Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his apartment today 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 favorite 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.