Robin Williams: Lest We Forget

Robin Williams as seaside

There are a number of us who will never forget Robin Williams. Quite a number of media publications are helping in that area. Combing the Internet for more stories of the late funny man. When the 63 year old comedian and actor killed himself earlier this year his family, friends and fans were devastated and shocked.

How could such a bright spark put itself out? His departure has left a hole in the world that will never be filled as his talent was unique and his ability to make us laugh above and beyond that of his peers. There were instances of desperation creeping in, but this comic’s routines always had that edge. Robin’s delivery was along the lines of “don’t like this one? Well try this one, or this one or this one…”

A machine gun staccato roll out of impromptu and seemingly impromptu jokes, gags and voices. Underneath all that talent lay a man in pain. Like all great comics, his comedy was born of a deep anxiety that was made worse with the onset of Parkinson’s and medication along with his increasing depression.

Stand up comics, even those who migrate over to other portions of show business, never lose that state of mind. A type of intimate misery where the comedy comes from; pain, personal and deep, enables the best comics to entertain audiences on a regular basis.

Sometimes, as in Robin Williams’ case, this comedic exterior hides not just pain, but fear. Over and above all these hidden problems, Williams was also a genuinely nice human being. Case in point being his act of humorous kindness to his young co star in “Night of the Museum: Secret of the Tomb.”

Young Skyler Gisondo wanted to ask his girl to the prom but was stuck on set with Robin Williams and Ben Stiller, as well as Crystal the monkey. The young actor asked Stiller and Williams to help him make a video where, with their help and Crystal’s, he could ask the young lady to be his date.

Williams, lest we forget, was a natural funny man, one who specialized in impromptu performances and who kept swinging that comedy bat till he hit a homer. Robin was, according to everyone who really knew him, a nice man, father, friend and coworker. Watching the video, one cannot help but laugh and fight back tears at the same time. So long Genie, President Roosevelt, Mrs. Doubtfire, and all those other characters you brought to life. You brought a lot to the party Robin and you are missed.

By Michael Smith

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb Child Friendly (Review/Trailer)

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb Child Friendly (Review/Trailer)

Perhaps the saddest thing about Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, with its child friendly atmosphere and plot, is seeing the late Robin Williams reprise his role as President Teddy Roosevelt. This last trip to the world of a magical tablet that brings exhibits to life at night feels tired and forced. Even Stiller in the lead role looks fed up with the whole thing. The only aspect of these movies that seems to change are the locations.

Tower Heist…Ocean’s Five?

As I am a huge Ben Stiller fan I was really looking forward to his latest effort, Tower Heist. I will say up front I liked the film. I could have loved it, but the ending let it down a bit. Stiller who is the son of the comedy duo Stiller and Meara has never failed to deliver in the comedy field. Must be something in his genes.
Now unlike  Tropic Thunder and Zoolander, Stiller is not at the helm of this film. I can’t help but feel that if he had written and directed Tower Heist it would have been great instead of just good.One of the things that let this film down was the way the studios marketed it. The teasers and trailers that hyped the film made it seen like an outright comedy. This was not the case.
Cover of "Tropic Thunder (Unrated Directo...
Cover via Amazon
The film was a “genre bender” as my daughter likes to put it. It fell more into the range of a funny Action/Caper film.  It was not an outright comedy.  I know this because when I watch a comedy, I usually have to watch it at least twice.  Because if it is a good comedy I have laughed so much while watching it I have missed huge chunks of dialogue. I did not have that problem with Tower Heist.

English: Ben Stiller at the 2010 Toronto Inter...

The cast list is impressive. Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Alan Alda, Casey Affleck, Matthew Broderick, Tea Leoni, and Judd Hirsh. It seems like ensemble films are all the rage at the moment. All the actors acquitted themselves wonderfully with their respective performances. Ms Leoni in particular showed a flair for comedy that was surprising.

English: Eddie Murphy at Tribeca Film Festival...

The plot revolves around an exclusive apartment building that appears to be a thinly veiled version of Trump Tower. The folks who live in this building are near the top of the Forbes list. Stiller plays Josh Kovacs the manager of the apartment building. Casey Affleck plays Kovacs’s brother-in-law Charlie the bumbling concierge. Matthew Broderick is the hapless Mr Fitzhugh who has lost everything and is being evicted from his apartment.

English: Alan Alda (born January 28, 1936) is ...

Alan Alda portrays shyster Arthur Shaw  with his usual sense of style. Shaw is a financial investment  whiz who has a close relationship with Kovacs. Kovacs asks Shaw to invest the apartment buildings staff retirement fund for them with the hopes of improving their pensions. Enter Tea Leoni as Special Agent Claire Denham who arrests Shaw for fraud. It seems that Shaw is only a whiz at taking people’s money and investing it into his own pocket. Kovacs then decides that the money must be in Shaw’s apartment and that he needs to get it back.

Kovacs then coerces his brother-in-law, Mr Fitzhugh, new employee Enrique Dev’Reaux (played by Michael Peña) and his criminal neighbour and one-time school mate Eddie Murphy into entering Shaw’s apartment and retrieving the stolen pension fund.

The film is clever and it did make me laugh in all the right places. The misguided marketing campaign used by the studios though did not do the film any favours. As I mentioned before this is not an outright comedy film. It was an Action/Caper  film with a lot of laughs in it. It was a definite winner and a film I enjoyed watching.

So if you watch the film think  ’Ocean’s Five’  and you will most likely not be disappointed.