Tag Archives: Philip Seymour Hoffman

The Set of 400: #84 – My Favorite Oklahoma Sing-a-Long

Today! Because Billy is the Extreme –

Twister (1996)

Directed by Jan de Bont

Starring Bill Paxton (x5), Helen Hunt (x2), Philip Seymour Hoffman (x7), Cary Elwes (x6), Alan Ruck, Lois Smith, Jami Gertz, Sean Whalen, Joey Slotnick (x2), Scott Thomson, Todd Field, Zach Grenier (x4), Jeremy Davies, Wendle Josepher, Anthony Rapp (x2)

Oh what, are you too good to admit how much you enjoy the rip-roaring popcorn spectacle that is Twister? Not this guy! I know this movie is chock full of utter ridiculousness, from the hyper campy dialogue – “The finger of God”, “The cone is silent”, “The suck zone” – to the flying cows to the most peculiarly reinforced house in human history, that is able to roll into the roadway for their truck to drive straight through. I know! There’s tons of goofy nonsense in this movie! But here is a list of reasons why this movie works:

“I think that was the same one”

1) The flying cows – It was a great gag in the trailer and it’s a great gag in the movie. It is indicative of the overall tone – despite it being a full-on disaster movie, with many lives at peril and some deaths, it knows how silly it is, and embraces it. Continue reading

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The Set of 400: #91 – My Favorite Saddam Hussein Dream Sequence

Today! Because that rug really tied the room together –

The Big Lebowski (1998)

Directed by Joel Coen, Ethan Coen (x5)

Starring Jeff Bridges (x2), John Goodman (x6), Steve Buscemi (x3), Julianne Moore (x3), David Huddleston, Philip Seymour Hoffman (x6), John Turturro (x4), Sam Elliott (x2), Jon Polito, Peter Stormare (x2), Tara Reid (x2), Flea (x3), Jack Kehler (x2), Dom Irrera, David Thewlis, Ben Gazzara, Aimee Mann, Mark Pellegrino, Philip Moon

As mentioned earlier, the Coen brothers aren’t exactly flush with box office hits over their career. But coming on the heels of Fargo finally getting them Oscar attention, you’d have though their next film would fare a little better than, say, Species II or Simon Birch or Gus Van Sant’s Psycho remake or John Carpenter’s Vampires, but no. The Big Lebowski was virtually ignored on its initial release, landing in 96th on the 1998 box office chart, and garnering no significant year-end awards. Reviews were good by and large, even if it’s hard to go by Rotten Tomatoes today, with so much revision that is done to films predating the website. But I remember it being generally liked, but far from loved.

Even with the Jesus

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The Set of 400: #186 – My Favorite Heavily Mirrored Berth

Today! Because I always thought it would be better to be a fake somebody than a real nobody –

The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

Directed by Anthony Minghella

Starring Matt Damon (x4), Gwyneth Paltrow (x3), Jude Law (x2), Cate Blanchett (x3), Philip Seymour Hoffman (x5), James Rebhorn (x2), Philip Baker Hall (x4), Jack Davenport, Sergio Rubini, Celia Weston

Ah, 1999! My fourth and fifth semesters of college really landed a lot of movies on this list – here we are at eleven already! – and I’m also surprised to find 1998 with only six, and none so far. Those are six pretty high ranking films! As I’ve mentioned, I consider the corridor of 1997-1999 as one of the best in film history (this is also possibly due to my finally being able to drive in this time period), and so films from this era keep cropping up.

A wonderfully atmospheric, psychological thriller, The Talented Mr. Ripley takes Patricia Highsmith’s solid murder yarn and elevates it to great cinema through a bevy of sterling performances and Minghella’s solid writing and directing – his best of the ’90s (Yeah, you heard me, English Patient!). Matt Damon was coming off Good Will Hunting, Gwyneth had just won an Oscar for Shakespeare in Love, and Cate Blanchett had just been robbed of that same Oscar for Elizabeth. This film also launched Jude Law – even if his career got way uneven for a long time afterward – snagging the film its only acting Oscar nomination as the object of everyone’s desire, Dickie Greenleaf.

I mean, obviously, right?

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The Set of 400: #217 – My Favorite Adult Braces

Today! Because it’s not going to stop/’Til you wise up –

Magnolia (1999)

Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (x4)

Starring Tom Cruise (x3), Philip Seymour Hoffman (x4), Julianne Moore, John C. Reilly (x4), William H. Macy, Jason Robards (x2), Melora Walters, Ricky Jay, Alfred Molina (x3), Felicity Huffman, Melinda Dillon (x2), Luis Guzman (x3), Philip Baker Hall (x3), Thomas Jane (x2), Michael Murphy (x3), Henry Gibson (x3), Neil Flynn (x2), Patton Oswalt, Jim Meskimen (x2), Jeremy Blackman, Michael Bowen, Cleo King, Clark Gregg (x3)

Like many people, my initial reaction to Magnolia was that I had a problem with the ending. For everything else going on in this movie – and there is a ton going on here – the natural takeaway, as it is the climax of the movie, is “What the hell is all this with the frogs now?” But, come on, how else was it going to end? Isn’t it obvious that the solution to all the crazy pent up drama is for the sky to open up and drench the city in biblically apocalyptic frogs? No?

