Monday, August 11, 2014

Robin Williams: A Tribute

In the world of entertainment, there are those who can move you. There are those that can make you cry. There are those that can make you think and be engaged. There are those that can make you laugh. Robin Williams was one those people who could do all of those things and more. His passing on August 11, 2014 wasn’t just a major shock but one that I’m sure that many just couldn’t believe. I am beyond sad. I’m more than just devastated. Having been through my own battles with depression, it is a disease and never an easy one to conquer as I’m sure it was incredibly hard for Williams to deal with. I don’t want to talk about his death but what he meant to myself and the world.

One of the great things that I think Williams accomplished is that he was able to cross over from generation to generation. In the late 70s, people grew up watching him in Mork & Mindy and Happy Days. In the 80s, it could’ve been Popeye, The World According to Garp, or through his stand-up comedy work. I am one of those people that was raised by Robin Williams through his work in Comic Relief and films like Moscow on the Hudson, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Dead Poets Society, Aladdin, Club Paradise, The Best of Times, and Mrs. Doubtfire. My parents were big fans of Robin Williams as they loved his comedic work in films like Good Morning Vietnam. Yet, Moscow on the Hudson is a film that I think is very underrated as my parents constantly talked about since they’re immigrants and know that experience while being to laugh at what Williams was doing. It’s a very special film as I think credit should also go to its co-writer/director Paul Mazursky for making that film as he had just recently passed away.

I think there’s kids that grew up Williams through his voice work in Aladdin which is one of the great voice performances as well as films like Jumanji and Nine Months which were the kind of films that lifted you up on a down day. Yet, the film that I loved to watch that my parents loved to watch and sisters loved to watch was Mrs. Doubtfire. We all saw it in the theaters and we loved it because it was funny and it had a very touching story. My late maternal grandmother loved the film as who couldn’t love that scene where Williams realizes he’s on fire and had to stop it with pot tops? It’s one of those rare movies that manages to cross all age groups and do so much.

Of course for every great performance that Williams has done in films like Good Will Hunting, Awakenings, The Birdcage, Baron Munchausen and Dead Poets Society where he can be funny but also be very dramatic. There are films that weren’t very good like Bicentennial Man, Jack, Old Dogs, Toys, Hook, and of course, Patch Adams. I’m sure there were people who were kids when some of those movies were made thought they were great but are now realize that they weren’t any good. I think part of Williams’ genius was bring the child in him so that kids were able to connect with him.

When I was coming of age and discovering new things, Williams would come back but in a very different way. Death to Smoochy may not everyone’s favorite film but I enjoyed it to death because it was different and Williams was playing a bit of a psychopath who kept saying “I’m Rainbow Fuckin’ Randolph”. That streak would continue with a very devious and creepy role as the antagonist in Insomnia which was very surprising while I think his crowning achievement in that year where he decided to go dark was in One Hour Photo which is definitely one his most overlooked performances. Another performance of his that I thought was overlooked is World’s Greatest Dad which is an extremely underrated film. It has him being a dad to a son who is essentially the biggest douche bag in the world who suddenly died due to auto-asphyxiation. The best scene for me was Williams making his confession and freeing himself from the lies he created as he was surrounded by people who were essentially full of shit.

It’s probably what I think is the last great performance of his career though he has a couple of more movies to come out later this year. Yet, I just want to remember those great movies he made and how much it meant to the world. Though he is now gone, his ability to make the world laugh and cry will never be forgotten. Thank you my Captain.

R.I.P. Robin Williams (1951-2014)

© thevoid99 2014


Dell said...

Great write-up. So sad that he's gone at such a young age.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post Steven. This was such a shock...such a blow. At only 63, this is downright terrible! I'm still in shock. I never saw this coming at all.

Brittani Burnham said...

Beautiful tribute. I still can't believe he's gone. I do love seeing all this Mrs. Doubtfire love. That movie means a lot to me.

thevoid99 said...

@Wendell Ottley-I'm still bummed out about it. I think I'll watch one of his movies later tonight.

@Fisti-The shock still hasn't worn out and I'm definitely not going to get over this.

@Brittani-Thanks. I think I'll watch that film tonight. Just to smile and laugh.

Alex Withrow said...

Great work here. Loved that you focused on his impact as an artist and a man, and not the manner in which he left us.

I recently watched World's Greatest Dad for the first time, and I agree, what an underrated and great performance. That confession scene was some of the best of his later work.

thevoid99 said...

@Alex-He's already left a great legacy. He's done so much for the world to make it much better. I know we're all sad by his passing but I think the best thing to do is to watch one of his films to make us feel better... even if it's just for a little bit.

ruth said...

Wonderful tribute Steven. It just occurred to me that Robin's been in quite a few films dealing w/ suicide: Dead Poets Society, What Dreams May Come, World's Greatest Dad... It's so tragic that he's gone so soon.

I REALLY want to see Moscow on the Hudson, no doubt it's hilarious w/ him in the lead. I think my faves are Dead Poets Society & Mrs Doubtfire.

thevoid99 said...

@ruth-Moscow on the Hudson isn't just a film where he was very funny but it's also a very heartwarming story.

Chris said...

Such sad news. He brought a lot of joy to the world and can no longer do that. He will be missed. Nice you are honoring him by writing a tribute and reviewing his films. Good Will Hunting is for me his best performance, but like you said Robin Williams was a talented cameleon, who was relevant for decades.

thevoid99 said...

@Chris-I can't think of anyone who was so good at morphing into other roles yet manages to do so much into that character. He means a lot to me and it still stings as I found myself the need to see his films and write new reviews of the ones that I've already seen.