On Tuesday, Andrew shared his thoughts on the passing of Robin Williams. Ordinarily I would shy away from the topic since it was brought up in recently in While We’re Waiting, but not today.
As a boy I remember being fascinated with Robin Williams’ comedy. I was too young and naive to really understand a lot of his subject matter, and I certainly didn’t understand the impact that drugs were having on his performances. All I knew was that he was a ball of energy and you never knew what he was going to do next. His quick wit and improvisation made a big impression on me.
If a life can have a soundtrack to mark time, I believe that movies can do something similar. I was seven years old when I saw Robin Williams in Popeye. At the time, a cartoon that became a live action movie was kind of impossible, but they pulled it off. Williams’ performance of Popeye was so different from anything he’d done to that point, and foreshadowed his ability to dive in and become other characters.
The next Williams movie that made an impact was The Best of Times. I was fully involved in organized football at the time and loved the idea of a team having a reunion game years after the fact to settle an old score. If you haven’t ever seen this movie, give it a shot. It isn’t one of his better known films and the WFNY audience would like it. I’m certain.
The summer before high school came Good Morning Vietnam. This film blended Williams’ true gifts. He was (and my heart sank just now typing was instead of is) a good dramatic actor, and obviously a brilliant comic. The combination made this movie what it is. So many great lines in this movie. Along with movies like Platoon, Good Morning Vietnam helped open the lines of communication between generations about Vietnam. It was a subject never mentioned in my house before.
Dead Poets Society was released while I was in high school, but I didn’t see it until after I had graduated. In fact, I was visiting a good friend from high school at the University of Illinois when we caught a showing at the campus theater. With all due respect to Good Will Hunting, Dead Poets is my favorite Williams role. Anyone who has ever taught has that desire to see a real connection with their students, to know that they truly understand what you are giving them. Williams became the Captain in this film. the circumstances around his death now make this film even more eerie and heartbreaking.
Awakenings was fantastic. Robert DiNero and Williams were tremendous together. If you’ve never seen it, do yourself a favor and watch it. Inspiring.
A flurry of movies seemed to follow, including Hook, The Fisher King, Mrs. Doubtfire and Toys. The Fisher King was the best of this group in my opinion, as a little darker of a movie for Williams. Mrs. Doubtfire was certainly a memorable performance and gave Williams a perfect vehicle for comedy. Toys really missed the mark, and was the first time I remember being disappointed with a Williams movie.
There was a time that I kind of stepped away from Williams’ movies. I’m sure it had more to do with me than Williams. The Birdcage didn’t interest me, and Jumanji-Jack-Flubber all seemed geared towards kids. It wasn’t until Good Will Hunting did Robin’s work grab me again.
I can’t think of anyone anywhere near my age that didn’t like that movie. Certainly that is a testament to Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s amazing story and performances as well, but they couldn’t have made a better choice than Williams for his part.
What Dreams May Come, Patch Adams and Bicentennial Man were all movies I saw and enjoyed, but were a little turned off by the reincarnation overtones. Not my belief system, but I certainly would not say you shouldn’t see the movies because of that. Loved Philip Seymour Hoffman in Patch Adams. There’s another sad story from Hollywood.
Night at the Museum, Robots and Happy Feet resonated with me for a completely different reason. I was now a father—Williams was now helping to bring happiness to my daughter’s life as well as mine.
And there will be more. I saw a report that at least three movies with Williams have been filmed and are in post-production, including a Christmas movie.
I’m sure that there will be a moment of grief watching these movies, knowing that Williams is gone. I’m also sure that the grief will go away as Williams applies his craft and brings home laughs once again. Thank you Robin for all the years of entertainment.
For those interested in some of the board games I talk about in this space, you will want to check this out once it opens.
— Cleveland Scene (@Cleveland_Scene) August 11, 2014
The headline here is awesome, as is the video that follows:
“Pennsylvania Sports Anchor Punches Man Who Interrupts Live Shot”
I like Pat McManamon, but the ‘chances Johnny Manziel starts’ daily chart is ridiculous.
I get the hatred for OSU in Michigan, but what in the world???
Toronto Argos uniforms. Love these.
— CFL Official Feed (@CFL) August 13, 2014
I will be attending GenCon this week, so I should have a number of new game reviews for this space in the coming weeks. Have a great weekend!