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Thursday, 30 July 2015

'Bang-A-Rang!': An Analytical Look At & Personal Self-Reflection on Hook


It was accused of catering to baby boomers, it was also labelled as being unimaginative and unbalanced and criticized for over-relying on art direction..... but for many of us, Hook is anything but all those things. For over 2 decades, it has fallen foul to a barrage of pessimism and gripes from film critics - yet for people who ignored the critics and have loved this movie, the direction Spielberg chose to take with this reinvention of the classic Peter Pan tale, gave it a whole new & fresh lick of paint, which, to be quite frank, it really needed. 

Hook acts as an authorized sequel to J.M Barrie's 1911 novel, 'Peter and Wendy'. J.M Barrie had considered writing a story where Peter Pan did grow up. The movie's origin goes as far back as during the 1980s; Steven Spielberg was saddled with the Peter Pan image, locked in Neverland, thus referring to his enthusiasm for playthings and his desire to film J.M Barrie's classic (178, Morris)

Steven Spielberg started developing the movie in the early 1980s with Walt Disney Productions & Paramount Pictures, which would have followed the story-line of the 1953 animated film. At the time, Dustin Hoffman was confirmed to play the role of Captain Hook. With the birth of his son, Spielberg later abandoned the project in 1985. Formerly a Michael Jackson vehicle, it eventually became a story about fathers who jeopardize childish playfulness, rather than about a boy who rejects getting old. 

The screenplay was penned by James V Hart and Malia Scott Castle. 

Suddenly, James V. Hart had this 'what if' scenario vision: what if Peter Pan did grow up? What if he was sporting a 3- piece suit, riding limos and clutching a cell phone in his hand? 

By 1989, the title of the movie was changed from 'Peter Pan' to 'Hook'. Given the title, It may have suggested that the movie is told from Captain Hook's point-of-view, instead of Peter's, but in most cases, that was far from exact. That same year, Robin Williams signed on for the main role of Peter (Hook (Film) Wikipedia). Released in 1991 in US movie theaters before Christmas (and right off the back of Williams's last movie, 'The Fisher King' that came out on Sept 27 that same year), it cost in the region of between $60-80 million to make. The Neverland set alone cost $8 million to produce. Yet the movie was still declared a financial flop, despite raking in over $50 million for Tristar Pictures and was overshadowed by Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast'. Widely dismissed as a bomb, it was further plagued by press reports of one of its stars, Julia Roberts feuding on set with Steven Spielberg, - which was refuted by Roberts herself. 

In spite of this, Hook went on to become the 4th highest grossing film of 1991, surpassing The Silence of the Lambs, JFK and The Addams Family with overall worldwide takings at over $300 million. 

Hook is an example of what Roland Barthes described as a 'bourgeois myth' which appeals to a generalized humanity by glossing over social and cultural division, presenting itself as a solution to all ills (16, rose). It ignores themes of class, rather choosing to emphasize what a happy childhood actually means.  

In this live- action Spielberg 'sequel' to the original Peter Pan novel, Peter has become an adult; he has grown up to become Peter Banning: a self-proclaimed modern-day lawyer (with his own cell phone), who is married to loving wife, Moira, Wendy's granddaughter and together, they have 2 children: son Jack and daughter Maggie (46). The family move to London, England and from there on, meet up with Wendy. Peter comes across as being agitated and so consumed in his work. As the movie advances, it isn't long before Captain James Hook, Peter's long-time nemesis, kidnaps Jack and Maggie from their beds whilst they are fast asleep at night; thus, forcing the now - adult Peter to re-evaluate his intentions, as well as confront the reality of knowing that Captain Hook is alive and well, and who instead of targeting Peter, targets the kids, in his efforts to renew their long- standing rivalry. 

With that in mind, Peter travels to Neverland to save the day and to get his children back. With the aid of the Lost Boys and Tinkerbell, who transform Peter from a so-called wimp into a confident, energetic and athletic super man, along the way Peter Banning has to learn and remember how to become the person he used to be as Peter Pan, in order to achieve this feat (182, Gray et al Corcuera, Di Biase). 

