Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his apartment yesterday in New York City, a 46-year-old actor with a staggering range who could slip nearly undetected into the most difficult of roles.
Hoffman was Oscar-nominated for dark, complex films like The Master, Doubt, and Capote, but he was also a regular in cult-hit crowdpleasers: The Big Lebowski, Boogie Nights, Almost Famous. He popped up in blockbusters like Mission Impossible III and Hunger Games. One thread is consistent throughout his career: He just kept making really, really great movies.
Many people are remembering Hoffman's breakout performance in Boogie Nights today: A dopey loser with a puppy dog crush on Mark Wahlberg's Dirk Diggler. But I immediately thought of Punch-Drunk Love, one of the more overlooked and undersung Paul Thomas Anderson films. The "shut up scene," where a raging Adam Sandler calls to complain to Hoffman's character, is probably one of my favourite unquotable quotable scenes of all time (and one that I love re-creating in phone conversations, but people don't always get the reference).
Here, Hoffman is able to not only match Sandler's intensity, which is not an easy task in general, he manages to straight up steal the scene—in a movie that's all about Sandler's tantrums. Whether it's with a creepy, disconcerting accent or a nervous, fragile energy, Hoffman would subtly, slowly, surely win our attention. And, I would argue, our affection. You can stream Punch-Drunk Love on Netflix, as well as some other Philip Seymour Hoffman films.