Posted by: ckckred | February 9, 2014

What Is Your Favorite Philip Seymour Hoffman Role?


It’s been a week since Philip Seymour Hoffman’s tragic death.  In honor of the actor, easily one of the best of his generation, today’s question is what is you favorite performance by Hoffman?

Hoffman has so many fantastic performances under his belt.  I think his best work was with frequent collaborator Paul Thomas Anderson.  His performance as the boom man who loves protagonist/adult film star Dirk Diggler helped him break out of the movie world and is astounding (check this AV Club article for some great analysis).  He was also superb as the male nurse in Magnolia and the head of a phone sex line in Punch-Drunk Love.  Neither are big roles but Hoffman steals every scene he’s in both.

As for his best, for me it’s The Master, which I also think is one of the best performances I’ve seen in the past decade.  Hoffman plays Lancaster Dodd, the leader of a cult religion who takes estranged WWII veteran Freddy Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) under his wing.  Whatever you think about The Master as a whole (and I’ve stated my love for the movie multiple times before and will continuously defend it), there’s no denying the strength of Hoffman’s presence.

But what about yourself?



  1. It’s between three: Scotty J. in Boogie Njghts, Phil Parma in Magnolia and Brandt in The Big Lebowski.

    • All great performances. Hoffman brings all of the characters he plays to life.

  2. I love Brandt in The Big Lebowski. I loved Lester Bangs in Almost Famous too. Hard to pick a favourite.

    • Hoffman is great in The Big Lebowski, not a very big role but he’s really funny.

  3. I’ve said elsewhere that Hoffman was an actor I greatly respected yet never just loved his movies. “The Master” is a good example of that. I know you’re a fan (as are many) but I thought it was ok. Overall I wasn’t super impressed and I think its problems lie with PTA. But regardless of my thoughts on the film Hoffman was superb. You can’t take your eyes off of him. He brings it in every scene he has.

    I would also mention “Doubt”. He has a tricky role there but man he pulls it off brilliantly.

    • I was really impressed by Hoffman’s performance in The Master and was hoping he would win another Oscar. Such great acting.

  4. There are so many great ones to pick from. I’m not sure which is my favorite, but probably The Master. He was very good in Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, as well, the film’s flaws notwithstanding.

    • The Master would be my favorite performance by him as well. It’s hard to pick since he’s had so many great roles.

  5. As a supporting character it would be Boogie Nights, but as a leading man Synecdoche, New York.

    • I’d go along with that. Amazing in Synedoche, New York.

      • I’m a big fan of Charlie Kaufman but I have unfortunately not seen it. Looks like I’ll have to check it out.

    • Great picks. Hoffman’s role in Boogie Nights is excellent. I have not seen Synecdoche though I’m a big Charlie Kaufman fan.

  6. Haven’t seen loads of his films but His Villain in Mission Impossible 3 was pretty great 😀

    • His villain was great and shows the diversity in his filmography.

  7. Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead. Great great film.

    • I haven’t seen BTDKYD, though I love Lumet’s work. Hoffman really had a diverse filmography.

  8. Lots of choices with such a prolific actor. I’ll have to go with the first role I ever saw him in, which was his turn as Dusy in Twister. Not the most memorable flick at all, but man he was a blast to watch.

    • I don’t think I remember anything in Twister but Hoffman. It shows he can be the shining light in even forgettable movies.

  9. I haven’t seen a single bad performance from him, but as far as his best, I probably gotta agree with you and go with The Master. Such a phenomenal, dare I say masterful performance. 😉

    • It is an incredible performance. I don’t think anyone else could have played the role as well.

  10. Hard to say as I haven’t seen too many of his work but in my tribute I highlighted some of his supporting roles which I think are as fantastic as his leading ones. A Late Quartet and Hunger Games come to mind, oh and also Pirate Radio which I just saw this weekend.

    • I wasn’t a fan of Catching Fire but Hoffman was great in that. Really goes to show he could do well in any kind of movie.

  11. He is great in so many things. I quite like him in Twister. It is such a lighthearted and joy-filled performance. As for his more serious roles, I think Doubt is his best, just in front of Charlie Wilson’s War.

    • He certainly was the best part of Twister (at least from what I remember from it). Hoffman could really do all genres and he was great in Charlie Wilson’s War.

  12. It’s so hard to pick just one, but I loved Hoffman’s work in The Master. His collaborations with PTA in general were all so good. I’ll also throw a bone to Owning Mahowny, an underrated film that more people need to see.

    • Hoffman’s done so much great work with PTA and I think The Master is his best work with Anderson (though I love his shut up scene in Punch-Drunk Love).

  13. Magnolia. There is something about his performance as Phil Parma in Magnolia that stands out than the others. Phil is a kind, compassionate and normal man and Hoffman’s heart-breaking yet subtle work is remarkable. We see the character’s feelings through his mannerisms and eyes.

    • Really incredible performance for sure, certainly among Hoffman’s best.

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