Big Lebowski Philip Seymour Hoffman

No Small Roles

Philip Seymour Hoffman’s 10 Best Supporting Roles

Catch Boogie Nights this month on IFC.

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It’s a testament to Philip Seymour Hoffman’s talents as an actor that you don’t automatically associate him with a few career defining starring roles, even though he had them in The Master and Capote. No matter how much screen time his characters had in a film, and whether he was playing a lonely everyman or a cocky rich kid, Hoffman always brought them to life in a way that was captivating. In honor of the late, great, actor, here are Philip Seymour Hoffman’s most memorable supporting roles. And be sure to catch him in Boogie Nights this month on IFC.

10. The Ides of March, Paul Zara

In this Ryan Gosling/George Clooney political thriller, it’s Hoffman who brings the necessary gravitas as the grizzled campaign veteran providing a lesson in loyalty. Watching a Philip Seymour Hoffman character tell a story is like hearing Itzhak Perlman playing the violin. Few actors could bring truth to a scene without ever having to raise their voice.


9. Punch Drunk Love, Dean Trumbell

20002’s Punch Drunk Love is mostly remembered as being the one film that was able to bring out a strong performance in a dramatic role from Adam Sandler. But the reveal of Philip Seymour Hoffman as the sleazy Dean Trumbell, who manages the phone sex line that was trying to extort money from Sandler’s lonely protagonist Barry Egan, was a treat for the audience. Hoffman’s blow-dried hairstyle helps create the look of a sleazebag and his character hilariously spars with Egan’s rage-filled lonely man with love on his side.


8. The Talented Mr. Ripley, Freddie Miles

In The Talented Mr. Ripley, Hoffman used his talents to portray a privileged playboy with a cocky attitude and a flamboyance that wouldn’t be out of place in The Great Gatsby. The scene in which he sees through Ripley’s charade is brilliantly played by Hoffman as he enjoys getting a rise out of the young interloper. A rare straight man role for Hoffman that demonstrated he could play both blue bloods and oddballs with equal flair.


7. Magnolia, Phil Parma

In a cast filled with veteran character actors and movie stars, Hoffman shows once again he is both, delivering a subtle but powerful performance as one of the film’s few truly goodhearted characters. Here he plays Phil Parma, a nurse providing care to the ailing Earl Patridge, played by the legendary Jason Robards in his final role. Phil’s story revolves around him doggedly trying to track down Earl’s son Frank T.J. Mackey (Tom Cruise) and fulfill his dying wish.


6. Hard Eight, Young Craps Player

Hard Eight was Paul Thomas Anderson’s directorial debut, and kicked off a long-running partnership with Hoffman. In this dark drama about the seedy side of the gambler’s life in Vegas, Hoffman plays a cocky young craps player with a mullet to match his attitude. He brings a Travolta-like flair to his brief back-and-forth with the stoic Philip Baker Hall. Watch the scene and witness a classic acting tennis match.


5. The Big Lebowski, Brandt

Great actors love to work with great directors and Philip Seymour Hoffman fit perfectly into the Coen Brothers’ hilariously quirky world. Hoffman’s uncomfortable facial expressions alone are hilarious in his brief scenes as Brandt, the titular Big Lebowski’s perpetually uptight assistant. His nervous laugh is a quirky finishing touch to the character.


4. Along Came Polly, Sandy Lyle

Along Came Polly is one of the rare underrated Ben Stiller romcoms of the 2000s, with some legitimate funny moments and great performances by Alec Baldwin, Hank Azaria and Philip Seymour Hoffman in small roles. Hoffman is hilarious as a washed-up former teen actor who had a brief bit of fame in a 1980s “Brat Pack”-type movie called Crocodile Tears. You might want to clear your throat before watching Hoffman as Sandy Lyle deliver one of the funniest speeches you’ll ever see in a comedy.


3. Charlie Wilson’s War, Gust Avrakotos

Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Gust Avrakotos is a cantankerous, rough-around-the-edges CIA operative who lives in the background of foreign affairs. He teams up with Tom Hank’s charming Texas schmoozer of a Congressman in a clandestine operation to provide Afghani rebels arms in their war against the Soviets. Hoffman was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and his brash, slovenly spy elevates every scene with Hanks’ Charlie Wilson. Hoffman relishes the little nuances of his character, like the way a cigarette dangles from his mouth as he holds a cup of coffee.


