Robin Williams: Greatest Hits
THE news about the late great Robin Williams has taken a while to settle down and I’m not surprised. He was a legendary actor and comedian and in light of this, 22 Irish cinemas are going to screen Good Will Hunting on August 26 with all proceeds (€10 a ticket) going to Pieta House. Arguably, one of Robin Williams’ greatest roles was his Oscar-winning performance in Good Will Hunting and it is a fitting tribute to the legend that most of us grew up with. We would like to take this time to run through some of his other great movies.
Good Morning, Vietnam
Released in 1987, Good Morning, Vietnam is a war-comedy movie set in Saigon in 1965 during the Vietnam War. Williams plays a radio DJ on Armed Forces Radio Service who proves popular with the troops but infuriates his superiors with his lack of respect for the serious situation they find themselves in. The story is loosely based on the experiences of AFRS radio DJ Adrian Cronauer. Most of William’s radio broadcasts were improvised and the line “Goooooooooodmorning, Vietnam” has gained something of a cult following among Williams’ fans
Mrs Doubtfire is probably the first Robin Williams (non-cartoon) movie that us 90s kids saw. Released in 1993 it instantly became a hit with kids everywhere. It has ranked 67th in the American Film Institute’s 100 Years, 100 Laughs: America’s Funniest Movies, a list of the 100 funniest movies of the 20th century. In it Williams plays Daniel, a talented but unemployed voice actor and devoted father. Once a divorce is sought by his wife, she is given custody of the kids. Heartbroken, he decides to pose as a pleasant and kind elderly Scottish nanny, Mrs Doubtfire. A cross dressing nanny can only have hilarious outcomes and in my opinion, this role shows Williams’ acting strength. Williams had committed to a sequel of Mrs Doubtfire at the time of his death.
Jumanji was released in 1995 and was an adaption of the 1981 book of the same name. The story centres on 12-year-old Alan who gets trapped in the Jumanji game while playing it with his friend Sarah in 1969. 26 years later, orphans Judy and Peter Shepherd release the now-adult Alan who is played by Williams. After finding Sarah they realise that the only way to undo the destruction that the game has caused is to finish it. Once finished, Alan and Sarah are transported back to 1969 but have full memories of what happened. They throw the game in a river weighted down by bricks and start a relationship. 25 years later, Alan and Sarah meet the Shepherds and get them to cancel their trip, meaning that Judy and Peter never become orphans. The movie closes with two young girls hearing the sounds of drum beats as Jumanji lies buried in the sand. While this was open for a sequel and rumours circulated in 2002, it was never made.
Jack is one of Williams’ more serious roles and was released in 1996. Born premature but with a rare disorder that means he ages at a rate four times as fast as normal children, Jack must grows up fast physically but mentally he develops at the same rate as everyone else. At 10 years old, he is in the body of a 40-year-old man. Initially home-schooled to protect him from being bullied his parents are talked into enrolling him in public school. Here the kids exploit him to win at basketball against bullies and eventually to get adult magazines and other items. As time passes however, he is accepted by his peers. After realising his time may be running out he tries to act like a grown man sneaking out to get drunk and hit on women. After being arrested he locks himself in his room but his friends are determined to get him outside to play. 7 years later as his high school class valedictorian he reminds his classmates that life is short, and urges them to “make your life spectacular.”
Dead Poets Society
Seize the day! That’s what 1989’s Dead Poets Society taught us. Williams plays John Keating, an English teacher who inspires his students through his love of piety and unorthodox way of teaching. He instructs his students to rip pages from their text books, stand on their desks and revive the school literary club – the Dead Poets Society – to which he himself had belonged. He insists that “Language was invented for one reason, boys – to woo women – and, in that endeavour, laziness will not do.” For many Williams will also be remembered as “O Captain! My Captain!”
Genie was probably one of Williams’ most iconic roles especially for those of us who were young children in the 90s. The Disney movie tells the story of a poor boy who is ordered to steal a magic lamp from the Cave of Wonders by evil Jafar but ends up stealing it from Jafar after he tries to kill him. He releases Genie (Williams) from the lamp and is granted three wishes. He promises to use his last wish to free Genie from the lamp. He wishes to become a prince so that he can woo Princess Jasmine. There is much to-ing and fro-ing between Aladdin and Jafar stealing the lamp from each other. Whoever is in possession of the lamp is Genie’s master. Eventually Jafar uses his final wish to turn himself into a Genie without realising that Genies are tied to their vessels until someone wishes them free. His lamp is banished to the Cave of Wonders and Aladdin frees Genie so that he can explore the world.
“Genie, you’re free!”
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