Apr 29, 2018
Here Is Your Philip Seymour Hoffman Binge-Watch Guide Because We’re Still Sad
There is only one stage of grief for the loss of Philip Seymour Hoffman, and that is disbelief and righteous goddamn anger that the universe would allow the destruction of such a tremendous talent (not to mention a doting father of three small children). We are angry at Hoffman for getting high after such a long period of sobriety. We are angry at whatever idiotic high school dropout cut his heroin wrong and poisoned him. We are angry at God, if there is one, for being such a dick. We are angry at ourselves for only paying attention to addiction when it takes a victim that we personally care about.
So obviously there’s more than enough blame to go around, and we could play that game all day. But wouldn’t you rather watch Hoffman do what he did best in all his schlubby baby-faced beauty? We know we would. Every one of the 10,000 articles that came out right after his death all mention Capote, Boogie Nights, and Almost Famous so we know you’ve already seen those. But did you remember that he was in Scent of a Woman? Next Stop Wonderland? Red Dragon? We sure as hell didn’t and we do this for a living. So here’s our favorite PSH roles that you might not have seen yet, further cementing Hoffman as one of our favorite actors and permanent member of our Fantasy Film Draft:
1. Twister (1996)
PSH incarnation: Manic pixie dream boy
This is the first time we ever saw PSH, as the agent of chaos storm-chaser Dusty Davis. We openly love this movie for all sorts of reasons, but Hoffman is definitely #1 on that list. He spends the entire movie sporting a filthy sweatshirt and shorts, and gets to say fantastic things like “suck zone,” and “He’s gonna rue the day he came up against The Extreme, baby.” The movie is pure ’90s disaster schlock, but as becomes characteristic of our man, Hoffman elevates his character from a run-of-the-mill surfer dude to that manic enabler friend you always promised yourself you’d stop hanging out with. But you never will.
2. The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
PSH incarnation: Unwholesome American ex-pat
Ripley is an underrated movie. It has solid performances by Matt Damon, Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow, and features gorgeous camerawork directed by Anthony Minghella (I guarantee you will want to be wealthy in Italy in the 1950s, even after the brutal murder). But in a movie full of stars and pretty boats and Gwyneth Paltrow’s beautiful clothes, the thing you really remember is Philip Seymour Hoffman’s terrible laugh in character as hanger-on Freddie Miles. It’s a nasal, lilting guffaw that’s full of disdain and privilege. It sends chills down your spine. It makes you hate Freddie, hate the wealthy, hate American ex-pats in Italy in the 1950s. You will have nightmares about that laugh.
3. State and Main (2000)
PSH incarnation: Your nerdcrush
By far our favorite Hoffman film, because he’s handsome in it, and gets to be the straight man, and (spoiler alert) gets the girl in the end. “State and Main” is a ’30s-style screwball comedy about the intrusion of a Hollywood movie crew into a small New England town. It’s not all that well-known, which makes very little sense considering it’s a David Mamet film and chock-full of marvelous people like William H. Macy, Alec Baldwin, Sarah Jessica Parker, and that guy who always plays a Jewish lawyer. But Hoffman playing the put-upon playwright trying to break into the movie business is, as usual, the absolute best. If we were able to watch only one Hoffman performance in our lives, we’d choose this light romantic lead over any method-actor Oscar-winning performance every time.
4. Cold Mountain (2003)
PSH incarnation: Doomed sadsack
Cold Mountain (the book, and, to a lesser extent, the movie) gave a stark vision of the post-apocalyptic hellscape that was the American South at the tail end of the Civil War. There are a lot of parallels between “Cold Mountain” and something like “Mad Max” or even “The Walking Dead” – something destructive and life-changing has happened on a national scale, and people react to that in different ways. The world never seems more bleak than when Inman (Jude Law) runs across the Reverend Veasey (Hoffman), a disgraced minister about to kill his pregnant lover. In the book, Veasey is less his own character than another symbol of the Civil War South: disgraced, bleeding, trying anything to save face. Hoffman taps into that but also makes Veasey a full-fledged person- funny, intelligent, cruel, and probably a little nuts.
5. Along Came Polly (2004)
PSH incarnation: Sweaty bad-decision friend
Along Came Polly is a mediocre movie at best, one of those that shows up on USA on a Saturday, and you think “Sure I’ll watch it, I really don’t feel like cleaning the kitchen right now.” You’re always a little disappointed at the end, except for the part that you could watch Hoffman as the sweaty, sharting, overly-confident, community theater actor Sandy Lyle forever and ever. We miss you PSH. Here’s a clip video of Sandy Lyle falling down and whatnot that will make you feel better. Sort of.
[Thumbnail photo by PR Photos]