2. Almost Famous, Lester Bangs

What was so great about Philip Seymour Hoffman’s performance as rock journalist Lester Bangs? “In a word…everything.” Bangs wasn’t just talking to naïve young journalist William Miller when he reminds him that it’s okay to be uncool; he’s talking to anyone who has ever been a teenager. Hoffman’s Lester Bangs provides the gruff and comforting voice of reason to the wide-eyed William, helping him to realize that the rock-and-roll lifestyle isn’t all fame, fortune and groupies.


1. Boogie Nights, Scotty

It’s hard to stick out in a film overflowing with iconic performances, but Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Scotty lingers in your memory long after the disco ball has come down. Scotty, in his too-tight tank tops, doesn’t quite look right next to the attractive porn actors but he fits in perfectly with this group of misfits. In a movie where Mark Wahlberg wears a prosthetic dong, Scotty strikes a surprising chord of loneliness and unrequited love that anyone can relate to. Watching the film now is a reminder of great things to come for Philip Seymour Hoffman, and of how much his talents are missed by movie fans.

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Inauguration Alternative

Bill Murray On Repeat

It's a movie "Murray-thon" all-day Friday on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs courtesy of GIPHY

Democrats, Republicans and Millennials agree: 2017 is shaping up to be a spectacle — a spectacle that really kicks into high gear this Friday with the presidential inauguration. Not only will the new POTUS swear in, but all the Country’s highest offices will be filled. It’s a daunting prospect, and to feel a little anxious about it is only normal. But if your anxiety is snowballing into panic, we have a solution:
Bill Murray.

He’s the human embodiment of a mental “Happy Place”, and there’s really no problem he can’t solve. So, with that in mind, how about we all set aside reality for a moment and let Bill take the pain away by imagining a top-shelf White House cabinet filled exclusively by his signature characters. Here are a few hypothetical appointments for your consideration…

Secretary of Defense:
Bill Murray from Stripes

His incompetence is balanced by charm, and dumb luck is inexplicably on his side. America could do worse.

Secretary of State:
Bill Murray from Lost In Translation

A seasoned globetrotter steeped in regional traditions who has the respect of the whole wide world. And he kills Costello in karaoke, which is very important.

Press Secretary:
Bill Murray from Ghostbusters

“Cats and dogs, living together. Mass hysteria.” Dude knows how to brief a room.

Secretary of Health and Human Services:
Bill Murray from What About Bob.

A doctor-approved people person who knows that progress is measured in baby steps.

Secretary of Energy:
Bill Murray from Groundhog Day

Let’s be honest, this world is going to need a lot of do-overs.

Feeling better? Hold on to that bliss. And enjoy a healthy alternative to the inauguration brouhaha with multiple Murrays all Friday long in an IFC movie marathon including Kingpin, Zombieland, Ghostbusters, and Ghostbusters II.

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Home Run

Hank Azaria Gets Thrown A Curve Ball

Brockmire Premieres April 5 at 10P

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Unless you’ve somehow missed every episode of the Simpsons since 1989, then surely you know that Hank Azaria is one of the most important character actors of our time. He’s so prolific and his voice is so dynamic that he’s responsible for more iconic personalities than most folks realize. Basically, he’s the great and powerful Oz — except that when you pull back the curtain the truth is actually more impressive. And now Hank is coming to IFC to bring yet another character to the TV pop culture hive mind in the new series Brockmire. Check out the trailer below.

Based on the following Funny or Die short and co-starring Amanda Peet, Brockmire follows the story of imploded major league sportscaster Jim Brockmire as he tries to resurrect his career by calling plays for a floundering minor league team in a podunk town.

The series is written by Joel Church-Cooper (Undateable) and produced by Funny or Die’s Mike Farah and Joe Farrell, meaning that there’s funny in front of the camera, funny behind the camera–funny all around. Sounds like a ball to us.

Brockmire premieres April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Car Notes

Portlandia On People Who Can’t Park

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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If flagrant bad parking takes nerve, then retaliatory note writing takes neuroses. Watch Fred and Carrie take passive aggression to next level in Car Notes, the new Portlandia web series presented by Subaru. The first episode is yours right here and now, and you can see every installment of Car Notes anytime online, on the IFC app and on demand.

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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