Tag Archives: Robin Williams

Thought On The 25th Anniversary Of Aladdin

25 years ago today, Aladdin hit theaters.

Loosely based (and I do mean loosely based) on the folktale One Thousand and One Nights, Aladdin (Scott Weinger) is an orphaned boy living on the streets in fictional Agrabah.  He falls in love with Princess Jasmine (voiced by Linda Larkin) and asks Genie (voiced by the late and sorely missed Robin Williams) to make him a prince. But the king’s right hand man, Jafar (voiced by Jonathan Freeman) sees through Aladdin’s disguise and has plans to use Aladdin and Genie for his own ends.

As much as my former child self adores this movie, my adult self has a few qualms about this movie.

  • These characters are stereotypes. I get that this Disney’s attempt at cultural sensitivity and multiculturalism, but their attempt is merely an attempt, not a success.
  • Jasmine is 15 and an unnatural size 2. She is also the only major female character and tries to come off as a strong female character, but doesn’t really come off as the creative team intended.
  • All of the actors are Caucasian. Not even the scene stealing performance of Robin Williams can dull that fact.
  • The ending can be seen a mile away.
  • There is a subliminal message about underage teenage sex. Stop the video below at :19.

While more current adaptations of the movie (including the stage production, the upcoming movie with Will Smith as Genie and the reboot via Once Upon A Time have tried to correct the errors of the 1992 film, there are some things about this film that as a thirty something, doesn’t sit well with me.

Readers, what are your thoughts about this film? I would be curious to know.

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Filed under Fairy Tales, Feminism, Movies, Once Upon A Time, Television

Flashback Friday-Flubber (1997)

The archetype of the professor who is book smart, but street dumb has existed for many generations and has been used by multiple writers over the years. The question becomes how does a writer use this archetype without creating a 2D, predictable character?

In 1997, the late Robin Williams starred in Flubber (a reboot of the 1961 movie The Absent Minded Professor starring Fred MacMurray). Professor Philip Brainard (Williams) is working on creating a substance that will save on the energy bills for the college in which is he is employed by. While the creation of the substance called Flubber is a success, his personal life is taking a downturn. His wedding to his fiance, Dr. Sara Jean Reynolds (Marcia Gay Harden) has been postponed twice. Will he choose his career and his creation or will he finally walk down the aisle?

This movie is very interesting. On one hand it is a reboot with Robin Williams playing the lead as only he can. But on the other hand, it feels like a generic family comedy without any elements that make the film standout.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Robin Williams-Gone Three Years Today

Today we remember the late, great Robin Williams who took his own life three years ago. He is sorely missed for his humor, his heart and his own unique brand of comedy that can never be duplicated.

When I think of Robin Williams, I think of one of my favorite childhood movies, Hook. There was no other actor who could have portrayed that character of the adult Peter Pan so perfectly.

His death also reminds me of how mental illness and depression specifically are not one size fits all diseases. For some people depression means staying home all day, mindlessly watching television and afraid to step out the door. For others, it means scheduling every moment of their day so they don’t have to face what is brewing inside them. For another group, it means putting on the mask and doing what has to be done, even though all they want to do is lay on the couch and watch television.

If I take away anything from his death (in addition to recent and heartbreaking loss of Chester Bennington), is that we need a new approach to treating mental illness. We also need to remove the stigma of mental health to allow those suffering to receive treatment openly and honestly.

Z”l Robin Williams. You are truly missed and loved.

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Throwback Thursday-Good Morning Vietnam (1987)

The Vietnam War was one of the most brutal and controversial wars in recent memory.

In 1987’s Good Morning Vietnam, it is 1965. Adrian Cronauer (the late and sorely missed Robin Williams) is a Airman and a radio DJ sent to Vietnam to entertain the troops and bring some reminder of home. His unorthodox personality and on air persona does not go over well with some of the military higher-ups on the base. Though he is not on the front lines, he will experience the war in a very real and raw manner.

What strikes me about this movie is that while it is very funny at points, it is very dark and hard to watch at other points. The brutality and destruction that war brings is not lost on either the audience or Adrian.

I absolutely recommend it.

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The New Jumanji Movie-Why?

The trailer for the new Jumanji reboot has just been released.

I have one question and one question only: why did this movie need to be re-made?

The 1995 original movie, starring the late and sorely missed Robin Williams is to my mind, a new classic. It’s an adventure film with the perfect Robin Williams twist.

I have nothing against The Rock, or Karen Gillian, but why a) is she the only female and b) why as usual is so skinny and her costume tiny?

Only time will tell if this film succeeds or flops at the box office. But for my money, I prefer the original 1995 film.

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Flashback Friday- Jack (1996)

Age is a funny thing. When we are young, we want to be grown up. When we are old, we wish to be young again.

In the 1996 movie, Jack, Jack Powell(Robin Williams) has an unusual medical affliction. He ages four times as fast as other children age, which creates a unique set of challenges.

This is the quintessential Robin Williams film. Mingling with the humor is the reality that life is not always fair or happy. In the end, Jack knows that while he may have the mentality of a 10-year-old, his body is that of a 40-year-old. At the end of the film, the audience is reminded that life is short and we should make the most of it while we can.

I recommend it.

