Home > Film & stuff > A Quick Note About the Great Bob Hoskins

A Quick Note About the Great Bob Hoskins

Bob Hoskins is an actor who I am always happy to see on screen. Sadly, it now seems that I’ll never see him show up and elevate a new film ever again.

Hoskins’ agent released a statement that reveals the superb actor from films like Mona Lisa, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?HookNixon, and The Long Good Friday will now retire from acting due to a Parkinson’s Disease diagnosis. It’s a sad end to an exceptional career.

I’m not going to pretend to know a great deal about the man, and I’ve honestly not seen all of the films in which he has starred. However, I remember every single Bob Hoskins performance that I have seen. That might seem obvious– why wouldn’t I remember something I’ve seen before– but there are a lot of forgettable actors and forgettable performances. Hoskins has a quality that few possess, and that is he stands out from everyone. It’s not “movie star” gloss or bombastic onscreen actions, but a genuine likability and honesty that he brings to every role. I’ve never watched him act and felt like he was phoning it in. He outshines his more famous co-stars and he rises above mediocre or flat-out bad films to offer a performance worth watching.

Below are just a few of my favorite Bob Hoskins performances. Do yourself a favor and go back through his filmography and enjoy some of what he had to offer.

  • Twenty Four Seven: I’ve never even met anyone else who has seen this film, which is a real shame. Hoskins leads as a boxing coach of some disgruntled youths in a small British town. It’s low-budget, visceral, and genuine, and Hoskins transcends the typical cliched role of the savior and gives a wonderful performance. It’s an underdog film, sure, but it’s well acted and executed and does a good job of avoiding too much sappy melodrama.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit?: Putting the gruff Hoskins in a big budget family film that blends animation with live-action may not seem like the obvious choice, but his performance as the bitter private investigator Eddie Valiant holds this unique film together. Even with the beautiful animation and non-stop sight gags, he shines through with moments of great drama mixed with truly impressive comedic timing. This film is a bona fide classic and Hoskins is a big reason why, not to mention the clever Chinatown-esque script and the top-notch villainous turn by Christopher Lloyd.
  • Mona Lisa: Neil Jordan’s tale about a decent-hearted hood who’s hired to drive a call girl from job to job earned Hoskins his only Oscar nomination of his long career. A tough film about tough people, this is not light or pleasant, but the humanity he brings to the situation is what really makes him stand out. Michael Caine shines as well, but this is Hoskins’ show. He lost the Academy Award that year to Paul Newman for The Color of Money, which is a great film, but Hoskins deserved his due.
  • Frasier, episode “Trophy Girlfriend”: This might seem out of left field, but Hoskins’ guest role on this episode of Frasier always makes me laugh. He plays Frasier’s former high school gym teacher who was relentlessly harsh on the young brainiac. When Frasier starts dating a P.E. teacher (played by Jeanne Tripplehorn) he sees her acting harshly towards her students and he can’t help but flashback to Hoskins’ gym class. The last third of the episode is below, but I recommend you track it down and watch it from the beginning. Hoskins gives a great comedic turn and he’s definitely one of my favorite guests on the long list of Frasier cameos.

Those are just a couple of my favorite Bob Hoskins moments. His supporting turn as studio exec Eddie Mannix in Hollywoodland, as Khrushchev in Enemy at the Gates, or as Smee in Hook are all terrific efforts in a stellar career. I’m checking out his role in The Long Good Friday right now (streaming on Netflix) and it makes me very sad we won’t be seeing more of one of the great character actors of the last 40 years. He has a style and ease that makes me think he could have had a career in movies in any decade.

His absence from the screen will be missed.

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  1. August 10, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    A well-written tribute to a respectable career and a seemingly nice guy.

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