Robin Williams (1951-2014)

Discuss films and filmmakers of the 20th century (and even a little of the 19th century). Threads may contain spoilers.
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tavernier
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Re: Robin Williams (1951-2014)

#26 Post by tavernier » Mon Aug 11, 2014 10:32 pm

Only Conan, Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers have new shows this week, so Dave's (and the others') comments will have to wait.

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Re: Robin Williams (1951-2014)

#27 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Mon Aug 11, 2014 10:40 pm

Actually what Goldberg might say tomorrow (if she's even on) will be interesting in light of this

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Re: Robin Williams (1951-2014)

#28 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Tue Aug 12, 2014 12:06 am

mfunk9786 wrote:
Oedipax wrote:The interview Marc Maron did with him on his podcast a few years ago I think really did a lot for my appreciation of his work and just him as a person overall. Apparently they're going to put that interview back up in the free feed sometime soon, probably once Marc can record a new intro for it.
This is now up on the WTF podcast stream.
Listening to this now. Maron gives a very emotional opening intro as one would expect.

Numero Trois
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Re: Robin Williams (1951-2014)

#29 Post by Numero Trois » Tue Aug 12, 2014 2:52 am

FrauBlucher wrote:If anyone sees comments from Billy Crystal or Whoopi Goldberg, please post or link.
It may be a while with the latter. CNN Outfront tried to contact her- she was too shattered to reply.

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Re: Robin Williams (1951-2014)

#30 Post by Movie-Brat » Tue Aug 12, 2014 2:59 am

I heard Jeff Bridges caught wind of his death during the premiere of The Giver. He was choking up during interviews.

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tenia
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Re: Robin Williams (1951-2014)

#31 Post by tenia » Tue Aug 12, 2014 3:00 am

The Narrator Returns wrote:I get the feeling it's semi-unpopular around here, but his performance in One Hour Photo is probably his all-time best. Stripped of his manic energy, with only the slightest mask of humanity separating people from his inner emptiness. He should have had at least ten more roles like it.
My favorite of his performances for sure.

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Re: Robin Williams (1951-2014)

#32 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Aug 12, 2014 4:01 am

I particularly loved his earlier roles in which he was able to be a bit spikier and political with his comedy. The World According To Garp is for me one of his key roles because it shows a fundamentally sunny character (optimistically buying the house that a light aircraft has just crashed into because "it's been pre-disastered!") turning into bitter sadness over the betrayals in life, and life just not working out the way he hoped it would be, through that to a new, semi-broken relationship with others broken people together against an empty world. Or his great Russian asylum seeker in Moscow On The Hudson (To a store security guard in broken English: "I....defect", to be met by the response: "No, you ain't doing that here, there's a bathroom over there!"). And Good Will Hunting was an amazingly spiky, sympathetic but unafraid to be unlikable, performance as the psychiatric counsellor, full of frustration at his own failings.

In a strange way I see him as having the same kind of problematic career as Eddie Murphy (and Goldberg and Crystal) - adult orientated, occasionally unlikable characters in still very funny films then getting steadily diluted in completely empty-headed blockbuster comedy vehicles aimed at family audiences. Mrs Doubtfire is a supreme example of a film where the only reason to watch it is to see Williams brilliantly doing schtick - there is no real substance there, or if there is something about broken families and pre-Fathers For Justice style fathers being separated from their kids and having to 'go undercover', it is a very simplistic one (and it of course treats the new step-father as a monster at worst and an irrelevance at best). But unlike Murphy post the mawkish Patch Adams and Bicentennial Man he seemed to be getting a better post-stardom handle on his career with darker and more interesting roles.

Oh my, What Dreams May Come (which also suffers from mawkishness but is overall still a beautifully touching film), is also going to be a heck of a hard watch, particularly for that problematic sequence in which Williams searches for his wife being tormented in Purgatory/Hell, where she went because she committed suicide after her family's deaths, and has to wrestle with abandoning her there because there because of her soul being eternally trapped in a cycle of grief.

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Roger Ryan
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Re: Robin Williams (1951-2014)

#33 Post by Roger Ryan » Tue Aug 12, 2014 8:06 am

Perhaps due to his own struggles, Williams wasn't afraid to take on roles that showed him in an uncomfortable or malevolent light. This is what lifted him above being just that guy who does PATCH ADAMS variations. Not that his straight-forward funny guy persona could not be endearing, but the darker roles are the ones that resonate. For all of the expected whimsy of THE FISHER KING, the Williams moment that devastates me is when he squeaks out a desperate "thank you" to the street punk that slashes him with a knife. The psycho killer performances are chilling, of course, but I think his best work may be as the self-absorbed, opportunistic titular character in WORLD'S GREATEST DAD. I'm grateful he took these chances and this is the work I'll remember him for.