I mean, this kid seemed to dig it

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The Set of 400: #255 – My Favorite Flaming Wheelchair

Today! Because I am not a man. I began as one, but now I am becoming more than a man –

Red Dragon (2002)

Directed by Brett Ratner

Starring Edward Norton, Ralph Fiennes, Emily Watson (x2), Anthony Hopkins (x3), Harvey Keitel, Mary-Louise Parker, Philip Seymour Hoffman (x3), Anthony Heald, Frankie Faison, Ken Leung, Bill Duke (x2), William Lucking (x3), Frank Whaley (x2), Mary Beth Hurt, Ellen Burstyn

First of all, let me just say SHUT UP. I know the later Hannibal Lecter movies are not exactly beloved by audiences at large. This especially seems to apply to Red Dragon, mainly because of Manhunter, I guess? And okay, I get that – it came out first by quite a bit, and is a solid movie, so if you saw it first and were bitter Brian Cox didn’t get cast in Silence in the Lambs or something, okay. You hang on to that bitterness.

But no one can convince me that Manhunter is actually a better movie. It didn’t have the built in obstacle of needing to overcome a director like Brett Ratner at the helm, I’ll give you that – Michael Mann is by-far the superior filmmaker – but I feel that Red Dragon improves upon the original with every single actor in the film. Again, this isn’t necessarily to slight Manhunter – it’s a fine movie – but this seems to be the main argument against this movie, and I think it is ludicrous beyond words. The only aspect that I might say the original handled better is Lecter himself – because that movie didn’t treat him like he was somehow the star. The Red Dragon story has very little to do with Lecter, and when the original was released – five years before Silence – no one would’ve been clamoring for it be about him. This movie, of course, was concocted as a way to keep making Anthony Hopkins/Hannibal films, giving it that lingering cash-grab feel that people couldn’t shake.

On the other hand, Manhunter did go with this choice

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The Set of 400: #300 – My Favorite Healthy Choice Pudding Promotion

Today! Because I don’t know if there is anything wrong because I don’t know how other people are –

Punch-Drunk Love (2002)

Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (x3)

Starring Adam Sandler (x2), Emily Watson, Philip Seymour Hoffman (x2), Luis Guzman (x2), Robert Smigel, Mary Lynn Rajskub (x2)

Paul Thomas Anderson’s smallest movie also easily qualified as his weirdest, until Inherent Vice came on the scene twelve years later. But this one is still pretty odd – Sandler (at his unhinged drama-comic best) plays a thoroughly damaged novelty item warehouse manager who simultaneously begins a relationship with a solidly damaged British women, while also contending with that most typical of film villains – scurrilous phone sex operators. He’s also got half a dozen sisters and periodically flies into violent rages, often at the expense of innocuous public restrooms or sliding glass doors.

The film features a weirdly wonderful use of color throughout

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The Set of 400: #315 – My Favorite Department Store Photographer

Today! Because if you leave me now, in the next life you will be my sworn enemy –

The Master (2012)

Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson

Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, Laura Dern, Rami Malek, Jesse Plemons, Kevin J. O’Connor (x2), Ambyr Childers, Christopher Evan Welch, Jillian Bell, W. Earl Brown, Kevin J. Walsh

One of the decidedly less accessible but undeniably brilliant Paul Thomas Anderson films of recent years, The Master is his rage-acted takedown of Scientology-esque “religious” cults of personality. Typical of PTA’s movies, the acting here is first rate – Hoffman’s work as the L. Ron Hubbard of The Cause, Lancaster Dodd, is riveting madness, topped only by Phoenix’s hyper-intense take on the shattered war vet Freddie Quell. Less bombastic but still gripping is Adams as the power-behind-the-throne wife of the cult leader. All three would rightfully get Oscar nominations, but all would lose in the absolutely stacked year of 2012. Okay, I could see Hoffman topping Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained, his always struck me as an odd win, but what, was Phoenix’s volcanic work really going to win out against Daniel Day-Lewis as Abe Lincoln? Or was Adams realistically going to beat Anne Hathaway for singing “I Dreamed a Dream” in Les Mis? 2012, man – it’s one of the greats.

Suffering is a strangely overrated emotion when it comes to Oscar wins, though

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