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The Last Films of Robin Williams
Before Robin Williams committed suicide in 2014,he had completed four films. That is an amazing feat for any actor considering, at most, two films are made by a single actor in a year. It could be that whatever drove Williams to suicide, he sought to bury himself in work to soften whatever pain he was feeling. Like many suicides, many factors probably contributed to it. While Williams was not old, he was aging. and like many, it may have proved very difficult for him to accept. He roles available to him were more limiting than when he was younger. Maybe, he really did not like playing a role of a parent, but it paid the bills. As a fan, one can only try to connect dots.
Before William's killed himself, one of the four movies had been released, "The Angriest Man in Brooklyn". This is almost like a premonition. It is about a man who is dying. He is a very angry man for a variety of reasons and finds out he has 90 minutes to live and tries to reconcile with friends and loved ones for all his burned bridges of the past. Wow! It was released in May, 2014, and what does this tell you about his state of mind? In it, Williams' is so angry at others, himself. It is not a funny film, but one that you watch and consider when thinking about your own life. Ironically and prophetically, the character portrays was born in 1951 and dies in 2014. Worse, the movie had been released about 90 days before the real Williams ended his life! In the movie, his character dies, also. It is almost like when Robin Williams read the script, he was thinking long term and felt very attached to the character because THAT was him. He identified with the character in many ways, which is why he is very good in the movie in a tragic way. He was really showing himself and how he really felt.
The first movie in limited release AFTER his death, is "A Merry Friggen' Christmas". The release is very limited in November. Once again, Williams' plays a very unhappy father\man with how things have turned out in his life, but this is comedy of sorts, with some funny moments (like, the same cop stopping the speeding car several times over and over. Each time is a bit funnier). Most of Robin's lines are not his usual funny ones, they hurt more and bite, especially when he directs them at his adult son for a variety of father-son issues we all have experienced. He looks ragged and bitter in this film. It was not one of his better acting roles but it paid the bills. The whole film is about an eight hour road trip when Williams' son forgets a present for his son while visiting his dad (Williams). Of course, once they retrieve the present and on the road, some funny moments occur, but they are not the hilarious ones. They are the subdued ones cloaked in bitterness. William's son is very successful with a big house, nice car. William's is just a middle class worker making a living with portable potties. Secretly, he is very proud of his son's wealth, yet, quietly jealous and depressed about his own failures. He feels passed by others who he use to watch growing up and now time reveals he was kinda failure. Many parents who have very successful kids can feel this way. It can be hard to accept. His son has his own anger issues about his father, much of it buried in embarrassment of how his father acts, talks and looks. Robin just looks plain bad. Haggard and beat. I sense that some of the discussions between him and his son probably happened in real life to Robin and his father. They, too, had issues as Robin tried to succeed as a comedian. Maybe that is why he took the role, he could relate to the relationship.
The odd thing about this film is that is was filmed in Atlanta, Georgia, in the early summer. So, to explain a not so white Christmas, early on, viewers are told that due to global warming, the temp at Christmas is 55 degrees. Soooo, there is no snow and some of the shots look more like summertime. It must have been hard pretending the season! This all ties into a funny scene when Williams' son finally gives the present to his son, which is a sleigh. The boy is not very interested in it and the disappointment reflects on the father (so typical!). With no snow, they try to test the sleigh on a grassy hill with predictable results.
In the end, the reconciliation occurs and father and son show their love for one another. The boy continues to believe in Santa Claus. The movie has many stars but overall, not more than two star rating out of five. It is a dark comedy with some funny moments, but overall, more serious in tone.
Still to come are Night at the Museum and Absolutely Anything. These are the probably the ones that will show us the Robin Williams we all loved and liked. Absolutely Anything is scheduled for a February 2015 release. It is a about a teacher that discovers magical powers.