In my high school theater class, our teacher rushed in one day and excitedly told us we had to see Boogie Nights as soon as possible. There was an actor in it, this guy Philip Seymour Hoffman (RIP), who despite having a relatively small supporting role, she felt had given one of the greatest, most committed performances she had ever seen.
While it may seem like odd advice for a teacher at a Catholic high school to give her students (let’s be honest, I was going to see Boogie Nights either way) it changed the way in which I watched that movie, and the way I watch most things even seventeen years later.
Philip Seymour Hoffman, in all of his young glory was able to do something that most of us spend our lives avoiding: he was unapologetically unselfconscious, unattractive, and at times uncomfortable to watch. If you’ve never seen the movie, you really should, director Paul Thomas Anderson knocked it out of the park, and the film launched PSH into what would be one of the greatest acting careers of our time, even if the third act makes you want to peel your own face off and run screaming from the theater.
Lately as I work to overcome my own self-consciousness I’ve been kind of obsessed with watching performance videos where people are totally committed and without any self consciousness whatsoever. It’s freeing to watch. It’s not that I’m comparing the parents lip-synching in the above video while their daughter is unable to muster a fuck to give to the late great Philip Seymour Hoffman, except that I kind of am, because their total commitment to Frozen’s “Love Is An Open Door” is the stuff of magic, and this video kind of made my day.