My favorite Robin William’s movies (a remembrance)
It’s such a surreal thing, truth be told I didn’t consider myself a big Robin Williams fan but after hearing of his passing I could only visualize the huge impact he made on many people’s lives and not a couple of questionable movies he had made. At one time and some point he was there to entertain you, if you grew up in the 70s you might remember him as a manic comedian or as a lovable alien on TV, in the 80s you knew him as that funny man in movies, in the 90s he had been a part of larger family fare but we also got to meet Robin the serious actor, there was then his “blue period” during the new millennium watching him branch out towards more serious and experimental films and finally coming full circle into present times trying to make you laugh in every way he could as that funny man in movies. There has probably been a Robin Williams for everyone, and what better way to honor a man than by remembering his works. These films have been ranked mostly by a personal nostalgic factor.
Honorable Mention: Deconstructing Harry
I found the movie itself forgettable and one of Woody Allen’s weakest but the one redeeming factor and the one moment that stuck with me was Robin Williams as an actor who happens to be out of focus, he’s literally blurry, it’s only a small segment of the film but the only one I will always remember.
10 – Popeye
This might be the first movie I saw that had Williams in it, it certainly is outdated and far from great but it holds a special place in my heart as a movie I saw several times as a kid, me and my cousins used to play “Attack of the giant octopus” inspired by the film’s climatic scene and will always remember how disgusting the spinach looked.
” If I was gonna be Swee’Pea’s mother, I should’ve at least let Olive be his father. Or viska versa. I ain’t man enough to be no mother.”
9 – Toys
I still remember seeing the trailer for this one and being excited for it, I loved the use of colors and was seduced by the weirdness of it all, also, it was named Toys, and I liked (and still do) toys. I was a bit disappointed when I finally saw it but there was a lot take from the film to make it memorable, like the Rene Magritte inspired sequences that were part of the unique visual style of the film.
“In the words of Barbie, ‘I had a dream house.'”
8 – Jumanji
A very clever film with state of the art effects (at least for its time) that pulled you into the story of a board game with much too real consequences. Rampant elephants, crazy monkeys, hunters, lions, spiders, quicksand. It was full of imagination as was Williams as a trapped boy who grew up inside the game surviving for years in the jungles of Jumanji.
“Stop giving me things that come apart!”
7 – Hook
This film wasn’t well received but to hell with those critics, Hook had various things going for it. Dustin Hoffman as Hook, Bob Hoskins as Smee, the lost boys, sword fights, pirates, flying, a full return to Neverland and of course Williams as and adult Peter Pan. It answered the question “What if Peter Pan grew up?” it was a live action repurposing of a classic children’s tale before that became the cool thing to do.
“Thank you for believing”
6 – What Dreams May Come
Once more, Williams is a part of a very distinctive and visually beautiful film, it was the end of the 90s and great computer effects merged with unique storytelling at the same time that Robin Williams’ funny persona was intertwined with his dramatic abilities to great effect.
“A whole human life is just a heartbeat here in Heaven. Then we’ll all be together forever.”
5 – Mrs. Doubtfire
The quintessential Robin Williams movie, it’s funny, it’s touching, tolerably childish and mature enough to be enjoyable with some adult humor sprinkled in, a plain ol’ wholesome family fun flick. It’s as funny as you’re going to get when dealing with dudes looking like ladies.
“Touch me again, and I’ll drown you, you bastard.”
4 – The Fisher King
This could be the beginning of William’s love affair with unique and visually compelling fantasy drama hybrids. 3 years before The Fisher King he had a bit part in The Adventures of Baron Munchausen which was perfect for his unrestrained comic self but in The Fisher King he tightens the drama teaming up with Jeff Bridges and Terry Gilliam to create a tale of love, guilt, madness, tragedy and the holy grail.
“There’s three things in this world that you need: Respect for all kinds of life, a nice bowel movement on a regular basis, and a navy blazer.”
3 – Awakenings
A very restrained and a straightforward approach was the way to go when dealing with a movie that dealt with true life events, Williams managed to stand his ground against a heavyweight like Robert DeNiro and still snuck up a couple of funny scenes here and there.
“I’m sorry, if you were right, I would agree with you.”
2 – Good Will Hunting
This is when those who were not paying attention noticed William’s acting chops, he was but a supporting actor that handled the weight of the movie and brought the strength needed especially for the meatiest and most iconic scene in the film. A feat that brought him his much deserved Oscar.
“You’re not perfect, sport, and let me save you the suspense: this girl you’ve met, she’s not perfect either. But the question is whether or not you’re perfect for each other.”
1 – Aladdin
This is what you got when you let Robin Williams loose, no one else could fill William’s pointy shoes concerning the phenomenally cosmically powerful Genie, a singing, zing a minute, tender, funny and memorable performance. The most famous voice acting job in history, it managed to get award circuits talking. Should we, could we give out an award towards a performance you can’t really see but that you can only hear? The Golden Globes didn’t know how to handle it so they gave him a special award for his appropriation of The Genie. He was one of the factors responsible for making Aladdin one of the best Disney films ever.
“You have been a fabulous audience! Tell you what, you’re the best audience in the whole world. Take care of yourselves! Good night, Alice! Good night, Agrabah! Adios, amigos!”
Robin Williams was nothing if not versatile and it showed with his film selections. Even during certain slumps you could see him hitting some high notes and each time trying to do something different. Wether it was Teddy Rosevelt, a couple of penguins, a detestable father or a detestable music mentor.
Oh Captin my captain, as I write this, I decided to right a wrong by watching Death Poets Society. Not having watched it may be a sin as a film geek but what better time than now, seize the day did they not say? It may not have appeared on this list but I have a feeling it’s deserving of a spot somewhere in it, as with many other Robin Williams’ films. They are but the works of poetry, beauty, romance, love and these are what we stay alive for. Rest in peace Robin Williams and thank you for all the memories.
Let us not turn to sadness but remember the joy that was brought upon us. What did I miss? What’s your favorite Robin Williams’ movie? Feel free to share your choices.