Monday, February 3, 2014

Goodbye Phil

Sometimes going to a movie can make you feel like a big boob who is lining the pockets of those rich Hollywood producers, all laying out by their swimming pools, smoking cigars and making deals, palm trees swaying in the breeze, while you are shivering in zero-degree weather in some crummy, under-heated theater eating stale popcorn and wasting your life. This feeling is fairly common, especially when the dumb plot and even dumber script are accompanied by lousy performances and a too-loud score of bad music. I hate those times.

Then there are the times when going to a movie feels like a worthy endeavor. An education, even: you're smarter afterwards, having learned something new. Even better, you're more in touch with the world around you, and yourself. Great acting has unlocked a new emotion you've never fully explored. You leave the theater in awe, eager to mull it over. Chances are that movie starred Philip Seymour Hoffman, a brilliant actor who had the uncanny ability to "be" every person.

The fact that Hoffman died yesterday -- discovered by a friend in his rented Greenwich Village office with a needle in his arm and a bag of heroin nearby -- is sickening, sad and shocking. I am stymied by how someone of his caliber could have sunk so low, with so much going for him and with three young children and a beautiful partner sharing his life. The movies are forever dimmer.

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