Probably the greatest actor of his generation. Hoffman did what he had to do to get paid (Mission Impossible III and the like) but he concentrated on making really great films in an age of shlock. Working with people like Director Paul Thomas Anderson (the greatest director in the game right now), he appeared in great films like The Master, Capote, Hard Eight and others. He even convinced PTA to take The Master’s focus off of his character and onto Joaquin Phoenix’s character…so devoted to the art-form, he was.
But alas, he apparently needed some sort of escape and stupidly became a heroin addict. Take the drug early in his adult life, he kicked the habit for years but fell off in the last couple…only to die with a needle in his arm. It’s a disgusting end to good life. I’ve always flirted with the idea of drug legalization and the issue has been at the forefront in the past year with marijuana legalization sprouting out all over. You can debate the finer points: While MJ can lead to trouble, it’s the baby-aspirin of recreational drugs. Heroin, on the other hand, is the be-all-end-all. Granted, it’s easy to say let it be legal and let people, like Hoffman, make their mistakes…it’s his life…he can throw it away if he wants. It’s also easy to say, ban it, prosecute users and sellers, no excuses! As I said, people take drugs for escape…and G-d knows I’ve been tempted, but I’ve never succumbed to the temptation as I have a little part of my brain that holds veto power over life-destroying decisions. Not everyone can be saved. Some people can’t be helped when they have a pain they’re trying to sedate, no matter what you may try and do.