Philip Seymour Hoffman: Peanut Butter & Porn
This one hits hard. He’s only a year older than me. Today we lost an iconic actor. Some are calling him an actor’s actor, but he was everybody’s actor. Philip Seymour Hoffman was someone we all wanted to grow old with. I was looking forward to see him take on older roles; both face middle age together, reach retirement and maybe hit the links or have a beer.
Philip Seymour Hoffman was so gifted; I could imagine him as an old friend from high school, someone who I could call to help move furniture or just BS with. It’s easy to dismiss his down-to-earth appeal to his non-threatening demeanor or plain physical appearance. But he conveyed a warm sympathy that never overreached or patronized the viewer.
There are many roles he played that will live in our memories. One stands out for me; the kaleidoscope, urban legend, biblical ensemble “Magnolia.” Hoffman played Phil Parma, a nurse caring for the dying Earl Partridge (Jason Robards in his final role). In Partridge’s final hours, he asks Parma to find his estranged son, the narcissistic Frank Mackey (Tom Cruise) for one last meeting. Hoffman delivered a painfully, generous portrait encircled by self-centered sharks in an atmosphere of death and a barrage of barking dogs. Who can forget his innocent, almost juvenile phone call ordering peanut butter and porn magazines?
Hoffman said “I think Magnolia is one of the best films I’ve ever seen and I can say that straight and out and anybody that disagrees with me I’ll fight you to the death. I just think it is one of the greatest films I’ve ever been in and ever seen.”
There wasn’t a part he wasn’t afraid to take on. Whether it was a small supporting role or an over-the-top villain, Hoffman delivered a three-dimensional range that most others in his field would not dare to tackle. We lost his brilliant gift today, an actor who wasn’t a movie star but someone we all wanted to watch on film. Rest in Peace Philip Seymour Hoffman.