The In Memoriam segment of the Oscars is always a tough part to watch as we say goodbye to those that have touched us in some way. This year’s piece was especially sad as one of my idols, Roger Ebert, was included. I wrote about him last year soon after he passed away. They also paid tribute to the hilarious Harold “Don’t cross the streams” Ramis and the extremely gifted Philip Seymour Hoffman. I wanted to spend a little time looking back at these two gentlemen and their fine work.
PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN (1967-2014)
If I remember correctly, my first encounter with Philip Seymour Hoffman was when he had a supporting role as Scotty J. in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights. There was something mesmerizing about watching him take this minor role and making it so memorable. Many of my favorite Hoffman performances have been in Paul Thomas Anderson films including Magnolia and The Master. In high school, my friend Jenny and I had many trips to the movies together. Two of my favorite movies I saw with her happen to be The Talented Mr. Ripley and Almost Famous where Hoffman, yet again, played minor characters that leave that ingrained impression in your head. I always associated Hoffman with John C. Reilly as they worked together quite a few times. They both appeared in the Broadway revival of Sam Shepard’s True West switching roles each night. I would have died to have seen that production. While Reilly’s career has veered into more mainstream comedies, I always admired Hoffman’s choices. He was a four time Oscar nominee for his work in Doubt, Charlie Wilson’s War, The Master, and Capote, for which he won the Best Actor award. Those four diverse roles are prime examples of the masterful work Hoffman was known for tackling. There was always an intensity and mysterious quality Hoffman brought to each of his characters. As an actor myself, he is someone that I never get sick of watching as there is always another layer to his work to discover and learn from.
There are so many characters and performances to showcase, but these were the first four that instantly came to my mind when I think about his work.
2012’s The Master– Lancaster Dodd
2005’s Capote– Truman Capote
1999’s Magnolia– Phil Pharma
1997’s Boogie Nights– Scotty J.
HAROLD RAMIS (1944-2014)
Many people may be surprised to hear that National Lampoon’s Animal House and Caddyshack are two of my favorite comedies. They are two of my go-to late night movies if I can’t fall asleep. As a matter of fact, Caddyshack was one of the inflight movies I chose on my flight home from Paris. The man who penned both of those films is Harold Ramis. Audiences probably know him best as an actor in Stripes and as Dr. Egon Spengler in Ghostbusters. Ramis was also found behind the camera directing Analyze This, National Lampoon’s Vacation, and Groundhog Day. He was a man of many talents, and while some of his newer comedies were not as great, these three will always be revisited in my house.
1984’s Ghostbusters– Actor: Dr. Egon Spengler
1980’s Caddyshack– Director/Writer
1978’s National Lampoon’s Animal House– Writer
It’s time for your input. I’d love to hear what Philip Seymour Hoffman performances have left their mark on you or what Harold Ramis films do you always find yourself laughing at every time you pop them in the DVD/Blu-Ray player.