I've been away for awhile because my family moved from Budapest to Baku, Azerbaijan (where we already lived from 2009-2011). Not much has changed here in Baku--the flame towers have been completed and there is now Papa John's Pizza (that doesn't taste as good as in the US and is about four times the price).
The death of Robin Williams has hit most of us pretty hard, I imagine. The Mork and Mindy show introduced him to me. He had such manic brilliance, as if his brain worked about a thousand times faster than any other human being. For the longest time I thought of him as just a genius comedian, but slowly but surely I began to view him as more of a brilliant actor than just a comedian.
I think he is often overlooked when people speak about the greatest actors of our time. Honestly, I think he is right up there with the best of them. Sure, he did some crappy roles, too, but when he took on a good one, he didn't just hit home runs with his performances--he more often than not hit grand slams. Below I list my favorite Robin Williams films. The order is not exact because his top movies are all so good that they can change order depending on my mood.
1. Good Morning, Vietnam -- Williams did it all in this fantastic movie that I watch again every few years. He was incredibly funny, of course, but he also did what he does in all of his best movies--he showed his dramatic and emotional depth. When my belongings finally arrive, I'm going to have to do a Robin Williams marathon, and this movie will be right up front.
2. The World According to Garp -- The first movie to show me how great an actor Williams could be. He played such a range of ages and character growth, and he first showed me he could be something besides just hilarious.
3. Mrs. Doubtfire -- There are elements of Good Will Hunting and Dead Poets Society that I like better than anything in this great comedy, but I watch this movie more often, probably due to having kids. It is terrifically funny, but again Williams gets to show his deeper sides.
4. Good Will Hunting -- I need to watch this one again soon, because it's been too long. I think I've only seen it two or three times, but I remember Williams was brilliant in it.
5. Dead Poets Society -- It pushes a little too far at times, but overall this is one sad/poignant film that happens to have some funny moments as well. It's one of the few movies where I had to stop at certain points and have a talk with my sons about important lessons the movie conveys.
6. Moscow on the Hudson -- Another of Williams' older films. I liked watching him tackle the role of a Russian defector in New York. It lent itself to his comic skills. Maria Conchita Alonso is fantastic as his girlfriend.
7. The Fisher King -- I'm torn by this movie, because Williams is utterly brilliant in it and there are some truly amazing moments, but there is some unidentifiable element of the movie that sort of disturbs me. Honestly, I can't say what it is, but it prevents me from having the same level of love for it that I have for Williams' best movies.
8. What Dreams May Come -- Another movie I need to see again. I only saw it once. I remember that I didn't love the story, but the visuals were stunning.