MovieBob - Intermission
Remembering Robin Williams Through Movies

Bob Chipman | 15 Aug 2014 12:00
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ALADDIN (1992)
Does Disney's Aladdin have great songs? It does. One of the all-time great Disney villains? You bet your ass it does. A compelling, likable hero? Actually... no, not really -- Al is kind of a smarmy douche even before he's pretending to be Prince Ali -- but two out of three ain't bad. Even still, would anyone remember this as well as they do if not for Robin Williams' Genie? Hell no! This was probably the most perfect translation of the comedian's signature stand-up style to a full-fledged character ever, a rare perfect sync of animation and improvisation that gave the world one of its most memorable characters ever.

Today, this well-liked remake of La Cage Aux Folles (premise: a lifelong gay couple pretend to be a straight male/female pair to fool the ultra-conservative parents of their son's fiancée) feels less like a movie from the recent-past than a relic from a lost civilization: Was the idea of family-film superstar Robin Williams playing a perfectly normal, decent man who just so happens to be gay really such an "event" at one time? It was, and Williams deserves all the credit in the world for doing it -- and for once again ceding the "showy" stuff to Nathan Lane's starmaking turn (for live-action film, anyway) as his partner.

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