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Thoughts On The 25th Anniversary Of Hook

Nearly 25 years ago, a little movie hit theaters. The movie was Hook and it’s star is the late and very missed Robin Williams.

Taking place a generation after the original Peter Pan story, the movie starts off with a very grownup Peter Pan, known as Peter Banning (Robin William). The mischievous, trouble making, charming boy has been replaced with an adult who spends more time at the office than he does with his family. When his kids are kidnapped by Captain Hook (Dustin Hoffman), Peter must return to Neverland and save his children. The problem is that Peter is more in tuned with the pirates than the lost boys.

That being said, here are the reasons why I love this film:

1. It is one of my favorite childhood films.
2. Robin Williams was born to play this role.
3. What kid does not want Peter Pan as a father?
4. What kid at the time did not want Rufio’s hair or his skateboard?
5. It taught adults that it was ok to let out your inner kid every once in a while.
6. I was introduced me to Maggie Smith, who would later play one of my favorite television characters, the Dowager Countess on Downton Abbey.
7. It’s just a fun film.
8. The screenplay is completely quotable.
9. This film makes me feel old.

Here’s to Hook’s 25th anniversary, thanks for the memories.

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Filed under Downton Abbey, Fairy Tales, Movie Review, Movies, Television

Another Life

I wrote last year about two friends of friends who took their lives.

Today I found out that another friend of a friend took her life.

While I didn’t know her or the circumstances that led her to commit suicide, I am heartbroken just the same.

Life is hard, we all know that. There is no one on this earth who is not dealing with personal problems or facing with challenges that seem insurmountable.

While many will laugh at mental health or marginalize the issue, the reality  is that we must take it seriously. Lives are at stake.

It is a reality that I know all too well.

RIP.

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Robin Williams, A Year Later

One year ago, the world learned about the death of Robin Williams.

We mourned not just the actor, but the man. We remember how his performances made us laugh, made us cry, made us forget our lives for a short time. We remember the husband, the father, the human being.

Sadly, he is one of many who have taken their own life. Depressions afflicts millions of us, causing the brightest, clearest day to seem dark and overcast.

Robin William’s legacy is more than the characters he played. He is the public face of a disease that has no discernible physical attributes, but holds many in literal chains.

Perhaps we will learn something. Those who are suffering get help and those who know someone who suffers from depression will encourage their loved one to get help.

RIP Robin. You are missed.

 

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Actor Spotlight Throwback Thursday- Minnie Driver Triple Feature- Good Will Hunting (1997), Beautiful (2000) & Return To Me (2000)

I’ve decided to change some of my Throwback Thursday/Flashback Friday posts to put a spotlight on a specific performer and two or three of their films.

This post will be focusing on British actor Minnie Driver.

In 1997, Driver burst into Hollywood in the film Good Will Hunting. Academically speaking, Will Hunting (Matt Damon) is a genius. He works as a janitor at MIT and anonymously solves the math problems left on the black boards overnight. But Will has no direction in life and often finds himself in trouble with the law.  When his anonymity is discovered by Professor Gerald Lambeau (Stellan Skarsgard), Will is offered a deal that could change his life.

Under the watch of Prof Lambeau, Will will not be facing jail time if he studies mathematics with the professor and spends time with a therapist. After several therapists flounder, Will finds himself in the office of Sean Maguire (the late Robin Williams). He also finds himself attached to Skylar (Minnie Driver), a Harvard student with ambitions to attend medical school at Stanford. Can Will sustain this new path in life or will he return to his old friend Chuckie (Ben Affleck) and the way he used to live?

This movie won all of the accolades and attention that it did for a reason. It is a brilliant film and just reminds the audience that sometimes we have to take risks, especially when new paths open up in life.

Three years later, Driver starred in Beautiful.

Mona (Minnie Driver) has only one goal in life: to win Miss American Miss. Mona’s home life is a roller coaster. The only steadying influence is her best friend, Ruby (Joey Lauren Adams). But there is one hitch to Mona’s dreams: her child. Contestants in the pageant cannot have children. Ruby agrees to pretend to be Vanessa’s (Hallie Eisenberg) mother so Mona can compete. When a reporter starts snooping around, Mona finds that the pressure to keep the facade up is building.

Can she keep the facade up or will the truth come out, ending her dreams forever?

This movie has an element of camp to it. But then again, the entire world is that beauty pageants is campy. While this movie does not require a lot of brain cells, it is still a fun movie.

The same year, Driver stepped into romantic comedy genre with Return To Me.

Bob (David Duchovny) lost his wife in a car accident.  After his wife’s death, her organs were anonymously donated. One of the recipients was  Grace (Minnie Driver), a woman who has had heart problems since she was a teenager.  A year after his wife’s death, Bob receives an anonymous letter from Grace, thanking him for his wife’s heart. At the same time, Bob goes on a blind date at the encouragement of his friends. The restaurant they go is owned by Grace’s grandfather (the late Carroll O’Connor). Grace is their waitress that night.

Bob asks Grace on a date and she agrees. Their relationship start to move along, but she is not ready to tell him about the surgery and the heart that is not naturally hers.  Will she tell him and what will the consequences be of the reveal?

As rom-coms go, this movie is starting to slide into the same old formulaic story. But it is the performances of the lead actors that keep the movie going.

I recommend all three.

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