Top 10 Philip Seymour Hoffman Movies

Today would have been Philip Seymour Hoffman’s birthday. To honor one of the greats, I’ve been counting down his best films. I counted 31 solid movies, but managed to cut it down to the following list.

Top 10 Philip Seymour Hoffman Movies

  1. Boogie Nights (1997) – While Scotty isn’t a major character, it’s still the best P.T. Anderson film.
  2. The Big Lebowski (1998) – Brandt the personal assistant is oddly unforgettable in the Coen’s best film.
  3. 25th Hour (2002) – Supports superbly in a Spike Lee masterpiece.
  4. Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (2007) – Made Sidney Lumet’s final film a gem.
  5. Almost Famous (2000) – Brought Lester Bangs back to life in Cameron Crowe’s best film.
  6. Moneyball (2011) – Reluctantly coaches as Art Howe in one of the best modern sports movies.
  7. Magnolia (1999) – P.T. Anderson’s epic drama is full of so many quotes and classic performances.
  8. The Savages (2007) – Plays brother to Laura Linney in a wonderful indie comedy.
  9. Doubt (2008) – No doubt about it. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Meryl Streep, and Amy Adams putting on an acting clinic.
  10. Capote (2005) – Won his only Oscar. He richly deserved many more.

Honorable Mentions (In No Particular Order)

  • A Late Quartet (2012) – Everyone can admire the acting talent, but classical fans are in for a real treat.
  • The Master (2012) – A trifecta of acting behemoths in a weird movie. Acting is simply too good to ignore.
  • The Ides of March (2011) – Underrated political drama, impressive cast, Oscar nominated writing.
  • Hard Eight (1996) – Hoff steals a scene from Philip Baker Hall in P.T. Anderson’s first movie.
  • Twister (1996) – While Helen Hunt/Bill Paxton romance each other, Hoff lovably nerds his way into your heart.
  • Punch-Drunk Love (2002) – Sandler is intense, but rage filled tantrums are no match for Philip Seymour Hoffman.
  • Red Dragon (2002) – Plays such a convincing creepster perv, you almost rooted FOR the dragon.
  • Charlie Wilson’s War (2007) – Plays a CIA chief with GUSTo. Also huge glasses and a stash.

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Would you hang out with the characters of Rent?

During the popular 90s musical Rent, all the characters are celebrating in a pub when they begin to sing a song about the various things they love. It got me thinking…Would you want to hang out with these people?

How much do you have in common with these artists and their revered Bohemian lifestyle?

80 things mentioned in the songs “La Vie Boheme”:

  1. Days of inspiration
  2. Skipping school or work

    Ferris bueller skipped school and had a blast.

  3. Crafting
  4. Expression and communication
  5. Going against the grain
  6. Going insane or mad
  7. Tension
  8. No pension
  9. More than one dimension
  10. Starving for attention
  11. Hating convention
  12. Hating pretension
  13. Hating your parents
  14. Riding a bike (during the day)
  15. Fruit
  16. Choice
  17. The Village Voice newspaper
  18. Passing fads

    Tamagotchi digital pets, the ultimate fad of the 90s.

  19. Living for you, instead of for others
  20. Hand-crafted beers made in local breweries
  21. Yoga
  22. Yogurt
  23. Rice and beans and cheese
  24. Leather
  25. Dildos
  26. Curry vindaloo (an Indian dish)
  27. Huevos Rancheros (a Mexican breakfast dish)
  28. Maya Angelou (recently deceased poet from my hometown, St. Louis, Missouri)
  29. Emotion
  30. Devotion
  31. Causing a commotion
  32. Creation
  33. Vacation
  34. Masturbation
  35. Compassion
  36. Fashion
  37. Passion
  38. Susan Sontag (American writer)
  39. Stephen Sondheim (American composer)

    Sondheim’s Into the Woods lost the Tony to Phantom of the Opera.

  40. Anything taboo
  41. Allen Ginsberg (American poet)
  42. Bob Dylan (American songwriter)
  43. Merce Cunnigham (American choreographer)
  44. John Cage (American composer)
  45. Lenny Bruce (American comedian)
  46. Langston Hughes (American poet)
  47. Performing on stage
  48. Uta Hagen (German-American actress and drama teacher)
  49. Guatama Buddha (Primary figure of Buddhism)
  50. Pablo Neruda (Chilean poet)
  51. Why Dorothy and Toto went over the rainbow to blow off Auntie Em.
  52. Bisexuals and trisexuals
  53. Carcinogens and hallucinogens
  54. Paul Reubens (American actor also known as Pee-wee Herman)
  55. German wine (Probably white and a Riesling)
  56. Turpentine

    Harvesting turpentine from pine resin.

