MovieBob - Intermission
Remembering Robin Williams Through Movies

Bob Chipman | 15 Aug 2014 12:00
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Robin Williams has had plenty of memorable roles over the years, but these were some of his finest.

Celebrity deaths are weird. In an age of instant news, communication and constant connectivity we're often pulled in the opposing directions of feeling the natural human sympathy/empathy the occasion calls for and the self-conscious need to not feel too much of it lest it seem untoward: "I didn't actually know them," "Is it wrong that I feel for famous people but not everyone else who I don't know that dies every day," etc.

But this time that didn't seem to happen. Whatever the details of Williams' passing, it was clear immediately that for a vast number of people this was the most personal-feeling loss of an icon to happen in a long, long time -- right up there with the losses of Jim Henson or Fred Rogers, I'd say. It had become commonplace to criticize (or at least look askance) at how Robin Williams had reinvented his persona from high-energy standup comedy genius to a star of beloved family comedies and Oscar-ready serious dramas, but in his absence it became immediately clear that those roles really did leave countless people feeling like he was a friend -- maybe even family.

I wish I had something more to offer in this case than, like every film writer, to make the case for which of his performances stood out the most to me, but I thought on it and nothing else seemed right to do. What I can say is that this is not so much a "best" list as a "what jumped immediately to mind for me" list. Yours is likely different -- so maybe there's one or two you missed.

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