Philip Seymour Hoffman gets my vote as one of the five greatest living movie actors. He recalls those golden days during the late 1960s and 1970s when actors like Gene Hackman and Dustin Hoffman were cast because of their personality and skill, rather than looks. He can do anything. He could play a romantic lead, he's a comedian, he can play passive and sad, as well as aggressive and dangerous. He could be a silent clown, or Philip Marlowe, or Othello. So I was excited to take on a "Their Best Role" for him. But it wasn't long before I was faced with his impressive filmography -- which looks a bit like someone's list of the best films of the decade -- and daunted by the prospect of choosing just one movie, one role. I decided to start in 1997, when Hoffman gave his breakthrough performance in Boogie Nights, and then proceed in a process of elimination.
First, I crossed off the flat-out horrible movies, like Patch Adams (1998) and Red Dragon (2002), though there weren't many. After that went the so-so movies that Hoffman managed to rise above, and stand out in, like Cold Mountain (2003), Along Came Polly (2004), Mission: Impossible III (2006), Charlie Wilson's War (2007) and Pirate Radio (2009). Next up, I took out the movies in which Hoffman's role wasn't necessarily one of the biggest or showiest, and wouldn't be called his "best role," even if the movies were good: Boogie Nights (1997), Next Stop Wonderland (1998), The Big Lebowski (1998) and The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999).