While I’m still trying to scrape Step Brother from the bottom of my shoe, the folks at the Vulture scratch their heads over the divergent career paths of John C. Reilly and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
The two actors started out on similarly promising paths and they even appeared in several films together including Paul Thomas Anderson’s Hard Eight, Boogie Nights and Magnolia. On stage they were in Sam Shepard’s True West, which called for them to alternate characters from one night to the next.
In the last few years, Hoffman seems to have continued to grow. He’s got an Oscar for Capote and last year alone he delivered three outstanding and unique performances in The Savages, Charlie Wilson’s War and Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead. Meanwhile John C. Reilly followed up Talladega Nights with Rock Hard: The Dewey Cox Story and this year he was in the above-mentioned Step Brothers.
I think Vulture is underestimating the value of comedy and I think they’re overlooking some bright spots in Reilly’s recent filmography (Robert Altman’s A Prairie Home Companion springs to mind), but it reminded me of a 2000 episode of Charlie Rose where the two actors talked about their work on True West. Rose is his usual irritating self, but you can’t argue with the quality of guests he gets. By this time Reilly and Hoffman had both been seen in Boogie Nights and Magnolia, but I don’t know if they were exactly household names yet. Who knew one would end up with an Oscar while the other would be stuck in a rut playing man-children.
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