I didn't have the same universally glorious opinion of Robin Williams' acting career as other people. Sometimes I found his animated and erratic humor to be over the top. But when he was right, he was so right. Here are my top five roles by Robin Williams.
5. Mork, from Mork & Mindy
I don't have many specific recollections from when I was very young, but I do remember watching Mork & Mindy. I can't imagine I understood much of the humor, or many of the words at all, but I remember seeing it on television. While I don't have any adult memories of the show, the fact that it was around so long ago, and yet I have that pinch of a memory, is enough to put it on my list.
4. The Genie, Aladdin
Ahh, Disney. I know some friends of mine are purely cynical and hate anything that was created without "artistic depth" to make money off of children, but those friends need to grow up. You can't be an angsty teenager your entire life. The Genie was exactly Robin Williams, but it was done perfectly. All of the kookyness and goofiness that Williams' humor could have was captured in a perfectly framed character. And truthfully, I'd wager that Williams' performance as the voice of The Genie inspired an entire generation of youths to take up acting. Good for them, and good for him.
3. Peter Banning/Peter Pan, Hook
Hook was freaking great.
2. Armand Goldman, The Birdcage
The Birdcage was a movie that I reviled on principle when I was a young homophobe. What an ignorant little twit I was. The Birdcage is absolutely hilarious, done perfectly across the board. It's got that Three's Company "secret dealings in the kitchen" vibe, but also the witty, awkward conversations in the sitting room. Robin Williams plays the perfect (no pun intended) straight man to Nathan Lane's wild card. I can't say enough good things about the film and Williams' performance, and if it weren't for one movie, it'd be #1 (as is the case with most things ranked second).
1. Daniel Hillard/Euphegenia Doubtfire, Mrs. Doubtfire
Talk about perfect. It's a sweet story with a ton of laughs, and a multitude of heartfelt moments. Like Aladdin, it once again sets up a few situations for Williams' wide variety of impressions, and the whole Mrs. Doubtfire role is one big impression. I've watched Mrs. Doubtfire probably a hundred times, and I enjoy it every time. It ends perfectly too, with the new TV Mrs. Doubtfire answering a letter from a viewer whose parents are getting a divorce. Gives me the sniffles every time.
Bangarang, Genie. Rest in peace.
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