crime in Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007). People took major notice of him again in Capote (2005), where he won best actor, but he could be overlooked as well, in small roles that held films together, like his turn as an awkward teacher falling for a student in 25th Hour (2002). At only 46 years of age there seemed like there was so much more promise there, but sadly that's been forever silenced. Thankfully his body of work is one worth revisiting and enjoying for years to come. Thanks, Philip.

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