Now Playing: Nutz 2nd LP
I wanted to believe it was one of those hoax deaths we've grown accustomed to in the increasingly strange era of internet virality and Western boredom, but of course it was true--he was dead, Philip Seymour Hoffman was dead. It's probably bad form to "compare" one's responses to death announcements, but this was a tough one to take, not only because I didn't see it coming at all--the guy was the same age as me--but because his presence in mainstream movie was so important.
Hoffman suggested that things were still OK somewhere out in cinema-land: despite Michael Bay movies making billions and mediocrities winning Oscars, truly great, meaningful acting in the classic sense could be enjoyed no further away than his next movie, and he made a lot of them. I've never seen him do a poor performance, in fact I've never seen him do anything but a completely memorable performance. In several cases, Hoffman's screen time contribute the only thing memorable about a movie. Even in his first role worth mentioning, as a repulsive little brat in "The Scent Of A Woman" you took notice of him, because he played the part so perfectly that it seemed to belong in another movie than a lazy Al Pacino vehicle.
At 46, with a career that had only lasted 20 years, there is no doubt that Hoffman had many great roles in front of him, perhaps his best ones. Those we will never get to see. This is bad, in fact it's fucking terrible.
To end on a brighter note, here are two movies you've probably not yet seen that are both quite good and very different; P T Anderson's rarely discussed "Hard Eight" has a memorable Hoffman bit part as a local gambler with a big mouth, while "Owning Mahowny" is one of his relatively few leading parts, a white collar criminal gambler (again!) wonderfully underplayed.
PS I checked Hoffman's bio to verify a couple of things and discovered to my amazement that we were born the same day. Not just the same date, but on exactly the same day back in the Summer Of Love. Not sure what to make of this calendaric overlap, but it seems like an honor.