Philip Seymour Hoffman, self-assassin

philip seymour hoffmanAll good conspiracy theorists know that assassins only use three names: James Earl Ray, Mark David Chapman, John Wilkes Booth, etc. Some would even say that this is an indictment for Lee Harvey Oswald in the death of J.F.K. Of course a closer look reveals a host of two named killers, but they derail my argument, so I won’t talk about them now.

At the same time, one of my favorite actors, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, is a three-named fellow. This morning while driving to work the significance of Hoffman’s full three names struck me, a mark of distinction in the film world. Sure, for an assassin it’s typical, but in the acting world it’s a mark of distinction.

But Philip doesn’t play just any role—most of his characters suffer from some sort of imbalance that results in their downfall. Take his role in Boogie Nights for instance: an unattractive homosexual in the porn industry, he suffers for his endless attraction to heterosexual porn stars, and then finally makes an ass of himself by confronting Marky Mark. 25th Hour, Happiness, Punch-Drunk Love, State and Main… most of his recent parts are ones in which he shoots himself in the proverbial foot.

Sure, some people think that using three names is just a mark of recognition; other famous people, such as Francis Ford Coppola or Alexander Graham Bell are great examples. But, a Mr. Philip S. Hoffman adopted his middle name in the middle of his career. You might think he did it to sound more regal or distinctive, but I think he recognized his God-given talent: Philip Seymour Hoffman is the perfect self-assassin.

15 thoughts on “Philip Seymour Hoffman, self-assassin

  1. Dear Cameron Blogdex Marlow,

    I feel this entry on your web log would have been improved if you had used the phrase de rigeur when it was called for.

    “All true conspiracy theorists know that, for assassins, the three name standard is de rigeur: First Middle Last. Lee Harvey Oswald.” &c.

    Thank you for considering my input in this matter.

  2. Dear Anil Dictionary Dash,

    I am not a critical theorist, nor do i aspire to be one. I live on a meager diet of simple words and colloquialisms. I feel phrases with massive pretention value, such as de rigeur are a form of verbal masturbation. I’m a poor vagabond in the world of language, and I refuse to be a beggar. Take back your words, I’ll survive on my own!

  3. I didn’t use the word, you did my friend. I’m just a starving nomad with low aspirations. To quote the Goodie Mob:

    I kinda like being poor, at least I know what my friends are here for

  4. Paul Thomas Anderson is gathering a veritable (that one’s for you, Anil) gang of assassins for use in his cinematic productions: himself, Philip Seymour Hoffman, John C. Reilly, Philip Baker Hall, and William H. Macy, not to mention Julianne “Boom Boom” Moore.

  5. Maybe I’ll change my name to Cam legally, under the pretense that it stands for:

    Cam Alexander Marlow

    And I go to the MIT Institute of Technology.

  6. PSH is a product of the mid 80s “three part name” fad that swept the showbiz world. anthony michael hall, john cougar mellencamp, etc… this fad was overshadowed in pop culture history by the nearly simultaneous “one part name” fad, probably because most of the people who took that route had real talent and therefore lasting careers.

    as far as assassins go, they use the most specific name possible when referring to the assassin in order to clear up any confusion later on for innocent bystanders. imagine all the hassle every john booth in the country would have to deal with every time he headed to the grocery store. the glaring exception to this rule in the past 200 years of american history is Sirhan Sirhan, and i think that speaks for itself.

    but what’s still bugging me… what if madonna (or “the artist …”) were to assassinate a president?

  7. Time would fold in on itself and our tiny planet would pop out on the other side of the universe, far away from the warmth of any neighboring stars. After a few hours a giant sheet of ice would cover earth and we’d float lifeless for billions of years until some other intelligent race discovered us, perfectly preserved.

    I’m sure you can figure out what would happen from there

  8. For a while, I thought Philip Seymour Hoffman was Paul Thomas Anderson–appearing in each of his own movies.

    Anyway, I believe the real reason for his using three names is simply that there already was a Philip Hoffman and there’s some sort of SAG rule that each actor has to be credited with a unique name.

  9. Philip Seymour Hoffman, is making a fool out of everyone!
    He takes on the odd-ball, obscure, impossible parts no one in there right mind would take, and does them with an aplomb (yes I fucking said aplomb!) as to make the rest of the acting world appear as “Slackers” at best!
    I would donate my left nut to science (fiction), to take one acting lesson from him!

  10. Hey! Just Dropping In Because I Saw You On Google And Noticed We Have The Same Name : Cameron Alexander Marlow.. Lol And Yes Ive Always Told People The Funny Thing About CAM Being My Initials, First 3 Letters Of My Name, and Nickname. But My Cousin’s Name Is Cameron Patrick Marlow and He Lives Across The Street From Me. Thats Kinda Weird Also 🙂 See ya! – Cam “The Man” Marlow

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