The great actor, comedian, theatrical persona Robin Williams is now resting peacefully amongst other screen and stage legends, and although his passing is a sad occasion, the wealth of funny and dramatic gold this actor has left behind constitutes one hell of a legacy. We may never get a Mrs. Doubtfire II, but there’s enough Robin Williams magic to bring joy to our faces for as long as he was trapped in a board game that time, and instead of mourning the man, let’s recall just why he’ll remain in the hearts of everyone in the known universe.
Williams’ career is best known for nonsensically legendary movies like Good Will Hunting and Mrs. Doubtfire, two examples of how versatile and awesome he was in any given role. In the first, he was clever and heartwarming, and in the second, he was hilarious and extremely, tear jerkingly tragic (and heartwarming). No man’s been able to pull off that kinda role since; some may argue he outdid Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie, and not only because of the breast-on-fire incident. And this is just the start of his genius.
Others may remember the comedic masterpiece that was his role in Aladdin, a voice part that made kids and parents giggle collectively, and for totally separate slews of jokes. Speaking of voice parts, does anyone remember the insane kid flick FernGully with Tim Curry as the scariest animated monster ever? That’s right: he played the part of that mentally unstable bat creature, and he made it so infinitely more charming and loveable. And who can forget Flubber, that movie you saw as a kid but were unsure about but for some reason remember as a classic solely because Robin Williams was in it?
Really, it’s impossible to name every single reason why Robin Williams was one of the best performers of his time. One can guffaw endlessly at his Broadway stand up act (only Robin Williams could look at his own arm hair and think, “I could make a joke about eating a lady out”) or that time Penn Jillette got him to say horrendously dirty things in The Aristocrats; or you can simply be amazed at his performances in Good Morning, Vietnam and Dead Poets Society. This is a guy who would go to astoundingly remarkable lengths to bring laughter and tears to his audience, and sometimes a healthy serving of both.
Of course, everyone who receives the news of his passing will inevitably turn to one fated film, the most epic in his entire filmography: Jumanji. Now that was a weird, slightly uncomfortable, badly CGI’d masterpiece, with Robin Williams getting stuck in world’s worst board game as a child and coming out a brave but filthy man boy legend. Jumanji will be the first film on everyone’s mind (admit it, Good Will Hunting fans, you thought of monkeys and that shoe factory first), as it’s the best display of the actor’s simple, earnest love for playing in a fun flick, surrounded by ridiculous stuff and just having a ball. No one was able to inspire joy to explode across audience faces like that guy.
So no matter how tragic it is that the world no longer has Robin Williams’ physical body and mind strutting about the entertainment world, he’s survived by an incredibly impressive filmography of sad flicks, silly flicks, moving flicks, brilliantly disgusting comedy sets, and Death to Smoochy. Just know, you ridiculous, hilarious man, that no matter what you may have dealt with before you joined Elaine Stritch’s likely awesome party in Heaven, you basically left your mark as one of the greatest smiling faces in the entire history of doing stuff in front of a camera for people to enjoy. Thanks Robin, and have fun up there, where you have enough angel blood to run your penis and brain at the same time, for all smiling eternity.
Just be careful about the movie Happy Feet. Robin Williams’ voice acting is pretty damn fun, but it’s a bit too dark and surreal a flick to be about dancing penguins. We’ll let that one go, but only because of that time you made A.I. almost worth it.