The film reinforces characterization by expressing Peter's subjectivity. Morris argues that Hook succeeds due to the recognition that such processes may occur is prerequisite to understanding the popularity and cultural significance of Steven Spielberg's output (181, Morris). In other words, by understanding and familiarizing yourself with Spielberg's directing style through the likes of ET would partly explain as to why his movies have become an ideal choice for many families, young children, as well as adults. The ideals, concepts, story-lines evoked in his movies resonates with these sets of people. 

Patricia Pace describes Peter as a character who conforms to the ideas of primaral masculinity by neglecting his children and his identity. But the real problems begin when he does not remember anything when he was 13 (Silet, 161). To help recall his memory, whilst in Neverland, Peter learns how to fight, fly and crow. Eventually, Peter finds his inner strength in the company of the Lost Boys, who he wins over.  

We then see Peter Banning's negative qualities as a father are displaced onto Hook. For Spielberg, Peter must defeat Hook to redeem himself and to win back the respect and love from his son, of whom felt neglected by his father, prior to Peter's transformation. Hook meanwhile uses Peter's son against him as a pawn by taking him to and watching a baseball match, thus, acting as a father figure, whilst constantly pointing out to Jack what a terrible father Peter was and is and how he was never always there for him (162).

Another one of the interesting aspects of this movie is how earlier on, after Peter is captured by Captain Hook and his henchmen, Hook decides it upon himself not to kill off Peter, but rather challenge Peter in a dual and to exact his vengeance. Yet Captain Hook doesn't want to face-off in a battle against Peter Banning but Peter Pan: Peter's so-called alter ego. Therefore, in a deal with Tinkerbell, he gives Peter 4 days to prepare himself for the final showdown. 

Both La Gall & Taliaferro make a bold and contrasting comparison between Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Hook; underlining that whilst through Indiana, Dr Henry Jones Jr and his father, Henry, the former is about restoring a father and son's relationship in their quest for glory. Meanwhile, in Hook, the film shows that in Peter returning to Neverland, fathers need to gain back their childhood to help renew their father/child bond (Kowalski, 39). 

For a young person to look up to and respect an adult, that adult has to have gone through and lived a childhood experience, in order to be able to pass on their experience, advice and know-how onto their younger peers (Le Gall, Taliaferro, 48)Ultimately, this is the lesson that Peter learns in Hook as he leads the Lost Boys into battle against Captain Hook and his gang. 
If Peter Banning as Peter Pan signifies being young at heart, childhood innocence and fun, then Captain Hook signifies growing old, being miserable & who lacks an inner child inside of him.  

Hook emphasizes themes of childhood, happiness and the importance of parents to get actively involved with their children by spending time with them. But in addition, it explores the consequences of Peter growing up & living in the real world (Barrie, 27). Peter Pan always feared the idea of growing up, - and who wouldn't be? Growing up can be scary; getting older means ageing.... and eventually dying in the end. Before Hook, he was young, effervescent & free; free from the responsibilities and he would enjoy being a kid. To Peter, he always thought he was immortal and would, therefore, remain young, forever. 

Now as a 40- something- year -old working parent and husband, he doesn't have that luxury any more. He doesn't spend enough quality time with the kids, because he has become so wrapped up in his work. 

There were 3 scenes in the movie that I thought was central to the narrative of the movie: the first one takes place during a baseball match. Jack is about to bat when he sees a sign saying 'Run Home Jack'. This connotes that Jack should run away and escape from Neverland and to return home. 

The second scene is when at the same baseball game, when Peter who sports a pirate outfit (see below screenshot), sees Hook refer to Jack as his 'son', he is heartbroken. Peter is left mortified; mortified at the vision of Jack being embraced by Hook as a father and the idea of him replacing him as Jack's dad. Instead of taking Hook's hook, he leaves the arena dejected and walks off, with the Lost Boys left wondering what had happened.  

