The Unbearable Banishment: Philip Seymour Douche Bag

Monday, December 22, 2008

Philip Seymour Douche Bag

Before I get to the meat of my post, allow me to establish my bona fides. The acting community has no greater patron than Yours Truly. In 2008 I saw 28 plays. Better than two per month! The only people who saw more plays than I did were theater critics. I’m a fan of Mr. Douche Bag—I mean Mr. Hoffman. Back in 1997 I saw him in a small play about the doomed Space Shuttle Challenger called Defying Gravity and in 2000 I was lucky enough to see him and John C. Reilly in Sam Shepard’s True West. I’ve seen most of his films—even the obscure ones like Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead. I like his work a lot.


The New York Times Sunday Magazine cover article was a fluff piece on Philip Seymour Hoffman. In it, Mr. Hoffman says:

…for me, acting is torturous, and it’s torturous because you know it’s a beautiful thing.

In the same article, Dustin Hoffman is quoted as saying this about playing Jamie Tyrone in Long Day’s Journey Into Night on Broadway:

It nearly killed me.

I can't stand listening to actors prattle on about how dangerous their work is. And I don't think they're speaking in metaphor. Do you know what can nearly kill you? Patrolling the streets of Kandahar. Do you want to see some torture? Visit your local ER and/or ICU.

Do you know what I really love? When actors talk about the characters they play as though they actually existed. It’s fiction. It’s not real.

I will continue to patronize the theater. I love it too much to abandon it. But sometimes I wish actors would spend more time outside of the thespian community and acquire some perspective.

Know your lines and don't bump into the furniture.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agree that expecting combat pay for theater work is over the top. Another pet peeve is those who hoark up their politics as if they are experts (ahemrichardgere).

picked up a snippet of an interview with Tom Hanks once... that i found refreshing. interviewer asked about his politics, his passions, etc. he just said something along the lines of "i'm an actor. that doesn't give my opinions any greater validity than anyone else..."

December 22, 2008 at 8:51 AM  
Blogger Digital Fortress said...

Celebrities who spout off gibberish is a big pet peeve of mine. You would think some would recall their humble beginnings, but some are seem so insulated and out of touch with reality it is ridiculous what comes out their mouths.

In my opinion a celebrity/role model should be more responsible in what they say because they are in the limelight. They should have the common decency to attempt to have a valid point or at the minimum make sense.

Cynicism or not, the bottom line is, everyone is entitled to their opinion whether they are a celebrity or not, but just because a microphone is thrust in your direction does not excuse you from accountability.

December 22, 2008 at 1:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of accountability...I was listening to the news this morning. Two Browns players got into a fist fight in the locker room. So much for team work now wonder why they suck. To me this is the biggest waste of man kind. Fire them and give their salaries to the Cleveland Schools!

December 22, 2008 at 1:57 PM  
Blogger mjp said...

"Celebrities" have no responsibility to be accountable or role models or even agreeable humans.

The problem lies in giving importance to what they say or think. We shouldn't care, considering the vast majority of them are self-important windbags who are trying desperately to prove to daddy that they deserve the love he always withheld.

Yeah, I've had the misfortune of spending time around too many of them, and that is my take. Find one that doesn't have daddy issues. Prove me wrong. ;)

Their grand proclamations should be given about as much weight as you'd give the meanderings of a three year old. Look interested, smile, and say, "That's great, honey!"

December 22, 2008 at 2:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't read interviews with celebrities nor care enough to know what their opinions are or who they're f**king (can I swear on your blog?)

but philip seymour hoffman is my favourite actor and before the devil knows you're dead is in the top five films I watched this year. so I'll just ignore any douche bag answers that may have been quoted out of context in an interview and continue to swoon when I hear his sexy treacle voice.

did you see him in Happiness? I LOVED that film

December 22, 2008 at 4:39 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

All: I was all riled up and picked on an easy mark—the pretense of actors. But let’s keep in mind that they provide us with a lifetime of diversion. Nursemyra has it right; ignore the distractions and enjoy the work.

nurse: Yes, my dear, feel free to curse up a blue streak on my blog. I use that language sparingly. That way, when I DO use it, it has the intended impact. And if you think Mr. Hoffman is a flamethrower on the screen, you should see him on stage! Yikes!

December 22, 2008 at 8:21 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

P.S. In case you're interested, here's the profile that appeared in the Times Magazine.

December 22, 2008 at 8:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've written things that left me aching inside or sobbing. There is something to the cathartic experience where art is concerned.

I think PSH was being a bit melodramatic but I would suppose an actor might be prone to this.

December 22, 2008 at 8:57 PM  
Blogger Sid said...

LOL! I hate it when people want to sound deep but simply aren't. It's so pretentious.

December 23, 2008 at 7:07 AM  
Blogger A Free Man said...

Well, they are kind of paid to be drama queens aren't they? I've kind of stopped listening to my favorite artists when they are interviewed - it is inevitably disappointing.

December 23, 2008 at 7:00 PM  

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