2/3/14

Well, this sucks.




What made this guy so remarkable? Why did the news of his death hit me, and so many others of my generation, so hard?

I was in my car, picking up a kid from a sleepover when my friend Gail sent me a message. "Google Philip Hoffman" she wrote. And then she added, "Fuck."

Eff, indeed. A celebrity succumbing to their demon of choice isn't exactly a shocker anymore. But this one hurts. This one feels personal.

He was my age, almost exactly. I remember the first movie of his I saw, "Scent of a Woman", where he played an entitled asshole prep school student. I loathed him immediately. And then found myself adoring him, looking for his unforgettable mug in other films.

He was the schleppy every-guy, the face of all those boys I'd end up chatting with after their Alpha-male friends and my beautiful friends hooked up after closing time.

The thinking-girl's heartthrob.

He played sweet gay men and evil villains and disheveled flakes, and played each of those roles to the hilt. No holds barred. He stole every scene he was in. Have you seen Along Came Polly? One of those movies that I'd deny liking in certain company, but one that I'll sit down and watch every time it comes on just to see him. The word "shart" is used with great frequency in this household thanks to PSH.

The coverage of his death is sickening. It makes me yearn for the days when celeb's accidental deaths were cloaked in mystery and secrets. We don't need to know what he was wearing, where they found him. What he was doing. That's not our business.

Of course, now that we do know, maybe it will open doors for discussion about addiction, drugs, depression. Maybe it will just go down as another sad accident, another smart and creative person gone too soon. The tweets will die down, the articles and blog posts will cease. He'll be honored at award ceremonies, "STARS WE LOST IN 2014", people will stand up and applaud while pictures of him flash by on big screens.

He'll be missed, though. By his fans, yes. By his family, oh my God, yes. He'll be missed by old people and young people and people in the middle. My 16 year old, Henry, said, "Imagine how many more things he could have done, Mom" as we were discussing the news yesterday. We talked about drugs, talked about what makes people do them. We talked about how wealth and fame and supposed creature-comforts are no guarantee of a happy heart.

We talked about how he looked like someone you'd bump into on the street, someone you'd make small talk with while waiting in line at the coffee shop or the bookstore. How he didn't come across as a Bradley Cooper or a Leonardo DiCaprio but somehow he was 1000 times more magnetic than men like them.

Henry wrapped up our conversation with this:

"Well, this sucks."

Yup. It sure does.

Rest in Peace, PSH.

6 comments:

  1. Hey,
    This is an honest reaction to a celebrity death that I can get behind. Because it does suck.. Because he was the "schleppy every guy face." That we all know and come to love out of familiarity and just sort of expecting to see it. Thanks for humanizing something that has been quickly demonized..mourning the death of a celebrity.... losing anyone to a drug addiction should hit hard. So thanks for writing this .

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  2. Well said. While I wasn't a particular fan of PSH like you were, he was a true talent once again taken too soon. Addiction is a bitch. Depression is it's mistress. And like you said, I miss the days when some mystery/dignity was granted to those who succumb to those demons.

    But in the end, it just sucks.

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  3. I will tell you that this one hit home here.. big time. Em just moved back home with us.. had just taken a "restart" coin from a meeting and kinda freaked her out to hear he had 23 years clean. She is like what is the point of all the work and this demon will rear it's ugly head when I am old and have kids? Well the point my dear child, is your life.. it has value and you must fight this disease every single day of your life, even 10, 15, 20, 25 years from now.. never quit fighting.

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  4. Yes, yes it does. The thinking girl's heartthrob, indeed.

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  5. To change the subject; I'm so honored you referenced my message and used my actual name in this latest blog entry. I'm a super fan so it gives me goosebumps.

    I really like the comments that Jessica wrote above. I am semi heart-sick over his loss, in a non-stalky, non-judgmental way.

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  6. To change the subject; I'm so honored you referenced my message and used my actual name in this latest blog entry. I'm a super fan so it gives me goosebumps.

    I really like the comments that Jessica wrote above. I am heart-sick over tis loss, in a non-stalky, non-judgmental way. I usually don't follow Hollywood folks but character actors get me and he really got me.

    ReplyDelete

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