The third scene is when Peter sees a reflection of his younger self in the water; after years of being miserable, & whining about his work, he sees that still inside of him lies the previous Peter Pan: the Peter Pan who was younger and who was still a child. This is in stark contrast to an earlier scene in the movie, where during a flight on-board a plane, Jack is messing around in his seat - only for Peter to tell him off by saying to him, 'stop acting like a child'. 

Later on in the movie, we see a one-to-one moment; Peter turns to Tinkerbell, saying the reason he returned to Neverland was that he wanted to be a dad. That he wanted to get involved with his children's activities. This is where the movie and Spielberg say, 'as a grown up, you can still have fun'. That just because you are older, it shouldn't deprive you of the things that made you happy as a child, the good memories of the past and that it shouldn't deprive you of your happiness as an adult. Not to mention that being happy and content partly comes from a happy marriage and loving your kids, unconditionally. It is through the transformation of Peter Pan and donning the green outfit that Peter realizes why it is so important to a) be a good father and b) have a happy childhood and that all those adventures he had alongside Tinkerbell, not only meant something to him and to Tinkerbell. But to his wife, to Mary, to the Lost Boys, and his children. 

He has Tinkerbell as his soulmate and female shoulder to lean on and someone he could talk to, with his wife and Wendy back in London & daughter kidnapped. The Peter and 'Tink' relationship is further examined in this movie, going as far back as having Tinkerbell having feelings for him. In a flashback scene, Peter reminisces about the moment when he was younger he kisses an adolescent Moira. We get a close-up of Tinkerbell looking through the window at Peter kissing Moira. She has a look of disappointment on her face, thus suggesting it should have been her instead. In another scene, by inhibiting a full-sized clock that emits dazzling light that suddenly explodes, Peter's noble efforts win the affections of tiny Tinkerbell, who becomes larger than life by magic and confesses her feelings towards him. She turns from a pixie into a full sized adult & wearing a glamorous dress locks eyes with Peter (Morris, 190)She first reacts by kissing Peter, & the two share a brief intimate moment, - but he then resists the temptation to consummate the relationship, because he is still in love with his wife (Zipes, 318). Towards the end of the movie, Tinkerbell tells Peter that she loves him and that she will be waiting for him.

In defence of 'Hook'

Given that Hook has been on the receiving end of so much negative feedback and was so reviled by movie critics, it makes the movie one of the most curious films to analyse and dissect from a pre and post-production standpoint, as well as in terms of narrative and plot & from a social construct. People have made out how wacky and over- the- top it all looks and feels, of the idea of having a 40 - something Peter Pan. Much of the disdain and criticism stems from the people missing the bigger picture; in not understanding the underlying themes and concepts this movie evokes, and that this movie works best when the audience/people still believe in that 'magical place between asleep and awake'. That we continue believing and dreaming. That is when the fun and innocence of childhood begins and ends. 

Today, we live in a society that places so much emphasis on wealth and being rich, material goods, celebrity culture, technology, some aspects of the media and press even, that we end up overlooking one thing: fun, and being happy and content with who we are as individuals.

Interestingly, Morris argues that the movie resolves difficulties but not in an idealised American history, rather in the place of Neverland. Innocence and childhood innocence is structurally opposed by adults and Peter Banning earlier on in the movie - and in Hook, this is exemplified by the Pirates, for instance. Neverland frames Banning's needs, rather than children's desires (Morris, 191). For Morris, Hook's box office failure is more down to its (lack of) marketing aimed towards teenagers and young adults, & less to do with the movie itself and of Steven Spielberg's directorial efforts and the story's angle that he chose to take with it. 

