Philip Seymour Hoffman, a man once described as “the best of us” by fellow actor William H. Macy (see below), died a year ago today. If ever an actor warranted a full-oeuvre review, it is PSH. Celebrate his tremendous cinematic legacy with these five titles on Netflix right now.
“Punch Drunk Love”
Remember when Adam Sandler starred in one of the most touching movies you've ever seen? I know, your brain has since tried to erase that moment out of sheer incomprehensibility. With the exception of “Boogie Nights” (in which PSH is also incredible), “Punch Drunk Love” might be the most universally beloved Paul Thomas Anderson movie.
Lester Bangs remains the definitive rock critic of the '70s, and PSH's portrayal of the grizzled journo is just one facet of what makes “Almost Famous” enchanting. Frances McDormand, Kate Hudson, and even a wee Zooey Deschanel play fascinating characters in this bildungsroman of Cameron Crowe.
“The Master” might just infuriate you, but there's no other movie quite like it. Amy Adams, Joaquin Phoenix, and Philip Seymour Hoffman all earned Oscar nominations for this strange and evocative Scientology evisceration. Be on the lookout for Laura Dern, who gets one fabulously confrontational moment.
“A Late Quartet”
Finally: a movie about the gossipy inner-workings of a chamber orchestra. PSH, Catherine Keener, Christopher Walken, and Mark Ivanir play musicians whose lives transform once one of the members receives a rough medical diagnosis. I would describe this movie as both mannered and juicy. The signature “Downton Abbey” blend.
“Mary & Max”
With the possible exception of “Owning Mahowny,” “Mary & Max” might be the most underrated gem in the PSH catalog. Get ready for the synopsis: An ostracized 8-year-old girl in Australia becomes pen pals with an overweight New York man who has trouble forming close relationships. The kicker? This is a claymation movie voiced by PSH and, in the role of the 8-year-old Australian girl, Toni Collette. This movie never got a U.S. release, but it's too touching and interesting to pass up.