  57. Gertrude Stein (American poet)
  58. Michelangelo Antonioni (Italian film director)
  59. Bernardo Bertolucci (Italian film director)
  60. Akira Kurosawa (Japanese film director)
  61. Carmina Burana (Cantata composed by Carl Orff)
  62. Apathy
  63. Entropy
  64. Empathy
  65. Ecstasy
  66. Vaclav Havel (Czech playwright)
  67. Sex Pistols (English punk rock band)
  68. 8BC (New York nightclub that shut down in the 80s)
  69. No shame
  70. Never playing the fame game
  71. Marijuana
  72. Sodomy
  73. Sadomasochism
  74. Careers in dancing

    The Beast was a pretty good dancer considering those paws.

  75. Filmmaking
  76. Musicians
  77. Anarchy
  78. Faggots, lezzies, dykes, cross dressers (Jonathan Larson’s words, not mine. Save your emails.)
  79. People living with and not dying from disease
  80. Anyone out of the mainstream

Movie Munce’s Score:
I agreed with 62/80 of these, or 77.5%. Enough to hang out with them at major holidays and events, but I wouldn’t devote all my free time to these apathetic anarchists.

What’s your #RentScore? Post it on Twitter @moviemunce.

All Coen Films Ranked

American filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen have given us a lot over the years, so all June I’ve been counting down every Coen Brothers film. Films directed by others like Bad Santa, Crimewave, Paris, je t’aime, etc. are ineligible for my countdown.

All Coen Films Ranked

  1. The Big Lebowski (1998) – So quotable, so loved, so iconic. Can be swapped with Fargo or No Country based on preferences.
  2. Fargo (1996) – One of the best movies of the 90s magically balances comedy, story, and film noir; a modern classic.
  3. No Country for Old Men (2007) – I’ll never forgive them for ending, but previous 120 minutes are unrivaled suspense.
  4. O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) – When Coen comedy works you get an excellent soundtrack and digitally altered colors.
  5. Blood Simple (1984) – It’s the Coens’ first film and their trademark suspense/violence is already on display.
  6. The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001) – There’s dark comedy, and then there’s black-and-white dark comedy with James Gandolfini.
  7. Miller’s Crossing (1990) – For the longest time I actually thought the Coens were Irish (they’re Jewish) thanks to Finney/Byrne/this film.
  8. Raising Arizona (1987) – Rejected at the time, but has achieved cult status since; Probably the funniest Coen film.
  9. The Hudsucker Proxy (1994) – Great cast in a fun comedy I enjoyed more than most. I miss you Paul Newman.
  10. Barton Fink (1991) – Writers go crazy for Fink. Most filmgoers remain unaware and are fine with that.
  11. Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) – A talented musical cast creates a solid film, sadly, about a subject matter I care nothing about.
  12. True Grit (2010) – Jeff Bridges/Hailee Steinfeld are good, just not as good as the 1969 John Wayne/Kim Darby original.
  13. Burn After Reading (2008) – Unsuccessfully tries to merge comedy with random unnecessary violence.
  14. A Serious Man (2009) – A seriously boring film full of religion and failing relationships, if that’s your thing.
  15. Intolerable Cruelty (2003) – Lack of chemistry and joy began a rocky two year period for the Coens.
  16. The Ladykillers (2004) – Audiences rejected Tom Hanks, the worst Coen film; see the Alec Guinness 1955 original.

Follow me on Twitter @moviemunce for daily #FilmReview and movie talk.

Top 10 Mothers in Film

Here’s my full list of #TopMovieMom for those that missed the tweets this month.

Top 10 Mothers in Film

  1. Back to the Future (1985): Lorraine Baines: Lea Thompson’s awkward Jocasta complex for the wrong McFly is HEAVY.
  2. Harry Potter (2001-2011): Molly Weasley: Not-so-GINGERly protects her brood from all sorts of magical maladies. #YouBitch
  3. T2 (1991): Sarah Connor: Linda Hamilton breaks free & protects her son, our future savior, despite his laughable haircut.
  4. Home Alone (1990): Kate McCallister: Catherine O’Hara misplaces more than her keys, but rectifies it by Christmas.
  5. Forrest Gump (1994): Mrs. Gump: Sally Field bends over backward to get young Forrest an education. Also chocolates.
  6. The Incredibles (2004): Helen Parr: Holly Hunter is stretched to incredible limits keeping her family together.
  7. The Sound of Music (1965): Maria: Julie Andrews overcomes hostility, evades Nazis, and sings her way into our hearts.
  8. Erin Brockovich (2000): How’d Julia Roberts go from unemployed single mom to Oscar winning legal clerk? They’re called boobs.
  9. The Blind Side (2009): Leigh Anne Tuohy: Sandra Bullock won Oscar, while helping a homeless boy and your fantasy team.
  10. Cinderella (1950): Lady Tremaine: Selfishly spoils her own daughters, while wickedly enslaving any step children.