'Hook' is a story of how Peter finally learns to live and that living 'is an awfully big adventure'. In this particular adaptation, he comes to the realization that a man without a childhood, is as incomplete as in the Disney animated classic where a boy would not (& chooses not to) grow up & get older. Peter has to remember the person that he was before, who he is and what is really important.... before he loses everything, including his family. It is more than just a children's movie: it is a reminder to us as adults that we mustn't forget about who we really are. That we must look within for a Peter Pan. For Peter, all it takes is 'one happy thought'.

The more we remember and cherish who we are and by focusing on the positive & remembering the happy moments as children, the better our life becomes. 

Robin Williams Passing & The Life Lessons From The Movie

Robin Williams's death in August 2014 disheartened me at first; but in looking back and reflecting on this movie, Hook resonated with me so much; not just because I loved it as a child, but that Robin Williams as Peter Banning/Peter Pan really went out of his way in his performance to embrace and let loose his serious and fun side. Not only that, he gave a profound & dramatic presence during the heartfelt and touching moments. I know some people were a little taken aback and displeased when Peter and Tinkerbell (played by Julia Roberts) kissed, but I was actually moved by this scene. It just illustrates the mutual bond and understanding that the pair share with one another, going as far back as the novel. 

Whilst Mork of Mork and Mindy was the extraterrestrial from space, arriving on planet earth to begin a new life for himself and establishing himself and settling in his new home environment, Peter Banning, on the other hand, was a human being sent to Neverland to reclaim his lost youth, whilst still being the older figurehead of the group and fighting evil pirates. 

When I think about the likes of Robin Williams, people who I look up to and have been a fan of theirs for years, I don't focus on them being no longer around today. That is not to say I cannot accept the fact that they are dead. I do, and there is nothing that I and anyone else can say that will bring them back; rather instead, I choose to remember when they were alive & what they have accomplished and what it meant to me personally, and to cherish those happy moments that have brought a smile on my face by watching and reliving those movies & TV shows, over and over again

I remember the happy times when they were alive and when they entered my living room and TV by entertaining me and my siblings - and not concentrate that they are dead. 

Hook was one of those film moments that I will remember and cherish for the rest of my life; I don't care that it has been reviled by and loathed by critics. I don't care if Peter's daughter is a little annoying in the movie. I didn't care when Robin Williams donned a pair of green tights - he still kicked ass as Peter Pan/Manning! Dustin Hoffman excelled as Captain Hook, brimming with confidence and with it, a great character performance that embodies how loathsome and cunning he was as the villain. Not to mention amusing too. Not since as Dorothy in Tootsie has Dustin Hoffman delivered a stellar performance whilst in costume, but with Hook, yet again he took this to a whole another level. People said Dustin's portrayal of Captain Hook was too over-the-top & cartoony: & so let me get this straight: antagonist Hook should be a total bore with no personality? Gotcha- Not. The late Bob Hoskins did well too and Julia Roberts and The Lost Boys were, alright. The casting was just spot-on. 

I love Robin Williams's films, some more than others, & whilst Hook wasn't the critical and commercial success as it was and is not high on the list of favourite Robin Williams's movies for many people, I for one personally enjoyed it so much that I consider it to be my favourite movie of his, and so I don't care what the critics think and make of it. Because I clearly don't, and won't. 

Hook was an inventive, creative, fun and imaginative spin on the JM Barrie tale, - and thank goodness for that, Steven Spielberg. It looked so visually spectacular, I almost drooled. This was light years away from the Hollywood of today's over-reliance on CGI efforts. The musical score by John Williams was out of this world. The costumes and the appearances of the characters were great, with some added humour in the mix. 

It was by far not the travesty that critics made it out to be. 

And in the late Robin Williams, all I can add is (and by echoing one of the movie's lines) 'I believe in You'; & I believed in him as Peter Pan. Life is too short for us to continue wallowing in dismay and at his passing. Because he lives on in our hearts and on our screens through the movies, the DVDs and as Mork on Mork & Mindy.  

Not to mention as one of the most prominent fictional characters ever created, Peter Pan. It was wonderful seeing him playing the hero and succeeding in the end. For that, I thank Robin Williams for acquiring the role. 

