David Edelstein reviews A Most Wanted Man, starring the late Philip Seymour Hoffman:
Part of me wishes that Philip Seymour Hoffman’s final lead performance, in A Most Wanted Man, wasn’t very good. I know that sounds perverse. But if he’d been flailing as an actor at the end, it would make his loss easier to bear from an artistic—if not a human—perspective. The thing is, though, the actor we see in this movie is at his absolute peak. This might even be my favorite Hoffman performance of all, damn it.
"There are a handful of shows I ask everyone I talk to about television if they have seen: The Wire, Mad Men, Friday Night Lights. But when I ask them if they’ve watched and loved Friday Night Lights, what I mean is are you my kind of person? Are you all heart? Are you bothered by this 21st-century lack of earnestness, our abundance of irony? Do you wonder how we forgive and coach ourselves to do better? How we can strive again for valor and loyalty and daring and redemption?
I fear we are defaulting to needless negativity as some kind of social currency. But Friday Night Lights is the most earnest show I’ve ever watched. Not sentimental, however: these characters aren’t perfect. In fact, this show is incredibly astute at allowing humans to have stratums of complexity: to have character and occasionally act without it, and then to live in the mire of their own dumb choices. Do I adore Coach? Yes. Do I think, as Tammy says, he is a molder of men and a husband of fierce devotion? Absolutely. Do I also think he can also be a self-involved, sexist prick who values his career over his wife’s? No question.
Regardless of the scale of the battle, the stakes in Friday Night Lights are rarely phony or contrived. It’s about winning games, sure, but its scope far exceeds that. This is a show that tests and reflects commitment not just on the football field, but back in the locker room. And in Street’s rehab room, and Saracen’s grandmother’s living room, and Julie’s bedroom, and eventually out to Luke’s farm and Tim’s prison and Tammy’s dream in Philadelphia. This commitment is not about obligation, but something more sacred. Duty. The hidden gale that blusters and grows within us and makes us yearn to give someone else exactly what they need.”
—Erica Cantoni on Friday Night Lights (Bright Wall/Dark Room, Issue #14, July 2014)
Goddamn. Erica nails it every time.
I like cancelled plans. And empty bookstores. I like rainy days and thunderstorms. And quiet coffee shops. I like messy beds and over-worn pajamas. Most of all, I like the small joys that a simple life brings.
Blessed are those who do not fear solitude, who are not afraid of their own company, who are not always desperately looking for something to do, something to amuse themselves with, something to judge.