Robin Williams Most Magical Moments
By Heather Nichols, Tawfik Zone Contributor
Robin Williams wouldn’t want us to be sad about his passing. Instead he’d want us to celebrate the laughs and achievements that are this great man’s legacy. Unfortunately I am a wee bit too young to give more than a nod to Mork and Mindy, although I did enjoy Mork’s cameo episode on Happy Days (it’s weird what TV Land makes available and what they don’t). Before you get on my case about not having Mrs. Doubtfire in my favorite Robin Williams’ scenes, I confess that I haven’t seen it yet. So without further ado here are some of the highlights from Robin William’s film repertoire, at least from the one’s I have seen.
I’ll start with a rather unusual choice, One Hour Photo, which is not the first or even the fifth film that usually comes to mind when speaking of Williams. In fact I can’t remember the entirety of the film because it was late one night on HBO or something like that. One moment stuck out to me, when Williams held a figurine from the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion. As it turns out Williams was a fan of the show as well as other fandoms and his daughter was named after the Princess from the Legend of Zelda series. I know it’s a weird reason to like something, but I think he’d approve.
Williams had a way of standing out even in the smallest of roles. Two of which were the Night at the Museum series as the beloved president Teddy Roosevelt and the coveted role of John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt in To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar. In the latter he spends less than 10 minutes on screen and isn’t even credited, but even in that wild movie, the fact remains you can’t forget about him.
He was also a beloved presence in children’s films, some of which are the best produced of all time. In both the Disney film Aladdin and Steven Spielberg’s Hook, he brought so much fun to the characters through his ability to improvise and his genuine love for making people laugh. The Genie might be one of the most popular sidekicks in the Disney’s film library. It’s amazing that there is over 16 hours’ worth of recording for the character, most of which was improvised by Williams himself. Despite his talent he didn’t consider himself a great singer and yet “A Friend Like Me” and “Prince Ali” are super catchy. His Jack Nicholson impression which makes me smile every time.
I said before in my tribute to Bob Hoskins Hook is in my top ten favorite film list of all time For one the cast is brilliant and for another, it takes a kids movie to a very real place and tackles real kid issues without talking down to them. Jack is mad at his father, Peter Pan (Williams) for missing his baseball game and a lot of kids are able to relate to that sort of thing. In the beginning we see how becoming an adult has really seemed to suck the fun out of old Peter but he eventually realizes he’s become too obsessed with work and needs to remember what it’s like to be a kid again to realize what is really most important. And also, who didn’t love that food fight scene?
Love it or hate it, The Birdcage displays some of William’s most hilarious scenes of all time. Many dismiss the film feeling that it accentuates terrible gay stereotypes. You must consider that it’s based off a French play, which was later adapted into an English musical, so naturally that adds to the over the top factor. I understand how the subject can be offensive to some, it’s a side-effect of comedy which we can accept or just ignore. One scene that a friend of mine noted for being a standout is when Williams’ character is trying to get Nathan Lane’s character to act more masculine while buttering a piece of bread. Thankfully some wonderful individual has put this on YouTube because a description alone would not do it justice.
Good Will Hunting earned Williams an Oscar. All in all it’s a great film. His character gives such insight to people so it’s really hard to pick just one moment. The chemistry between him and Matt Damon is incredible and the lessons he teaches Damon’s character are also being instilled on us, the audience. This just makes this film more awesome. I think people will be quoting the advice in which he states that a person cannot really understand and feel loss until they love something more than themselves.
I have a confession to make, I was 14 and an angry young individual when I first saw Dead Poet’s Society and dismissed it as an overly bloated piece of rubbish. Then I re-watched it a few years later because I noticed one of my best friends was quoting it all the time. I don’t know how I missed the weight of those quotes then, but damn. It should be obvious that with the very word in the title, Dead Poet’s Society has a lot to say on the subject of life and death.
Today more than ever those lines, especially about death ring out as we see Williams not as the teacher he played in the film, but as the tragic student Neil, a character despite outward appearances and being loved by friends, ends up taking his own life. This film is not a bad place to start for anyone who wants to try to understand depression. It shows the overwhelming weight of the illness and how despite all the love, sometimes you get to a place where words can no longer reach. I know I said I wasn’t going to focus on Williams’ death, but I really can’t dismiss the parallels of the movie and Williams’ real life.
He made us laugh, he made us cry, he gave us words to live by and instilled lessons on us but above all else he was a great gift to all and he will be greatly missed. RIP Robin Williams.