By Anthony Racic
Yesterday the world lost one of the funniest people that have ever lived. After years of battling depression Williams could fight no more. For those unfamiliar with the disease, it isn’t like having a bad day. Its like having the worst day imaginable, over and over and over again. Worst of all it can cause hopelessness. You can’t get better because you dont believe you ever will. I can only speculate as to how Mr. Williams was feeling when he took his own life, but he has spoken of his depression before. I am deeply saddened by the loss of this great actor, comedian, and all around performer. I wish his family the best in dealing with this tragedy. And to commemorate his life’s great works I present my top 13 Robin Williams performances.
13. Fern Gully: The Last Rainforest
In this animated feature about rain forest spirits trying to save their jungle from an evil pollution monster Williams stood out as the hilarious and heart warming Batty Koda. A bat that escaped an animal testing facility. This seems to be the prototype for how he would play Genie in Aladdin.
The opposite of Benjamin Button. In Jack, Williams played a 10 year old boy who looks like he’s 40 due to a genetic disorder that causes his cells to grow at 4x their normal rate. Dealing with themes of being an outsider and making friends. Williams was fantastic encapsulating the joys of childhood and the pains of being an outsider. His scenes with co star Bill Cosby were magic.
Toys was a wild movie about a toy manufacturer who must save his business from his war mongering uncle. A tripped out movie that is especially impressive when you consider that all of the effects are practical. Williams again plays the sad clown, a theme that runs through many of his roles.
I would argue that Williams was pivotal in the resurgence Disney saw in the 90s. Aladdin was huge and Williams performance as everyone’s favorite genie of the lamp was a big reason why.
Friend Like Me
9. Good Will Hunting
Williams was fantastic as the Southie shrink who wouldn’t put up with Matt Damon’s shit. The Academy finally accepted him as a serious actor in this movie and awarded him the Oscar for best supporting actor.
What do you want to do?
8. Final Cut
This was a sci fi film that didn’t get a lot of love when it came out, but I totally dug it. Imagine a future where your parents have an implant put behind your eye that records everything you see and hear for your entire life. Then after you die, a cutter splices together a highlight reel from all the footage. Great movie that focused completely on Williams dramatic acting chops.
Final Cut Trailer
7. Dead Poets Society
I don’t know what I can say about this movie that hasn’t been said a thousand times over. Williams is spectacular and inspiring. This movie made me read more poetry and made Carpe Diem a household phrase.
A fun and exciting movie, one of the first to incorporate CGI with live action well. I was amazed by this movie when I was young. Williams again showed his range in this movie while still conveying the heart of a child.
5. Mrs. Doubtfire
This movie really helped me get through my parents divorce. It also helped Tyler Perry decide how to make a career. I will always love the sight gags and slapstick of this film as well as its wonderful story.
4. Good Morning Vietnam
I didn’t watch this movie until college, one of my professors recommended it to me when we were talking about government censorship. The movie does a great job of showing how the military controls the information people get. Williams was great as the DJ trying to brighten the GIs days.
Good Morning Vietnam Best Scenes:
In the time before everything had a reboot, Hook was an interesting take on a classic story. With a star studded cast Williams shined as Peter Banning the grown up Peter Pan who forgot about Neverland. I can watch this movie over and over.
2. The Birdcage
I fucking love this movie. Its a classic tale of two people who fall in love, but are from very different worlds. They are worried that her ultra conservative family with absolutely hate his family. Mostly because he has two fathers and conservatives don’t like gay people. Williams is absolutely fantastic playing butch to Nathan Lane’s stereotypical queen. Lane steals every scene he is in, but this is still one of my favorite Williams movies.
The Birdcage trailer
1. Man of the Year
My favorite Robin Williams movie is one of his more recent. Man of the Year was a great exercise in satire. Asking what would happen if Jon Stewart became president. The voter fraud sub plot is pretty good. But its Williams as the comedian turned president-elect and his biting satire of the political process that makes this movie for me.
Man of the Year trailer
So there you have it. Do you agree with my list? Whats your favorite Robin Williams performance? I purposefully left out his TV shows and stand-up comedy specials. His live on Broadway is damn near the funniest thing ever recorded. He will be greatly missed.