The movie even has direct references to Williams's movies in Good Morning, Vietnam where Smee (Bob Hoskins) addresses the crowd with a megaphone by going 'Good Morning, Neverland!' and Dead Poets Society when Tootles yells 'Seize The Day!'. 

Hook may not be regarded by many movie critics and Robin Williams's fans as his best on-screen performance - well, I'd go as far as to say as Peter Pan, he delivered what I arguably consider to be is his most comprehensive role in his career: both as a dramatic actor and an action movie-star with all the sword-play skills, acrobatic flips and stunts & just basically kicking ass. Adrian Cronier and John Keating will always go down as some of his finest roles, but when we talk about other types of movies, particularly the action-adventure genre, Robin has demonstrated that anything Arnie, Sly Stallone & Bruce Willis can do, he can do it just as well too.   

The saddest parts of the movie though are when Peter bids farewell to the Lost Boys and returns to London and Tinkerbell bidding goodbye to Peter. The last part especially, just felt off - it was a bittersweet ending, but still sad. As much as I love 'Hook', I felt the Lost Boys and Tinkerbell's sadness over Peter departing Neverland. 

The one line from 'Hook', out of the numerous lines and phrases that have been uttered by the characters such as 'Bang-a-rang' and 'happy thoughts' to name, that will stay in my memory and as such I will take away from is from Tinkerbell, who towards the end of 'Hook', she says to Peter: 'you know that place between sleep and awake, the place you can still remember dreaming? That's where I will always love you, that's where I will be waiting'. 

With Robin gone but not forgotten, as Peter Pan, he is still dreaming and in my eyes, dreams and heart, Peter and Tink are reunited together, in heaven. 

But yes, long Live Hook (or be it, Robin Williams's Peter Pan)!  

  • Barrie, Peter Pan
  • Hook - Wikipedia 
  • La Gall, Taliaferro et al Kowalski, Steven Spielberg and Philosophy: We're Gonna Need a Bigger Book  
  • Morris, The Cinema of Steven Spielberg: Empire of Light
  • Munoz Corcuera and Di Biase, Barrie, Hook, and Peter Pan: Studies in Contemporary Myth 
  • Silent, ed., The Films of Steven Spielberg
  • Zipes, The Enchanted Screen: The Unknown History of Fairy - Tale Films
  • The case of peter pan -, or the impossibility of children's fiction, Jacqueline rose 

Monday, 27 July 2015

My 10 Personal Favourite Robin Williams Movies

above: Minimalist inspired Robin Williams character tribute poster by Tyler Boyco

*last edited and updated 29 July 2018 - post may contain spoilers*

The terrible death of Robin Williams almost a year ago on August 11, 2014, still lingers in the minds of many fans who grew up with his work & watching his incredible performances; without a question of a doubt, he is one of the numerous comedians to make a successful transition as an actor: both on TV as Mork in Mork and Mindy and as a movie star, who dominated much of the 1980s and 1990s Hollywood movie industry. 

There have been a couple of 'best-of' lists of movies from fans posted online; some from those who prefer more of his dramatic efforts, and others who prefer more of his light-hearted affair. 

For us 1980s and 1990s kids, Robin Williams was very much part of our childhood growing up during those eras and his lasting impact, not to mention his performances in a lot of his G-rated fare, as well as R-rated movies helped shaped our opinions of him & they have made an impression on the audience, as well as his fans. And it's not just as an actor and performer, but also as a human being and person. 

Alas, I consider Robin Williams as my all-time favourite movie actor and star. 

