Tuesday, August 12, 2014

#763. Pan the Man, off to an awfully big adventure

Rest in peace, Robin Williams.

In a lot of ways, his defining role was the adult Peter Pan in Hook.  I always loved this movie.  Rewatching it today had the effect of helping me realize something important not just about the movie, but J.M. Barrie's creation in general, that lost little boys and pirates are very much the same except: the ability to embrace happiness and family (which may be one and the same).  You may or may not know how Williams struggled in recent years with a divorce that gutted the financial legacy of a career that was sadly in decline.  He was a man who embodied joy in his best moments, but knew pain as well as any clown.  In the end, it seems his demons won out.  He is not a cautionary tale, though, but a model we can only hope to improve upon.  Hence Peter Pan.  Hence learning what he tried to teach, to live.  The little boy who didn't want to grow up, and succeeded in that aim for an awfully long time.
via G8ors

I haven't seen all of Williams' films.  I haven't seen Good Morning, Vietnam, haven't seen The Birdcage.  I loved everything I ever saw him in, though.  I loved Dead Poets Society (who doesn't?).  I loved Awakenings.  I loved The Fisher King.  I loved Aladdin.  I loved Mrs. Doubtfire.  I loved Flubber.  I loved Good Will Hunting.  I loved Patch Adams.  I loved Bicentennial Man.  I loved Insomnia.  I loved One Hour Photo.  I loved Happy Feet.  I loved License to Wed.  His cameos in The Adventures of Baron Munchausen and A.I. Artificial Intelligence were crucial additions to brilliant films.  What Dreams May Come will perhaps one day be discovered for the great work of art it is.

The real tragedy is that he became so easy to take for granted.  He was a treasure, truly one of a kind.  He seemed to have boundless energy.  In his dark roles he was dark indeed.  Many of his roles, even his comedic ones, seemed tinged with darkness.  But his smile was infectious, a face born to smile.  If he never told a joke he'd probably still light up a room.  I have no idea why critics found it increasingly easy to dismiss him.  I have no idea why they hated Patch Adams so much.  That was his last big hit, too.  He was last seen on television in the midst of a comeback in The Crazy Ones.

6 comments:

DAVID WALSTON said...

I have read that he still has at least 4 more movies that will come out. I guess they are in post production.

Spacer Guy said...

He was a great entertainer who lit up our lives with sunshine. RIP Robin.

Tony Laplume said...

One of those remaining films is a third Night at the Museum, where he reprises his Teddy Roosevelt.

The Armchair Squid said...

It's a stunning loss. Dead Poets Society, in particular, is a treasure for new generations to rediscover over and over again. RIP

Shannon Lawrence said...

His death has hit people harder than other celebrity deaths. He was deep in the psyches of a lot of people. So many of us grew up watching him. I hope he knew that he brought happiness to a lot of people.

Tony Laplume said...

I think part of his anxiety was that he had been forgotten.

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