Remembering Robin Williams
Writer: Naseem Randhawa
Some of the many wonderful movies Robin Williams left us with.
Many remember growing up watching the films of Robin Williams, the late actor whose expertise was to bring laughter to everyday situations with his exaggerated antics while still showing how to overcome and have hope when faced with the basics of human emotions.
When one boils down to it, that's what his movies constantly delivers; a shining ray of hope attached to a human dilemma balanced by laughter.
That's why today it feels like such a loss for the cinematic world when Williams sudden death was supposedly cause by his depression. In teaching the world how to face and laugh with their problems, the beloved actor had succumbed to his own emotions.
It's true what they say sometimes, that the funniest persons are the saddest, but no one will be forgetting the memorable movies of Robin Williams that shall live on forever, still bringing laughter, light and a great message of hope.
Farewell O' Captain, My Captain.
Dead Poets Society (1989)
One of Robin Williams most profound movies is about an English teacher at a prep school who by his uncanny methods of teaching poetry, greatly inspire his students to see the world differently. While it is one of Williams' movies that doesn't see his usual over-the-top comedic antics, it had earned him a Best Actor nomination for a role many would remember him for. The scene where his character is fired exiting with him told to leave his classroom is a teary one. The solidary of his students, seen standing up on their desks paying tribute to Williams reciting, "O Captain! My Captain!" from a poem he thought them before, is a touching iconic farewell scene.
Patch Adams (1998)
Based on the true life of Dr. Hunter "Patch" Adams who used humour to deal with his patients, who better to play Patch Adams than Robin Williams himself? What's even more unusual is that even the release of the film on Christmas Day (considering it's melancholy subject matter) was met with great enthusiasm from audiences who loved seeing Adams bringing a somber human story to lighter tones. The film grossed USD202 million worldwide, almost double its budget, a colossal feat showing the likeability and draw of the lovable Robin Williams.
Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
One of Williams' best comedic roles is "Mrs. Doubtfire". Earning a spot on many Top 100 comedy films of all time, the movie also won Williams' a Golden Globe award for Best Actor and the Academy Award for Best Makeup. And talking about Best Makeup, who would have thought under all the makeup, wig and prosthetics Williams can still shine through and deliver some great laughs as a dad who goes undercover as an old Nanny to take care of his kids?
The Tamil remake "Avvai Shanmughi" starring Kamal Haasan.
The Hindi remake "Chachi 420" starring Kamal Haasan once again.
The movie also inspired the Tamil remake "Awai Shanmughi" in 1996 which then led to a Hindi remake, "Chachi 420" in 1998. The titular role for both the Tamil and Hindi was played by actor Kamal Haasan. Just in April 2014, a sequel for "Mrs. Doubtfire" was confirmed to be in development by Fox 2000 studios, but sadly, looks like Williams will never reprise one of his iconic roles.
Everybody went crazy for "Jumanji" when it was first released. Practically every 80s kid wanted the mysterious board game or were terrified by it. When young Alan gets sucked into the world of Jumanji, he returns 26 years later as an adult in the form of a wild jungle man, Robin Williams. Now back in his own world with his old flame and two kids who moved to his old home, Alan has to finish the game as audiences nervously await the next clues with the unforgettable beat of the Jumanji drums. Its great seeing Williams in a family centered family fantasy adventure film with Bonnie Hunt and a young Kristen Dunst. A reimagined version of "Jumanji" is currently in the works by Columbia Pictures, but it is unclear if the studio had wanted to get Williams back on board again.
It was Disney's animated musical fantasy film that unleashed how good of a voice actor Williams is. Playing the blue genie with serious standup comedy skills, it's hard imagining another actor do the role justice, especially since the actor came so close to not doing the role. He was finally convinced when the animators made a video of the genie to Williams' standup clips and after "laughing his ass off", agreed to do the role. The movie went on to gross over USD504 million worldwide.
Another Disney feature with Robin Williams attached sees the actor playing a professor that creates a green goo which he calls 'Flubber'. This film was one of those that were just fun and silly to watch with the family. Although not his best film, but it is just one of those memorable roles played by Williams and face it, to this day you still call green goo or any green putty resembling substance as 'Flubber'.
Directed by "The Godfather's" Francis Ford Coppola, "Jack" is a movie about a boy who ages four times as fast as a result of Werner syndrome. Even though the film was not met well by critics - often drawing comparison between Tom Hanks' 1988 film, "Big" - the movie was still loved by his fans who are used to the actor bringing tragic situations to light with comedy. Watching a grown man go through awkward stages of teenage puberty can actually be really funny.
Good Will Hunting (1997)
Ben Affleck and Matt Damon won the Academy Award for this film the wrote, but it also won Robin Williams a Best Supporting Actor award. Williams played a therapist to help Matt Damon's character to battle his mental issues while unlocking his genius potential. Apparently the scene where Williams talks about his wife was unplanned and took everyone by surprise, including the cameraman who couldn't hold his laughter, thus if you look at the scene closely, you will notice the camera jerking up and down slightly.
Bicentennial Man (1999)
Having dabbled in many comedic roles before this, Williams finally made the leap as an android domestic robot, Andrew, who goes in search to be upgraded to allow emotions and ultimately to be a free human. Like a modern day Pinocchio story, this film explores the meaning of being human and who better to show the transformation from robot to homo sapien than Williams deadpan kind of humour (although it's at its minimum here).
The boy who wouldn't grow up seems like the perfect character embodied by Robin Williams; the man with the Peter Pan syndrome. This Steven Spielberg fantasy adventure brought Peter Pan to life focusing on an adult Peter returning to Neverland to save his children who are kidnapped by Hook. Starring A-listers like Dustin Hoffman, Julia Roberts, Bob Hoskins and Maggie Smith and Gwyneth Paltrow.
What Dreams May Come (1998)
Dealing with serious issues like life and death, this was a complete unexpected turn for Robin Williams who plays a psychiatrist that dies in a car crash sent to Heaven. When his wife is unable to cope and kills herself, ending up in Hell instead, Williams has to navigate through fantasy worlds to save her. Dealing with the subject matter of suicide and death very closely, watching this movie especially with Williams' passing delivers chills via its beautiful storyline.
Cinema Online, 12 August 2014