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.