THE MASTER In, clockwise from top left, Punch-Drunk Love, Boogie Nights, Mission Impossible III, and The Master.
  • THE MASTER In, clockwise from top left, Punch-Drunk Love, Boogie Nights, Mission Impossible III, and The Master.

BOOGIE NIGHTS: This movie about the LA porn world in the 1970s made Philip Seymour Hoffman a star. It is remarkable that he was able to stand out—it's packed with great performances from some of the best of the best: Don Cheadle, John C. Reilly, William H. Macy, Heather Graham, and, of course, Burt Reynolds. Hoffman plays Scotty J., a rather chubby, flubby, awkward, and sorry lighting and sound technician for porn director Jack Horner (Reynolds). Hoffman also has a serious crush on Horner's star penis, Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg). The scene where Hoffman tries to kiss Wahlberg ("Can I kiss you on the mouth?") and fails ("Nooooo!... Scotty!") is now considered a peak moment in '90s cinema ("I'm an idiot, I'm an idiot, I'm an idiot"). RECOMMENDED BEVERAGE: Shots of Goldschläger, because it's at once glamorous (it has gold flakes in it) and sad (it has gold flakes in it). RECOMMENDED ATTIRE: A tight-fitting something. CHARLES MUDEDE

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III: This iteration of Tom Cruise's action franchise is unremarkable in almost every way, but goddamn if Philip Seymour Hoffman doesn't turn this dreck into a great movie whenever he's on-screen. His Owen Davian isn't your typical omniscient blockbuster villain: He's a brute of a man, and he's as mean as a hungry reptile, but he's just some low-level arms dealer who happened to cross into Cruise's narrative arc. He's not a world-dominating bloviator, or a cretin obsessed with revenge; he just wants to make a lot of money, and he will hack the most direct path to that goal. His cruelty and his smallness make him even more terrifying than your typical multiplex baddie, a mannered study of the banality of evil. RECOMMENDED SUBSTANCE: Marijuana will transform the opening scene, in which Hoffman threatens death to Cruise's fiancée, into one of the tensest cinematic showdowns you've ever experienced. RECOMMENDED SNACK: Buttered popcorn, of course. PAUL CONSTANT

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