A lot of stuff has been written about PSH over the past day, and I 'm not sure what I can add to it. But PSH and his death was a big deal for me for a few reasons.
First, many people who know me have said I look like him. Along with Paul Giamatti, he was an actor I could relate to - never a handsome leading man, but always interesting and often playing tortured, sad characters. Like his occasional costar Catherine Keener, he could be the best part of a so-so movie.
As well, Capote was filmed in my hometown. It was surreal to see a locally-made movie nominated for best picture and best actor, and we all freaked out a bit when he won.
But i have no personal connection with Hoffman. I have a purely selfish reason for mourning him. When John Candy died 20 years ago, I felt sad because I would never see him in anything new again. That's how I feel about Hoffman.
Like many people, I first noticed PSH in the movies of Paul Thomas Anderson. His role as the sad, closeted Scotty in Boogie Nights is still mesmerizing. But my favorite of his roles with PTA is Phil, the compassionate nurse in Magnolia.
My all time favorite role of PSH's, however, is a silly one: the unctuous Brandt in The Big Lebowski. Seeing the character now, you realize that it's an utter shame he never played Karl Rove. (Oh, and he wold have made a perfect Falstaff!)
But that's what's so great about him. He could invest a silly comedic role with as much passion as a serious one. Fuck addiction. We needed more movies.