Long after the last hours of Phoenix's life are thrashed over and taken apart, it will be his body of work- his ineffable feel for the hopes and fears of his generation- that people remember him by. Although he had yet to play a real grown-up role (hell, he barely got to kiss the girl!), somehow a line that Martha Plimpton said to him in The Mosquito Coast keeps coming back to me. "I think of you when I go to the bathroom," she told him tenderly. Judging from the crowd who brought flowers and candles to the Viper Room in the days following Phoenix's death, she was not alone.
© 1994 January, Spin Magazine.