MovieBob - Intermission
Remembering Robin Williams Through Movies

Bob Chipman | 15 Aug 2014 12:00
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POPEYE (1980)
For a long time this Disney/Fox collaboration from Robert Altman was thought of as a Howard The Duck-style bizarro bomb, but it's been reappraised in recent decades and I've always thought it was a lot of fun. A rare attempt (given the era) at turning cartoons into full-blown live-action, it's a bit loose and messy but anchored by the fact that Williams really "gets" what he needs to do to make such a strange characterization work. Few other rising stars of the time would've been as willing to go all-out for such an idiosyncratic project.

Probably still the all-time champ of "find a story-excuse for him to just do his stand-up act for most of the movie" comedian-vehicles (see also: Jack Black in School of Rock), this loose biopic of unorthodox Vietnam War radio-broadcaster Adrien Cronauer was "the" Robin Williams movie for a good long time. It's easy to see why, as it offered a solid showcase both for his known comic and (then) surprising dramatic chops. Williams was often thought of as the principal "bridge" comedy-icon between the edgy/angry 70s and the exuberant 80s, and that's on full display here.

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