Is there no truer barometer of maturity than one’s feelings about Robin Williams? As children we here at deadman/party found Good Morning Vietnam to be hilarious. Mr. Williams’s zany madcap spouting and sputtering of things like “follow the Ho Chi Minh Trail” had us in tiny giggle fits even though we had no idea what it meant. When we were teenagers films such as Patch Adams were tolerated because we were not comfortable watching Clockwork Orange with our parents. And in this Year of our Lord Two Thousand and Eight, Good Morning Vietnam puts us on the floor with its attempt to paint one of the most complex issues in American history with a pallet knife. It is just about as disgusting as anything Ed Harris has ever made, but we now smile like we smile at a dog watching TV. It thinks he’s people. Or at least an everyman as long as all of humanity is either a tired, un-funny, just a step too far stereotype of a Black, Jew or Gay man (to be fair he does occasionally do some sort of foreigner who does not understand our ways). In most of his movies the man just riffs on these caricatures like John Cougar Mellencamp on a one-stringed guitar until our shoes are covered in vomit. And yes, we should probably lay some blame at the feet of these directors that just let the tape roll, just let the man go, but does anyone actually know who directed License to Wed? Does anyone care?
And when Mr. Williams stops acting like the love child of Rip Taylor and Stepin Fethcit things some how become worse. Just have a gander at this list: Good Will Hunting, Human Being, Jack, Man of the Year, Bicentennial Man, and Jakob the Liar. There is more to be gleaned from Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery than all of the squinty–eyed grimacing Robin Williams can muster. We have no doubt that Mr. Williams believes in his heart of hearts that the above films are comedies dripping with pathos, but they are complete and utter shit we can assure you. His appearance on Inside the Actor’s Studio (more on Mr. Lipton later) is a nice compact distillation of what we find so offensive about the man. Though we do recommend you watch it, if only to make yourself feel smart, be warned that it is not for the faint of heart. On more than one occasion we had to bury our faces in the couch pillows to stifle our groans of pain and to relieve our eyes of the embarrassment that is Robin Williams’s hunch-shouldered false humility. How the audience does anything but run for the exits is beyond us.
Is there anything more we need to say? Nanu-Nanu?