12 August 2014

O Captain! My Captain!

O, Sweet Robin, O!
Say it isn't so!
An every day part of our lives...
Of laughter and childhood memories....
Of wide-smiles and nano-nano's....

My first introduction to Robin Williams was probably 1980, with the comedic genious of Mork and Mindy. To reach through the screen and make people of all ages, including a 5 year old, laugh, is frickin' remarkable. The writers purposefully left blank sections in the scripts because Robin would improvise... He was, comedic genius.

O Captain! My Captain! 
Then came the movies of my teenage youth that left an undeniable impression and inspiration. Starting off with the Dead Poets Society - my #1 favorite Robin Williams movie -  which came out when I was in 9th grade, just as I was exploring and developing my poetry skills. I had an English teacher who was my Keating and inspired us to go to depth with our words both written and in writing.

As Walt Whitman wrote in Leaves of Grass, "That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse."  And as Mr. Keating said in Dead Poets Society, "What will your verse be?" Robin left so many with us, we could spend a month playing back all of his interviews, one-liners, and comedy shows. He made great contributions to this play we call Life.

I remember where I was when I first saw Awakenings: I was with my best friend, Ashley, in Vancouver, BC.
And then my Dad brought home a newly released movie disc called Hooked. I can't tell you how many times I watched this movie my Sophomore year in high school, because I lost count. 

Peter says, "To die would be a grand adventure!" But now we are missing out on the new adventures Robin is creating in Neverland....

My parents and I went and saw Good Morning, Vietnam! in the theaters, a fond memory of my mom's wildly funny laughter during the whole duration of film. I love my mom's laugh, and therefore I love any memory tied to her laugh. Which brings me to Mrs. Doubtfire, another movie we owned and that I watched over and over with my friends and my family. "My first day as a woman and I'm getting hot flashes." This was right when my mom was experiencing the same thing... oh the memories of a freezing house in the cold wet and winter months....

On the later morning of August 11, 2014, I was laying on sofa not feeling well and flipping through channels and an indie favorite of mine, One Hour Photo, had just begun. Rob watched a little of it with me while he worked. And by the end of the movie, the news outlets began reporting he was discovered at 11:55pm dead, for maybe 12 hours already. A true talent, a large-hearted, generous, hilarious man, gone.

Manic depression and addiction is challenging - no, extremely - difficult to understand, the thoughts in their heads, the pain in their hearts. It's a topic of great debate as of late. I want to remember Robin as our best friend and not let the circumstances that ended his life, overshadow the amazing and loving person he was to all.

Bangarang, Robin. Bangarang.

My top 5 Robin Williams films, based on deep, personal memory connections are:

1. Dead Poets Society
2. Goodwill Hunting
3. Mrss Doubtfire
4. One Hour Photo
5. Good Morning, Vietnam!

What are yours?