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Re: Robin Williams (1951-2014)

#34 Post by rspaight » Tue Aug 12, 2014 8:49 am

The "Bop Gun" episode of Homicide: Life On The Street was another non-comedic highlight. The scene where he confronts Daniel Baldwin is a showstopper.

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Feego
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Re: Robin Williams (1951-2014)

#35 Post by Feego » Tue Aug 12, 2014 11:25 am

colinr0380 wrote:Mrs Doubtfire is a supreme example of a film where the only reason to watch it is to see Williams brilliantly doing schtick - there is no real substance there, or if there is something about broken families and pre-Fathers For Justice style fathers being separated from their kids and having to 'go undercover', it is a very simplistic one (and it of course treats the new step-father as a monster at worst and an irrelevance at best).
I disagree with this to some extent. Oh sure, Mrs. Doubtfire is a simplistic film primarily meant to be a crowd-pleaser, but I did not find Brosnan's character to be a monster. Quite the contrary, I've always liked the fact that he seems to be a genuinely sweet guy. He is clearly drawn to Sally Field without ulterior motives and loves her kids. Yes, he's a mostly 2-dimensional character, but he's not a villain. I think it's a credit to both the film and Williams that the main character often comes off as a jerk, and we completely understand why Sally Field has no desire to live with him anymore.

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Re: Robin Williams (1951-2014)

#36 Post by Movie-Brat » Tue Aug 12, 2014 1:35 pm

Feego wrote:I disagree with this to some extent. Oh sure, Mrs. Doubtfire is a simplistic film primarily meant to be a crowd-pleaser, but I did not find Brosnan's character to be a monster. Quite the contrary, I've always liked the fact that he seems to be a genuinely sweet guy. He is clearly drawn to Sally Field without ulterior motives and loves her kids. Yes, he's a mostly 2-dimensional character, but he's not a villain. I think it's a credit to both the film and Williams that the main character often comes off as a jerk, and we completely understand why Sally Field has no desire to live with him anymore.
Seconded. Say what you will about Mrs. Doubtfire but at least it didn't take the cheap route which really would have been an easy way out had they went with the idea of the new boyfriend being jerk and hate kids just to make the main character look good but they didn't. Heck, they didn't even go for the Williams and Field characters to get married again. They stay divorced, kudos.

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Re: Robin Williams (1951-2014)

#37 Post by hearthesilence » Tue Aug 12, 2014 4:29 pm

In an assessment of the '90s, at least two critics in Film Comment mentioned Williams, with Jonathan Romney writing that his films during that time were "the single most glaring example of Hollywood's misuse of talent and abuse of charisma," a sentiment echoed by Peter Rainer.

The best example of his brilliance isn't his movies or his turn as Mork, it's in his free-associative stand up, alone on stage when he had free reign to go anywhere he wanted. The stuff he did in the late '70s through the mid 80's was probably his peak, and his HBO specials certainly make his films look sanitized. The two most popular ones are probably his 1986 set at the Met in NYC and (my preference) the 1982 show he did in San Francisco, which frames an otherwise amazing set with an awkward device of him playing a character that sells newspapers on the street. There's a moment in that set involving a bird's eye camera that evokes a genuinely great film that was never made, a live action Duck Amuck-like comedy with Williams rolling with the ever-shifting cinematic world around him. (Actually, Sherlock Jr. is a bit like that, but regardless...)


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domino harvey
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Re: Robin Williams (1951-2014)

#39 Post by domino harvey » Tue Aug 12, 2014 4:55 pm

This was a fantastic read

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Re: Robin Williams (1951-2014)

#40 Post by j99 » Wed Aug 13, 2014 2:47 am

The Narrator Returns wrote:I get the feeling it's semi-unpopular around here, but his performance in One Hour Photo is probably his all-time best. Stripped of his manic energy, with only the slightest mask of humanity separating people from his inner emptiness. He should have had at least ten more roles like it.
Definitely a highlight for me. I preferred him when he was playing darker characters. Pity there weren't too many like this.

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Re: Robin Williams (1951-2014)

#41 Post by George Drooly » Wed Aug 13, 2014 5:57 am

86's Seize the Day is one of his serious performances that almost never get mentioned. Not a great film... maybe not a great performance... but a thoroughly committed one, completely desperate from start to finish.

Also agree with the World's Greatest Dad recommendations. Brilliant film and brilliant performance. Perhaps the smartest film about art made in the last decade or more. (Another being Art School Confidential.)

