Thursday, August 18, 2011

Bottom Fives: Phillip Seymour Hoffman Movies

As I had so much fun with last weeks list I thought I'd go again. This time Pig Vomit's partner in talented yet ugly acting circles, Mr Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

Everyone who cares about great acting loves PSH, his Oscar acceptance speech is one of my favourites and really says a lot about the quality of the man in addition to his acting. But even great men turn up in cinematic atrocities from time to time.

Or so I thought. This was really quite a difficult bottom five. Much more so than last weeks Paul Giamatti post.

1. Patch Adams

I shall bow to the superior wording of Roger Ebert on this one: "This movie is shameless. It's not merely a tearjerker. It extracts tears individually by liposuction, without anesthesia." On top of the obvious attempts to tug at the housewives heartstrings, I was really quite bored when I saw this one.

2. Along Came Polly used the line "for everyone who's been waiting for a love story between an anal retentive and a flake," which is perfect but aside from the terrible humour of yet another Aniston movie the acting from Stiller, Aniston (obviously) and sadly Hoffman is mediocre at best. Perhaps Hoffman's worst performance.

3. Flawless

A Joel Schumacher film. Pretty much tells you everything you need to know on this film. Even De Niro's most hardcore fans couldn't possibly defend the movie. You can see why Hoffman would have jumped at the role of a drag queen, it's one of those that real actors love but it's a shame he was swimming against a tide of awful.

4. Twister

I'm starting to clutch at straws here, I quite enjoyed this movie and so did a lot of reviewers. It's nothing special, it's not amazing AND most importantly it stars the indefensible over actor Bill Paxton BUT it's not on a par with Big Momma's House in terms of terribleness.

5. Red Dragon

This one really is an OK film, it's not great but it's OK. As a more faithful adaptation than the better Manhunter it's nice enough and Hoffman is good enough in it but really who would watch this more than once?

Clearly Hoffman has a near immaculate decision making process, only making the wrong choices rarely and in the case of Flawless he wasn't the star he is now. Agree? Disagree? Leave some blah below.


  1. This must have been kind of rough. Even rougher would be a top five for PSH. Until I went through your list, I was struggling to come up with something I didn't like him in (I was thinking along the lines of Pirate Radio, Doubt, Boogie Nights, Capote). But, I hate Twister with a fiery passion, and had forgotten he was in it.

  2. alan - if those 4 are him at his worst for you his best must be pretty impressive indeed. i really enjoyed pirate radio/the boat that rocked despite it not being as funny as i'd anticipated. i probably wouldn;t watch it again however. but doubt, boogie nights and capote are tremendous films.

    what makes you hate twister?

  3. It is very starnge how these very talented actors can be so shockingly bad in films. Although was very obnoxious in Along Came Polly I think that was the point. SO he hit the nail on the head.

    Great list matey, are you doing this as a weekly feature?

  4. custard as you will always be known. even in real life. when you move to perth. - i am quite enjoying these lists, bottom fives is a tad unique and generally goes against my ideal of trying not to write a negative review, hence the fun! i think i may just see how it goes and write what appeals to me for a thursday list. if it's bad movies then so be it. oh wait. isnt thursday your list day? perhaps wednesday could be my list day?

  5. Do Thursday matey, I don't own that day AT ALL!!

  6. I would have to add Happiness. I know it's supposed to be good, but I have never been able to watch more than 30 minutes.

    If nothing else, though, Along Came Polly DID make the bold choice to cast PSH as someone who likes to play sports. I think it stands alone in that area.

  7. hey brian - i personally love todd solondz movies so i can't agree with you on happiness although i know why you would feel that way.

    do you not find having a fat man playing sports to be an easy joke?

  8. I think you've got the worst covered. I wasn't a big fan of Next Stop Wonderland or The Getaway remake, but I think the ones you listed are worse. I also think Scent of a Woman is overrated, but again, it's likely just above this list.

  9. dan - was he only barely in those three movies or were they big roles? i dont remember much of the getaway remake or even scent of a woman (like you i cant think why it's highly thought of) but i know nothing of next stop wonderland.

  10. Those four I listed were movies I LOVED him in, sorry... although admittedly he was creepy in Boogie Nights. Sorry, poorly worded sentence construct there.

  11. I really like Phillip Seymour Hoffman, but mostly just the stuff he did with Paul Thomas Anderson. He was in four Anderson movies and he was perfect in all of them. The image of him sitting in his car crying and berating himself in Boogie Nights is one of his finest moments, simultaneously hilarious and saddening.

  12. Alan - he was creepy in boogie nights, but in a sad way, a film solely about that character would be a tragedy and total oscar bait for sure, he was such a complex character played in a subtle way (mostly)

    Tyler - you hit the nail on the head, anderson writes roles that bring out the best in hoffman and I'm trying to come up with a top 5 for next week, that people might not have seen, trying to get past his PTA roles will be difficult.

  13. Another thing about Patch Adams was that it was a big disservice to the real-life doctor upon which the movie is based by portraying him as an incompetent doctor who believes in jerking off as a form of emotional interaction and healing, gets high grades for utterly no reason, runs his own hospital without a license and even steals from other hospitals. Also, all of that was what caused his girlfriend (who actually a dear male friend of Patch's) to get killed by a mentally deranged patient. Also, I know the hate surrounding Joel Schumacher. It was because he became director of the Batman movies in the mid 1990s by replacing Tim Burton as director. While they are pretty poor (especially in comparison to Tim Burton's and Christopher Nolan's Batman movies), Joel has done some movies that were well-received, such as The Lost Boys and Falling Down.