When I look back on his career and his movies, the one thing I will take away from him, is the fact that whilst not all of his movies have been so widely received and acclaimed by movie, Golden Globe and Academy Award critics, it just goes to show that critical success isn't the only thing that defines a movie (& an actor's onscreen reputation & legacy) but it is more-so to do with box office success and fan service. If the movie does well and the fans enjoy the movie, then the reviews- negative or not- won't matter. The movies that Robin appeared in may not all have been masterpieces, but some people still enjoy them out of personal interest & pleasure. And so in that case, that is more important. Now that, in some way, partly typifies Robin Williams' legacy as a performer: his versatility. He never chose to pigeonhole himself by playing only humourous characters; he can play serious roles, he can also undertake comedic roles and be funny and still have fun on camera. 

But I guess that was the type of performer that he was: he was a character-based performer; the voices, impersonations, the different outfits he wore, the varying personas he had to take on personified the multi-faceted talents of Robin Williams. He has been a football player, a nanny, Disc Jockey, teacher, Genie, a tramp, a bad guy, and Peter Pan! To name but many. 

In August 2014, a YouGov poll was conducted to find out the UK's favourite Robin Williams film:

A resounding 29% chose Mrs Doubtfire as the clear winner ahead of Good Morning Vietnam, with Dead Poet's Society coming in at third. 

Mind you, I didn't vote, mainly because I was unaware at the time that there was a nationwide poll held on something like this.  

(above: some of my favourite Robin Williams movies I own on DVD)

As a tribute, I highlight the movies and performances that have made the biggest impression on me and of which I have enjoyed watching the most; there are some glaring omissions, - but this list is my own personal list, and is therefore completely subjective. Like I said, of all the movies I've seen with Robin Williams, the ones I have listed below are the ones that I have seen, remember and appreciated, more-so than the others. 

For a movie to end up on my top ten list, they would have to secure an individual film review mark of 7.5 or more from me to qualify. 

Despite the world losing a comedy legend, his legacy, his work, and the moments that made us cry, laugh, smile that he has brought to millions, they will live on, forever. 

(*additional info cited from IMDb, Amazon and Wikipedia)

Movies that didn't quite make the top ten for me

The Best of Times (1986) - misses out on my top 10 list but it's still an enjoyable American football sports flick. With Kurt Russell, it's one of Robin Williams's lesser-known movies and earlier roles in his career, before his career breakthrough with Good Morning Vietnam

Club Paradise (1986) - Never heard of this movie until late 2014 when I looked up Robin Williams filmography and this was on the list. Robin plays retired firefighter Jack Dundee, who retires in the Caribbean, finds love and tries to keep the club out of the hands of his rivals. Robin has a few clever and amusing one-liners and his character is so laid back, so chilled out -and this is an ex-firefighter we are talking here! As for the movie, some of it is not bad, some of it was amusing and some of it wasn't so amusing. The movie is slow, but here Robin doesn't get to show off more of his funny antics, whilst for a comedy, it is not always amusing as it should be. 

Still, if you are an avid Robin Williams fan and very much interested in his earlier projects, I recommend you take a look at Club Paradise.

Seize The Day (1986) - Unlike Club Paradise and The Best of Times, which were somewhat entertaining efforts, this movie, which was released in the same year as them & is based on a novel, didn't gel with me. This was his second foray into dramatic acting after 'The World According to Garp'. The movie itself looked very low- budget, but hey, this was at a time when Robin Williams was still finding his feet in his movie career in his transition from TV acting as Mork on Mork and Mindy to being a full-time feature film actor. Yet 'Seize The Day' never seemed to go anywhere; it felt dreary, was slow-paced and chain-smoking Tommy Wilheim, Robin's character is so downtrodden & angsty. His acting is really good, but sadly, the same cannot be said about the script & material - and the movie was too slow, boring and depressing. 

Dead Poets Society (1989) - before, I had never seen this film. But when I saw it appear in a TV listings magazine, and I thought I'd give it a shot. How can I put this? It felt very long-winded and slow. I dozed off 2 or 3 times throughout the film. However, the last 15 mins were interesting with the suicidal death of a student and from there on, it piqued my interest (even though disturbingly, that brought back horrible memories of the news of Robin Williams death through suicide in 2014). I can understand why it is considered one of the best films Robin Williams has done in his career by critics and a lot of people, performance-wise. But I thought his character didn't appear very often. Without any previous viewing of Dead Poets Society, I tuned in assuming Robin's character would have a lot of scenes in it. But he didn't. In all, the lack of exciting scenes killed it for me. 

