Genies, Drag Show, and Stolen Lines

I don’t normally Euologize here. I’ve done it a few times when I felt particularly rocked by a death, and this one definitely qualifies.

It’s bizarre to think about the fact we now live in a world where Robin Williams doesn’t.

Suicide, depression and addiction are awful, but I also don’t know enough about them or mental illness to comment on them, but PLEASE seek help if you’re feeling that way. Please.

Anyway, one of the main things that I’m seeing from various other posts and articles is something that I hadn’t even thought of.

For many people my age, Robin Williams was our first movie star.

As soon as I saw that I was baffled, and it’s absolutely true. His was the first name and face that we would see on a poster and demand to be taken to that movie. I recall my sister begging as a child to go see The Birdcage, because of how much she loved Robin Williams.

We didn’t see The Birdcage for years, but we’ll get there.

Hours were spent watching Aladdin and Hook and Jumanji. We used to take these car trips down to Atlanta as a family. We would plug a TV with a VCR into the cigarette lighter. (Now putting a movie on for children on a long trip is common place, but it was a huge luxury at the time. There was one trip where we must have watched Jumanji 17 times, not to mention the amount of time we spent watching it while we were in Atlanta. Which was probably about 7.

I’m exaggerating, but it sure feels like we watched that movie a lot.

And of course there’s The Genie. Aladdin along side it’s sisters and brother The Little Mermaid, Beauty and The Beast and The Lion King changed lives and tastes. There’s just no getting around that. And Robin Williams as the Genie was such a massively huge part of that, that Disney spent years trying to repeat that glory with other sidekicks and secondary characters. (The closest they came was Eddie Murphy as Mushu The Dragon) But nothing could ever touch it, it was magic.

The Birdcage came for me in high school. It was one of those movies that was on TV constantly and it was so funny. It’s also, miraculously one of Robin Williams’s more restrained comedic performances. He’s the straight man in that movie. I went home and watched it last night, because it’ll always be one of my favorites. But it’s also kind of amazing the way that families are portrayed in The Birdcage, and how the characters are widely and broadly drawn but not offensive. (I mean maybe Hank Azaria.) It’s such a remarkable move and a really remarkable performance by Robin Williams.

And of course I had to talk about Good Will Hunting, which is one of my favorite movies ever, and the movie that I often lie to strangers about and say is my actual favorite movie ever. Depending on the crowd, it’s slightly less embarrassing than saying, “anything where a guy in tights punches a bad guy, but not The Dark Knight, thanks,” or “D2: The Mighty Ducks, yes, D2. No, because the first one doesn’t have the Bash Brothers or Julie The Cat. You can’t write fanfiction about Connie and Guy!” (Just kidding, you can, and I have!) But I digress. That has nothing to do with Robin Williams, except that I really love what he brings to the movie. The scene where he and Stellan Skarsgaard yell at each other about Will’s future is so completely and unfathomably good.

And of course there’s Dead Poet’s Society, which would basically just send me into a tailspin of tears if I even dared to think about it right now.

Anyway, RIP Robin Williams, the world will miss you, we will miss you terribly.


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