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dad1153
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Re: Robin Williams (1951-2014)

#42 Post by dad1153 » Wed Aug 13, 2014 6:19 am

colinr0380 wrote:Oh my, What Dreams May Come (which also suffers from mawkishness but is overall still a beautifully touching film), is also going to be a heck of a hard watch, particularly for that problematic sequence in which Williams searches for his wife being tormented in Purgatory/Hell, where she went because she committed suicide after her family's deaths, and has to wrestle with abandoning her there because there because of her soul being eternally trapped in a cycle of grief.
I saw it last night. Yes, it's a tough watch but if you're with the movie up to that point (and I'm personally on board more for the chemistry between Williams and Annabella Sciorra than the award-winning effects, which look a little iffy now but are still amazingly creative) and since he's trying to talk her out of suicide (with Annie basically the real-life Williams surrogate) it goes down much easier than if it where Chris the one contemplating suicide.

God, this and "Awakenings" are my favorite Robin Williams movies. They could be easily categorized as schmaltzy feel-good Hollywood schlock, but Williams truly commits to the roles (along with his co-stars in these particular films) and that inner core shines with a sincerity that transcends the material.

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Re: Robin Williams (1951-2014)

#43 Post by domino harvey » Wed Aug 13, 2014 11:15 am


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Re: Robin Williams (1951-2014)

#44 Post by FrauBlucher » Wed Aug 13, 2014 1:04 pm

domino harvey wrote:The internet does it again
Unbelievable. Classless scumbags.

Anyway...A surprising Williams film becomes a point of interest. The DVD is sold out on Amazon.

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Re: Robin Williams (1951-2014)

#45 Post by mfunk9786 » Wed Aug 13, 2014 1:46 pm

domino harvey wrote:The internet does it again
To say they were "photoshopped images" doesn't hardly say what it was - I saw this picture last night and felt genuinely traumatized by it, less so now that I find out the story behind it. Someone scoured the internet for an image from some sort of Spanish(?) 'gore blog' consisting of morgue photos of people who had died of asphyxiation, and found an image of a man's face and neck that looked very, very much like Williams that was posted a couple of years ago. It began circulating on Twitter and, I am not a naiive person who is easily fooled, I was completely horrified. It looked very, very real, and there was little discussion of it not being real, just that people were upset that it was making the rounds. This is the photo that those two monsters were tweeting to Williams' daughter, along with comments like "look what you did to him," and worse. Luckily, people mobilized and got Twitter to get rid of these accounts somewhat quickly, but the damage was likely already done. I really hope that Williams, despite this being little solace, at least knows now that the photo was not actually of her father.

The internet can be a really horrible place.

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Re: Robin Williams (1951-2014)

#46 Post by Movie-Brat » Wed Aug 13, 2014 2:09 pm

domino harvey wrote:The internet does it again
Apparently the sympathy did not occur to them. It's enough to justified misanthropy really.
FrauBlucher wrote:Anyway...A surprising Williams film becomes a point of interest. The DVD is sold out on Amazon.
On a positive note I guess, wow. Of all the films, that's the film that people go for? Oh don't get me wrong, nothing against the film-I intend on seeing it myself. Just that I'm surprised it's getting more attention. In my case though, I watched Death to Smoochy last night which still holds up years after I last watched it. Though there is the attempted suicide scene in the film where Rainbow Randolph tries to burn himself which...yeah, that's kind of awkward given this week. At least he had a redemption arc though.

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Re: Robin Williams (1951-2014)

#47 Post by domino harvey » Wed Aug 13, 2014 2:26 pm

If one really wants their blood to boil, go check the Reddit tracking the phony social activists of Tumblr, many of whom had a field day complaining about another rich white guy dying being more important than _________. There were so many examples that the mods of that Reddit had to call for a moratorium on posts highlighting new examples

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Re: Robin Williams (1951-2014)

#48 Post by Movie-Brat » Wed Aug 13, 2014 2:29 pm

Like I said, it's enough to justified misanthropy. I, you know what? I'll let that speak for itself.

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Re: Robin Williams (1951-2014)

#49 Post by swo17 » Wed Aug 13, 2014 2:32 pm

domino harvey wrote:If one really wants their blood to boil, go check the Reddit tracking the phony social activists of Tumblr
Presumably I should be proud of myself for not even knowing how one is meant to read anything at that link? It looks like a stock exchange crawl for unimportant opinions.

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Re: Robin Williams (1951-2014)

#50 Post by domino harvey » Wed Aug 13, 2014 2:43 pm

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