Honorable Mentions (In No Particular Order)

  • Chocolat (2000): Vianne Rocher: Juliette Binoche scandalously opens a shop with her daughter in rural France.
  • Rosemary’s Baby (1968): Rosemary Woodhouse: Mia Farrow has worst…first pregnancy…ever.
  • Freaky Friday (2003): Tess Coleman: Overworked/underappreciated mom Jamie Lee Curtis is put in her daughter’s shoes.
  • Raising Arizona (1987): Ed McDunnough: Infertility won’t stop Holly Hunter from her dream of a large family.
  • Alien 3 (1992): Ellen Ripley: Magnificent specimen Sigourney Weaver briefly experiences the fiery inferno called motherhood.
  • American Pie (1999): Stifler’s Mom: Eddie Kaye Thomas woos Jennifer Coolidge long before anyone knew what a cougar was.
  • Bambi (1942): Bambi’s Mom: The death of Bambi’s mother is perhaps the most upsetting event in all of film.
  • Edward Scissorhands (1990): Peg: Kind hearted Dianne Wiest sells beauty products and invites a sharply dressed stranger into her home.
  • The Fighter (2010): Alice Ward: Melissa Leo won Oscar managing her sons, dubiously named like they were Donald Duck’s nephews.
  • Almost Famous (2000): Elaine Miller: Frances McDormand wants to keep her son away from drugs and the Valhalla of decadence called rock music.

Follow me on Twitter @moviemunce for daily film reviews and movie talk.

Top 10 Classical Music Films

Classical music is critical to film. This list highlights the best films about classical music.

Top 10 Classical Music Films

  1. Amadeus (1984): Milos Forman’s historically inaccurate masterpiece made F. Murray Abraham forever infamous.
  2. The Red Violin (1998): A voilin’s 300+ year globe spanning epic journey, replete with obligatory casting of Samuel L. Jackson.
  3. The Pianist (2002): Adrien Brody survives Roman Polanski’s WWII drama by nervously tickling the ivories.
  4. Shine (1996): Geoffrey Rush is driven to mental breakdown by piano teachers. You try playing Rachmaninoff’s 3rd Concerto.
  5. The Piano (1993): Holly Hunter/Anna Paquin won Oscars. Jane Campion is 1 of 4 women to be nominated for best director.
  6. Immortal Beloved (1994): We know Gary Oldman is Ludwig van Beethoven, but who among his numerous lady friends is beloved?
  7. A Night at the Opera (1935): Let’s all hope Groucho, Chico, and Harpo Marx didn’t buy tickets to tonight’s performance.
  8. A Late Quartet (2012): A string quartet struggles with illness, egos, affairs, and one-night stands. We miss you Philip Seymour Hoffman.
  9. Mr. Holland’s Opus (1995): No matter what the football coach thinks, Richard Dreyfuss is clearly the best music teacher JFK High ever had.
  10. The Page Turner (2006): The “All About Eve” for pianists, teaches the lesson: Don’t piss off your page turner.

Honorable Mentions (In No Particular Order)

  • Taking Sides (2001) – It’s difficult being a conductor, it’s nearly impossible to do it in Nazi Germany.
  • Impromptu (1991) – Hugh Grant plays Frédéric Chopin and it’s got Mandy Patinkin!
  • Together with You (2002) – Multi-layered film about a gifted violin player and his father seeking fame.

Follow me on Twitter @moviemunce for daily #FilmReview and movie talk.

Great Female Directors

It’s Women’s History Month, so I pulled together a list of great female directors. No numbers or rankings, these creative and intelligent women get judged enough by society. This is simply a list of female directors in no particular order that you should check out. My list is not comprehensive, so forgive me if I miss someone like Leni Riefenstahl, Lina Wertmüller, or Natalie Portman.

