It’s nearly old news at this point, but we lost a true talent this week with the passing of Philip Seymour Hoffman. We here at The Main Damie are big fans, so we’ve decided to dedicate this rather late Number 1’s post to our favorite Philip Seymour Hoffman roles.
Dan’s Pick – Sandy Lyle (Along Came Polly)
Philip Seymour Hoffman was an incredibly diverse actor. He was undoubtably at his best in dramatic roles such as the titular character Capote which won him an Oscar. But he also shined in comedic roles as well, and Along Came Polly might of been his best. Hoffman plays a former child star Sandy Lyle who is trying his damnedest to stay in the spotlight. He always means well in his actions, but often times winds up screwing over his close friend played by Ben Stiller.
In an otherwise mediocre comedy, Hoffman definitely is the bright spot with such scenes as when he and Stiller play basketball, or when he fills in for Stiller’s character in an important business meeting. I always feel that Hoffman had the most fun filming Along Came Polly over everyone else, and it definitely shows. When people look back on this mans wonderful, albeit, short career, they might not think of Along Came Polly as one of his masterpieces, but this character will always stick out in my mind as one of the most playful and fun-loving that he played.
Mark’s Pick – Dustin “Dusty” Davis (Twister)
There are two different categories that I like to list actors I really admire: Those that I would watch no matter how good their performance is and those that I know will be amazing no matter how good the movie is. The latter’s list was headed by Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and it wasn’t even close. As all of you probably know by now, we lost one of the greatest actors of our generation over the weekend and the death of a celebrity has never hit me harder.
Immediately, I began watching clips of his performances and was blown away because he was even better than I thought. But there was one performance that always stood out for me — probably because it was the first time I witnessed his talent — was his scene stealing turn as Dustin “Dusty” Davis in Twister. He was one of the members on Helen Hunt’s tornado chasing team, and the only one I really remembered without going on IMDB. It was a role that he could have very easily mailed-in (Helen Hunt did), but that wasn’t Hoffman. His ability to turn a mundane role into a memorable one is the reason why Twister is remembered more fondly than other movies of its ilk, such as, Dante’s Peak.
I could continue to explain why Hoffman was so good at what he did, but I’m sure the video above and my colleagues’ No. 1s will get the point across just fine. I only ask you to do one thing, watch as many of his films as possible because words can never completely express how good he was. Many will compare his death to that of Cory Monteith and Heath Ledger, but they couldn’t be more wrong. While those deaths were tragic because of their ages, Hoffman’s is a much bigger blow to the acting community; it is the equivalent of losing Robert De Niro after Goodfellas. I still don’t think I’ll completely process it until Mocking Jay Part 2 is released in 2015. Good bye, PSH, you will be missed.
Anthony’s Pick – Lester Bangs (Almost Famous)
I won’t take anything away PSH’s performance in Capote; it was an enigmatic performance and one worthy of Oscar gold. To me, though, what made him such a tremendous actor is what he could do in the smaller roles. In Along Came Polly, he stole the show with a comedic performance that steals an otherwise forgettable movie. In The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, he’s able to turn a character of few words into a commanding presence. In the case of his role in Almost Famous, he brings the absolute house down.
As Lester Bangs, the famous rock-and-roll journalist, he takes over the entire film in his short screen time, especially in his final scene. In his late night conversation with William Miller, he becomes the voice at the end of the tunnel; amid all the craziness of life on the road, Lester Bangs is their to guide William back home to reality. Cameron Crowe wrote about this scene on his website and I probably can’t say much more about this scene:
My original take on this scene was a loud, late night pronouncement from Lester Bangs. A call to arms. In Phil’s hands it became something different. A scene about quiet truths shared between two guys, both at the crossroads, both hurting, and both up too late. It became the soul of the movie.
In between takes, Hoffman spoke to no one. He listened only to his headset, only to the words of Lester himself. (His Walkman was filled with rare Lester interviews.) When the scene was over, I realized that Hoffman had pulled off a magic trick. He’d leapt over the words and the script, and gone hunting for the soul and compassion of the private Lester, the one only a few of us had ever met. Suddenly the portrait was complete. The crew and I will always be grateful for that front row seat to his genius.
I can’t remember the last time a celebrity death bummed me out as much as this one. He was a supreme talent and one that will be missed. No voting this week, but feel free to comment with your favorites.