Mar 22, 2008

A thesis: Why Dustin Hoffman is the greatest actor in the world.

You know the drill. You go for a nice dinner, have a couple of glasses of wine, and you start yapping about anything. Well, my last "date" had a nice conversation about who was a great actor. Wait. Not great. Fucking awesome. The single most incredible one of all.

The usual suspects always come to mind. Jack Nicholson. Ok, cool. Daniel Day Lewis. Of course. Robert De Niro. Yeah, sure. Even some new ones come to mind, Brad Pitt, Russell Crowe... yeah, ok. But still, and I say this sober or drunk, my bet always goes for mister Hoffman. Period. Why him and not Nicholson, for example? Sure, let's give my thesis a try.

I have no beef with either De Niro or Nicholson. But, and you have to agree, they always play almost the same part. A caricature of a human being. They are almost the same.

Nicholson, with all his body of work, you still get a glimpse of the guy himself. I'm not saying that he sucks, by no means whatsoever. This is one of the greatest actors on film, period. I just mean... He's always bigger than life. The Shining. A crazy dude on a killing rampage. Terms of Endearment. Jesus, that was Jack himself being a total asshole. The Departed. Awesome, but still, Jack going apeshit on a crime love fest. He has so much traits of himself, that most of the parts that he gets, he's brilliant, because in real life he is exactly that: epic.

De Niro. Well, all again wonderful... but do you sense that he always has the same face expressions? Godfather... whoa. Ok, a masterpiece. But... Let's go into one or two details. Goodfellas and Casino? Almost the same part. Jesus, don't kill me, it's the truth. He's always either silent and deadly, calculating... or fucking nuts.

Daniel, My Boy, Day Lewis. Fucking awesome, but still, larger than life characters, always. He picks his parts perfectly, but always a huge exaggeration of what a human being can be. The best examples are Gangs of NY and of course, his latest oscar winning character in There Will Be Blood. Incredible, yes. But you know, deep inside, that there will be a moment when his character will go bonkers, leaving him no choice but to shine.

A great actor, at least in my book, has to be versatile. He can be as angry as Jack, as scary as De Niro, as huge and powerful as Day Lewis... but he has also has to be soft, funny, vulnerable... and believable. Hoffman is all that, rolled into one.

What proof do I have of this? Let's go into some of his work, shall we?

Rain Man. Jesus H Christ. Talk about being vulnerable, lonely, confused, lovable, funny. I believed 100% that he was the Rain Man. No Dustin traces whatsoever. All the President's Men. Angry. Determined. Controlling. A total asshole. What a damn part. Kramer Vs. Kramer. Being a child of divorce, I sure can tell you, this is the real deal. This is what happens, this is how people react. And my favorite of them all, Tootsie. If you can stand there and tell me that you didn't believe that this was a woman... you have a serious problem.

I don't know if it is the fact that those guys haven't had the opportunities to go into much different roles than Hoffman. Maybe they read the scripts that he had and didn't get interested in playing them. But I sure know that this is the only man that in my book has done it all. I have believed every single part that he has done, without a doubt. When I am watching the other actors, as amazing as they are, I still know they are huge mega stars. But with Hoffman, I get the character and not the actor. I watch, it ends, and I sit there thinking... ooooh, that was him.

It is a bit sad that he hasn't had a huge body of work and that no one casts him so much now. Nicholson and De Niro, for a fact, still sell tickets. Good for them, they deserve every single penny. But Hoffman will always be, for me, the greatest of them all.

And trust me, I will not pick Brad Pitt just because he is amazing to look at. Try picturing Pitt as a believable woman in Tootsie. Nah, not possible. Not even in another lifetime.

Cheers to Dustin. You definitively don't suck.


RestrictionsApply said...

Did you know DH had un uncredited role in The Simpsons, Season 1? He played Lisa substitute teacher and object of her affections. One of the finest guest voices on that show!

Lucila said...

Oh lord I also loooove him!!!!
The Graduate!!!

Uhh don't forget "The Perfume" he had a role as dude's mentor on making scents.

The lit professon in Stranger than Fiction

Super funny/embrarrasing dad in Meet the Fuckers

My fav Captain in Hook!!!

And for De Niro...his only different character that I remember is being the creature in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Some poeple didn't like it..hell f*(&(it I looove it.

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