3 August 2015

Robin Williams Was Misrepresented By The Masses

When Robin Williams died there was a genuine outpouring of love and mourning for a man that seemed to be genuinely close to most peoples hearts. For me, I'd say the key to this though is that most people are idiots. They saw his shit films when they were younger and yet to develop a true appreciation of cinema. Bear with me with this... I'm not a prick- I'm going somewhere! Most people aren't interested in the French New Wave or the history of German expressionism. I've tried to watch films several times with my Mum since I became obsessed with the medium and every time was a complete failure. She made me turn off Taxi Driver because it was old, Superman Returns because she remembered there were dishes to wash, and Memento because to quote her “What the fuck is going on”. I understand the problem though and it's simply that most people have more of a life than I do. Films for the masses are just a mixture of light and colours that can be stared at until we're all a little closer to death. In that respect, I suppose there's no way that Flubber can't be said to have done its job. It wasn't funny, well made, or in any way tolerable, but there's no denying that it had a duration.


The reason that Williams seems to be close to so many peoples hearts is that he appeared in family films and kids are more open to crap than even stupid adults are. People in their twenties now love shit like Bicentennial Man because when they were young, their parents put it on to make them shut the hell up. Nostalgia is the reason that people who are my age are mourning the loss of Robin Williams and for me this is an injustice. In fact, every single thing about his death has been seriously fucking annoying. On the one side you've got people blabbering shit about how great he was in fucking Patch Adams and on the other you've got the media reporting his private life like the shit-hunting maggots that they are. I don't care about his fucking shit films and I don't care about his fucking money troubles. I don't care about Mork And Fucking Mindy or the fact that he may have had early signs of Parkinson's. I don't care that he hung himself with his belt and I certainly don't need to see the final photographs of him alive. The bad films are fucking terrible and the fact that he has died just isn't going to change that. The way he killed himself and the reasons for it are simply none of our business and I think anybody who wants to pry should slink away into their own shallow grave that's simply marked 'Twat'. Just because somebody becomes famous for pretending to be other people, that doesn't mean that we're entitled to know every single thing about them.   

I don't want you to think though that I don't care about him and that I didn't find his death upsetting because in both cases I did. Believe it or not, I too was a stupid child at one point and so even though I now know better, I too hold that nostalgic disease in my heart. I remember laughing when Mrs Doubtfire set her tits on fire which I'd like to think was more thanks to his slapstick performance than an ingrained sense of misogyny in my childhood self. There was even a period in my life where I didn't see Patch Adams as being the sanctimonious, tear-jerking, arse-dribble of shite that it clearly is. I didn't love it, but simply not hating it as much as I do now still fills with me shame. There was however at least one kids film that he did which was genuinely brilliant; Aladdin. Sure it might be a little racist in the way that the hero randomly seems to be a white American whereas the villain is a little more foreign-y looking, but you know... at the very least it could be argued that William's work here was fairly revolutionary. I could be wrong but from what I can gather, that was a film where they let him just riff and improvise before animating around what he'd done and how he'd done it. If he wasn't the first to do that then he was certainly the first to be so successful at it and I'm pretty sure that's now a standard for how these things are made. I also heard that his improvisation on that film was so heavy that he essentially disqualified the film from any writing categories at the Oscars. I know he'd already done work on Fern Gully beforehand but Aladdin is one of my favourite Disney films- and I didn't really like Fern Gully... So fuck it.   

After his death his family issued statements saying that they wish for us to remember him for his work and not for how he died, and so it really is a shame that most people associate him with all of the shit. It was actually a similar kind of situation with Patrick Swayze I think, in that I had almost no interest in any film he'd done until I saw Donnie DarkoSwayze got typecast in roles in which he was the sexually charged love interest to the lead character such as in Dirty Dancing or Point Break, but I always just thought he was a bit fucking weird. Then I saw him as the paedophile in Donnie Darko and I suddenly understood him. If Swayze had spent his working life playing creepy serial killers or creepy child abusers or creepy rapists then I think he'd have been pretty good. As it stands, I could never buy him as the creepy love interest because we weren't meant to think they were as creepy as they clearly were. Williams on the other hand was typecast as the zany comedian in films that were rubbish which was a shame because he was so much more than that. On the surface he might have been mad and rambling, but as has sadly been proven, below this there ran a river of pain and anguish. Even the Genie had his depressing moments. The Genie's personality was just like Williams' in that he used his hyperactivity as a distraction for and from his misery. Do you think he had fun in that lamp? That blue fucker didn't have those gold things around his wrist to enslave him, but to simply stop him from freeing himself in a warm bath with a razor blade. Even Disney agrees with me on that- to mourn Williams' loss, they used their social media to share a picture of the unshackled Genie alongside the caption “You're Free Now, Genie”. Disney there clearly condoning suicide as a suitable escape from pain! 

Family films aside though there are at least two other movies that I can think of that continue with this idea and they are The Fisher King and One Hour Photo. In that first film, he again plays a man who hides his depression behind his humour and his imagination. In the second one, he plays a man whose main motivation in life is his crippling loneliness. As an actor, Williams was a hell of a lot more impressive in these two things than he had been in anything else, ever. In fact, he was a hell of a lot more impressive in these two things than most actors are in anything. Let's also not forget that he also put in a fucking brilliant performance as the sinister author in Christopher Nolan's wrongly forgotten Insomnia. In case you've not seen it then he plays a man who tries to find friendship with the policeman whose investigating him for murder. There's no denying that Robin Williams was an icon- and clearly fucking hilarious too. I've seen at least one of his stand-ups and I was laughing within seconds. Even in interviews the man seemed really, really funny... but as much as it's tragic that his comedy was rarely used well in his movies, it's also a tragedy that he wasn't given more dramas to do too. At this point, Insomnia is the last great film from Al Pacino before he descended into his weird 'hoo-ha' noises and shat all over his legacy by appearing in Jack And Jill. Despite this though, we don't remember that film for its great performance from one of the worlds greatest actors, but rather because it was another sporadic glint of Williams' rarely tapped and more impressively restrained genius.  

Like I say though, it's most likely going to be those shit family films from the 90's that most people remember him for, and this really is a shame. It's a shame that people don't realise how good he really was and it's a shame that he was rarely given the chance to show them. Having said that, as bad as some of the comedies might have been, there's no denying that his likeability is what makes them watchable. Adam Sandler also makes crap films and he just comes across as a fucking sinister lunatic with a split personality and anger issues. Williams on the other hand always managed to come across as a really kind-hearted guy. There's a sweetness and innocence to many of his performances that are far more affecting than the syrupy sentimentality that some heavy handed director has drenched their otherwise shit film in. I'll admit too that I didn't realise that I was as big a fan of Robin Williams as his death made me realise that I am. They say that you shouldn't speak ill of the dead but I just think of that as being hypocritical bullshit. If somebody was a twat when they were alive, then a lack of life isn't going to suddenly change that and so why lie about it? I can't pretend that I enjoy fucking Flubber or R.V. and I think that Patch Adams was so terrible that the pain it now causes my brain must make it eligible for assault charges. But nor can I pretend that despite what he'll be remembered for, Williams was clearly an icon. He was an amazing actor when he was given the chance to be and there aren't many people who have justifiably worked their way into quite so many hearts. I might not be a fan of  most of his work but I was definitely a fan of him and those few glimmers of genius that we were lucky enough to see. The world of cinema is a quieter, less hairy, and slightly more boring place without him. Thanks for reading motherfuckers, and see you next time.


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