Only moments ago, I was hit the with the tragic and devastating news of Robin Williams passing. I know that he was a man who struggled for many, many years with his mental health and his addictions. Though my first instinct is to mourn him and ask the world “WHY!?”, instead I felt that it was necessary that I remember and honour him for what he has given to me as a person, and to the world of film.
Ethnic diluting aside, Aladdin stands as one of my all time favourite Disney movies. Hell, it is one of my favourite movies of all time. There is absolutely no question in my mind that this is because of Robin Williams absolutely spot on performance as the Genie. I have said it once, twice, probably dozens of times: Genie is the best Disney character in my books.
The character perfectly captured his infectious energy, his brilliant delivery, and his vast array of quirky voices. It was as if the Genie was created around him, and not the other way around. With dozens of quotes that carry me through my daily life, this is one of the most iconic roles that I will remember him for.
You can ask anyone in my family about how much I loved watching ‘Hook’ over, and over, and over again in my early years. I barely watched Peter Pan, but I watched ‘Hook’ until the VHS broke. Williams may not have been the stand out character in the movie; but alongside the likes of Dustin Hoffman and Bob Hoskins, he carried the weight of the film with vulnerability.His leading role as Peter Pan was one that I believe perfectly embodies who he was in his youth. He was just a big, lovable kid.
3. Mrs Doubtfire
Seriously, who DIDN’T watch Mrs Doubtfire every time that it came on TV? Kids and their parents alike never seemed to get sick of this hilarious tale of a single father who resorts to dressing in drag in order to see his children.
It was crude enough for its time, but it was a playful bit of obscenity. It perfectly showcased how well Williams could handle physical comedy. It was just as heartbreaking as it was gut busting, and it was a role that could not have been played by anyone but Robin WIlliams.
Jumanji is likely one of the first movies that folks of my generation think of when they hear William’s name mentioned. Though it certainly has not maintained any critical success, it most definitely has a place in the hearts and memories of Generation X.
In the time period following the likes of Indiana Jones, Honey I Shrunk the Kids and Jurassic Park, fantasy and adventure film was in a defining stage of its existence; and Jumanji served as a fun film for the whole family. Williams infectious energy carried the film and brought its story to life.
5. Dead Poets Society
Anyone that I went to school with watched ‘Dead Poets Society’ in English class at least once. You will remember feeling a little warm and fuzzy instead, and you will remember feeling incredibly sad.
The movie that inspired decades of “Oh Captain, My Captain!” references and copious amounts of “Carpe Diem” tattoos, Dead Poets Society touched endless volumes of people. It made us believe that there may be educators out there who were as passionate and caring as Robin Williams, but it mainly made us want Robin Williams to be our English teacher. It made us want to lose ourselves in the arts.
Though words are not enough to express the feeling of sorrow throughout the world over the loss of Robin Williams, his work will live on in my heart, and in the hearts of so many.
May he Rest in Peace.