Great Female Directors (In No Particular Order)

  • Kathryn Bigelow – Only woman to win Best Director for The Hurt Locker (2008); should have gotten a 2nd one for Zero Dark Thirty (2012).
  • Nora Ephron – Many hits including Sleepless in Seattle (1993), You’ve Got Mail (1998), Julie & Julia (2009); sadly, never got an Oscar.
  • Penny Marshall – Gave us Big (1988), Awakenings (1990), and the best sports movie of all time, A League of Their Own (1992).
  • Sofia Coppola – Honorably carries on her family legacy. Won writing Oscar for Lost in Translation (2003); also the underrated The Bling Ring (2013).
  • Sarah Polley – A personal favorite, despite having rocked me to the core with Away from Her (2006) and Take This Waltz (2011).
  • Julie Taymor – Known for Frida (2002); Her Beatles musical Across the Universe (2007) will always have a special place in my heart.
  • Amy Heckerling – Made such classics like Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), Look Who’s Talking (1989), and Clueless (1995).
  • Catherine Hardwicke – Known for Twilight (2008), but my personal favorite is The Nativity Story (2006).
  • Mira Nair – Oscar foreign nom for Salaam Bombay! (1988); Created other greats like Monsoon Wedding (2001) and The Namesake (2006).
  • Nicole Holofcener – Recently garnered buzz for Enough Said (2013), but she’s been around for much longer. Check out all her films.
  • Mary Harron – Would you believe the Christian Bale slasher flick American Psycho (2000) came from a Canadian lady?
  • Jennifer Yuh – Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011) is just as good as the first. The franchise is in good hands. I’m super excited about the third.
  • Phyllida Lloyd – All about quality over quantity, having made hits like Mamma Mia! (2008) and The Iron Lady (2011).
  • Nancy Meyers – One of the best. I love all her films, especially What Women Want (2000) and The Holiday (2006).
  • Haifaa Al-Mansour – Don’t know much beyond Wadjda (2012), but I loved that movie and I can’t wait for more.
  • Gabriela Cowperthwaite – Life-altering documentary Blackfish (2013) probably got her banned from SeaWorld.
  • Lorene Scafaria – Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012) was a tad depressing, but I wholeheartedly support her career.
  • Lynn Shelton – Newer director, who made the thought provoking comedy Humpday (2009).
  • Drew Barrymore – Talented actress for decades. Has yet to follow up her directorial debut Whip It (2009). I hope she does.
  • Jodie Foster – Another terrific actress who directed The Beaver (2011); Currently helping make Netflix great.
  • Jane Campion – One of only four women to be nominated for Best Director for The Piano (1993). A sad and shocking statistic.
  • Lisa Cholodenko – Most known for The Kids Are All Right (2010), which boasted 4 actors/actresses I love dearly.
  • Kimberly Peirce – Known for Boys Don’t Cry (1999), but also check out the Iraq war film Stop-Loss (2008).
  • Angelina Jolie – Oscar winning actress, great humanitarian, and also director of In the Land of Blood and Honey (2011).

I hope you had a great March and honored the women who make our country great. Follow me on Twitter @moviemunce for lists like this, daily film reviews, and movie talk.

86th Academy Awards Predictions

Who cares what I want? Nobody cares what I think should win. This is strictly what WILL win. Let’s help you fill out your Oscar ballot!

EDIT: I ended up getting 19/24 correct. A 79% C+ effort, which did not win my Oscar pool.

  1. Best Picture – 12 Years A Slave. Dark Horse: Gravity
  2. Directing – Alfonso Cuarón. Dark Horse: Steve McQueen
  3. Best Actor – Matthew McConaughey
  4. Supporting Actor – Jared Leto
  5. Best Actress – Cate Blanchett
  6. Supporting Actress – Lupita Nyong’o
  7. Foreign Language Film – The Broken Circle Breakdown. WINNER: The Great Beauty
  8. Best Documentary – The Act of Killing WINNER: 20 Feet from Stardom
  9. Documentary Short – The Lady in #6: Music Saved My Life
  10. Animated Film – Frozen
  11. Animated Short – Feral WINNER: Mr. Hublot
  12. Live Action Short – The Voorman Problem WINNER: Helium
  13. Adapted Screenplay – 12 Years a Slave
  14. Original Screenplay – Her
  15. Cinematography – Gravity
  16. Film Editing – Captain Phillips WINNER: Gravity
  17. Production Design – The Great Gatsby
  18. Costume Design – The Great Gatsby. Dark Horse: The Invisible Woman
  19. Makeup and Hairstyling – Dallas Buyers Club
  20. Sound Editing – Gravity
  21. Sound Mixing – Gravity. Dark Horse: Inside Llweyn Davis
  22. Original Score – Gravity
  23. Original Song – Let It Go (Frozen)
  24. Visual Effects – Gravity

Disclaimer: I have not seen the following Oscar nominated films:

  • Animated Film: Ernest & Celestine
  • Documentary Short: Facing Fear, Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall
  • Foreign Language Film: The Missing Picture, Omar

If you saw those five films, congratulations, you are better than me. I don’t know how you did it. Hopefully legally.

Follow me on Twitter @moviemunce for daily reviews and movie talk.