Essential Philip Seymour Hoffman performances
Scotty J. in 'Boogie Nights'
Philip Seymour Hoffman's role in "Boogie Nights" might be the most heartbroken performance in a whole collection of people who are heartbroken and lost. The truth is that Paul Thomas Anderson's film isn't about the porn industry, but about the damaged souls that are drawn to it and the way they struggle to make new families for themselves. Scotty isn't a performer, and in the hierarchy of the film, he's fairly low on the totem pole, but in one shattering moment, he takes center stage. Desperate to connect to Dirk Diggler, Scotty calls him outside during the countdown to New Year's Eve to show off his new car, and what results is both sad and awkward and just the slightest little bit funny. By the time Hoffman's sitting alone in that car, though, crying and castigating himself, he's become the physical embodiment of anyone who has ever made a rejected pass, overwhelmed by self-loathing.
- Drew McWeeny