Favorite Philip Seymour Hoffman Moments

By @DJansick
Favorite Philip Seymour Hoffman Moments

The film industry suffered a tragic loss Sunday morning when Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his Manhattan apartment. At the young age of 46, Hoffman certainly had more incredible performances in him to contribute to the 63 acting credits already under his belt. Not only was the Academy Award winning actor my personal favorite, Hoffman was also a favorite of the well-known director Paul Thomas Anderson, whom he worked with on a total of five films. The Way Too Indie staff compiled a list of our favorite Philip Seymour Hoffman moments as a tribute to the actor’s profound talent. He will be sorely missed as a great contributor to the film and theatre world.

“This Is That Scene Of A Movie” – Magnolia

In Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia, Philip Seymour Hoffman plays the part of a sympathetic caretaker who watches over a wealthy man who is on his deathbed. His character is undeniably easy to like, as he goes well-beyond his duties as a nurse by helping the dying man reconnect with his long-lost son before it is too late. After finding out that his son is a now a famous motivational speaker who teaches men how to seduce women, Hoffman’s character finds a number to reach him from the back of a porno magazine (another scene that made our list) and spends a great deal of time on the phone trying to convince a call center employee to connect him to the son. After pouring his heart out over the phone, describing the situation as “that scene of a movie” where someone is desperately asking for a miracle, Hoffman eventually succeeds—a victory that will make you want to stand up and applaud as a viewer. [Dustin]

“It’s Not Fair” – Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead

Hoffman was a master of knowing when to be subtle, and when to go big. In Sidney Lumet’s Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, he played a cold and calculated businessman whose life seems to constantly be on the cusp of total collapse. In this memorable scene from later on in the film, his façade finally cracks. I love this scene because it perfectly combines two of the emotions that Hoffman was so good at conveying: total vulnerability and rage. The way he turns it all back around at the end of it and composes himself instantaneously is pretty brilliant, too. [Colleen]

“Let it Rain” – Along Came Polly

I found myself laughing uncontrollably the first time I watched Philip Seymour Hoffman do his “rain dance” on the basketball court in Along Came Polly. He is “that guy,” the one who’s cocky attitude cause him to think his skills are much better than they are. Storming around the court, Hoffman screams “white chocolate” while attempting a layup and “rain drop” while shooting from the top of the key, never once does he actually make a shot. With such an exaggerated amount of confidence, seeing him fail is absolutely sidesplitting. [Dustin]

“Caden Sees Olive Die” – Synecdoche, New York

It’s not often that we come across something that is so utterly alienating that it seems impossible, and yet so encompassing of us all that we can’t help but relate. The character of Caden Cotard in Synecdoche, New York is one such phenomenon – one that no one but Philip Seymour Hoffman could have portrayed more honestly. While his entire performance in this film is heartbreaking, one of the most memorable moments has to be when he sees his daughter on her deathbed, and she forces him to admit to abandoning her for a homosexual relationship, though we know as well as Caden does that this was not true. Have we been in this situation? And yet who of us didn’t entirely suffer with him in these moments? For as much as the film is an odd, aggressively depressing fantasy, it is also a reality, full of each of our imaginations. Caden is in many ways a projection of our own existence; Hoffman instills his character with such a sympathetic affectation that no matter how pathetic his life becomes, we cannot tear our eyes away – as though we need to see how our own lives unfold in this synecdochic reality. [Pavi]

“Shut Up” – Punch Drunk Love

Mr. Hoffman did not spend a lot of time on screen in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Punch Drunk Love, but he made the most of his screen time in a scene playing a mattress storeowner who swindles people out of money. Screaming into the phone to Adam Sandler on the other line, Hoffman manages to get an impressive 11 “Shut”-ups in a very short amount of time. The scene is one of the most memorable moments of the entire film and a testament to Hoffman’s ability to always leave an impression. [Dustin]

“Charming the Deweys” – Capote

Philip Seymour Hoffman first rolled on to my radar in the role of Dusty, the storm-chasing comedic relief of the film Twister. Even in such a small and simple role he balanced goofy and sincere well enough to stand out. His ear to ear grin, infectious laugh, and commanding voice made even the silliest of scenes engaging; especially one in which he explains the “suck zone” of a tornado to an uptight city girl. But it was in the film Capote that Hoffman was really able to show off his knack for nuance. Playing the titular character, he portrayed the historical writer with absolute dedication and humanity, turning an opportunistic narcissist into an intriguing persona. It’s in this dinner scene that Hoffman shows his acting chops as he navigates Truman Capote’s ability to manipulate his way into the confidences of others in order to get at the story he wants. Hoffman plays Capote down to the details, imitating the man’s gratingly nasal voice and delicate mannerisms and he shines in this scene as he wins over the sheriff and his wife with his ability to story-tell. The entire film shows off Hoffman’s absolute mastery of his craft and his Oscar for the role was well-deserved. [Ananda]

“Pornographic Magazine order” – Magnolia

I think everyone in life has experienced the scenario of attempting to buy something that is perhaps a little embarrassing so to counteract it you get a couple of “normal” everyday items to make it seem less awkward. Philip Seymour Hoffman’s character in Magnolia goes through that very awkward situation while ordering pornographic magazines over the phone. And then he gets called out on it. Another example of his ability to appeal to everyman. [Dustin]

“Introducing Gust Avrakotos” – Charlie Wilson’s War

In one of the greatest character introductions in recent memory, CIA agent Gust Avrakatos is having an argument with his superior over not getting assigned to a position he’s spent years vying for. A lot of credit for this scene’s brilliance can go to Aaron Sorkin’s writing, but it’s Hoffman’s performance that makes the scene work like gangbusters. Hoffman is at his manic best here, shouting and chewing up every bit of scenery he can find. It’s a scene that reverberates throughout the film (which sadly never reaches that level of pure entertainment again), so it came as no surprise that Hoffman wound up with a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his work. Hoffman was masterful at playing quiet, subdued roles, but scenes like this one in Charlie Wilson’s War showed that he could easily go into gleeful overacting madness if he wanted to. [CJ]

“Epic Throat Clearing” – Along Came Polly

Equally as hilarious as the aforementioned basketball scene in Along Came Polly is the one where Hoffman spends about 30 seconds clearing his throat in an important board meeting. Because his character is merely filling in for Ben Stiller’s, he has no clue what he is supposed to talk about in this meeting. So being the aspiring actor that his character is, Hoffman decides to improvise and epically clear his throat in order to buy some time. The results are absolutely hysterical and show just how Hoffman was never afraid to take a joke as far as necessary to get maximum hilarity. [Dustin]

“Easy Eight Craps Roll” – Hard Eight

Running his mouth and sporting a wicked mullet, Hoffman appears in Hard Eight as a self-assured asshole at the craps table that the main character Sydney (Philip Baker Hall) approaches. Hoffman coaxes Sydney into putting down a bet chanting, “I don’t wait for old people,” and damn near daring him to participate. Sydney lets him ramble on for a bit before calmly throwing down a $2,000 bet on a hard eight, making everyone at the table, including Mr. Motormouth himself, temporarily speechless. Hoffman always had a particular handle on those small unlikeable roles. All part of his multi-dimensional talent. [Dustin]

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