I wouldn't say I hate it, rather it just didn't do enough for me. If it had more interesting and exciting moments and more Robin Williams scenes and moments, then I'd enjoy it even more.

Flubber (1998) - an inventor invents a green substance called Flubber that resembles slime and putty. As a result, he misses his own wedding to his girlfriend and sets out to win her back from his love rival, with the help of his creation. My initial impressions when I was younger was it was it is cheesy in places. It is still a little cheesy in places watching it now but as I am older, I appreciate and enjoyed this movie now and more than I ever did as a teenager. It has a cartoon-like feel to it, which given it is from Disney, is not surprising. But it's not to the movie's detriment. I liked the plot, which is based on an original 1960s movie with the same premise and I was intrigued in seeing Professor Brainard's attempts to get his girlfriend back. I was willing him on throughout. Robin is great in this one as Phillip, but the rest of the cast are so-so. It is your typical family-friendly fare with nice special effects and some heartfelt and sentimental moments. It definitely put a smile on my face. Great for kids especially.

Popeye (1980) - I really wanted to like this because I enjoy the Popeye cartoon shorts of the past, but this live-action version just didn't work for me. Despite Robin Williams's impressive improvised portrayal of the spinach-eating animated hero by capturing the character's personality and mannerisms so well, not to mention his physical resemblance of Popeye, at 92 mins the film went on for far too long and at times I fell asleep. It did peak my interest a bit during the last 30 mins or so with Popeye facing - off with Bluto. Had this been slightly shorter in length, and was a little more exciting in places, then I would've enjoyed this a little bit more. Perhaps I need to watch this one more often because it is one of those movies where you need to re-watch it numerous times for one to appreciate it more. 

One of the few things I noticed is how in some respects, such as the pirate feel it has, the movie is slightly reminiscent of feel & setting to Robin Williams's other movie, Hook.

Cadillac Man (1990) - with a supporting cast that includes Tim Robbins who plays the gunman, Larry and Fran Drescher of sitcom, 'The Nanny' (& who later appears in Robin's 1996 flick, 'Jack'), the movie's plot has Queen's automotive salesman, Joey O'Brien (played by Robin Williams) experiencing his fair share of problems: his job is on the line, his ex-wife is after her alimony, not to mention he is cheating on his girlfriend with a married woman - whose husband goes after Joey and holds him and his customers & girlfriend hostage. Joey is not a complete saint - in fact, he is actually an insensitive & materialistic sleazeball in many respects. Selling is his #1 priority over everything and everyone else in his life. The thing that comes to mind about Robin Williams's characters, especially in his comedies and comedy movies, is sometimes, it doesn't matter how funny or amusing at times the movie is, if the character doesn't resonate with audiences or is deemed likeable in their eyes, they will take a disliking to that character & will probably not enjoy the movie as much. I couldn't really empathise with Joey O' Brien. Even though he was one of the hostages of a hold-up, the movie supposedly persuades the audience to sympathise with Joey, - when in actuality, it is Larry we should be feeling sorry for instead. No matter how heinous his actions are, it is his reasons for resorting to them that make us feel that Joey isn't 'holier-than-thou' as the film's protagonist. With Joey as sleazy & dis-likeable at times as he is, it is the exact opposite The humour in this movie is very dark & leans more towards Black humour. Cadillac Man deserves some plaudits for originality when it comes to characterization, narrative, & the waitress at the Chinese restaurant generated a couple of laughs. 

But unless you are say, really into cars, & are used to this style of intelligent comedy, then Cadillac Man won't be to your tastes. 

If you want to complete your Robin Williams movie collection, then you should own Cadillac Man; otherwise, it's worthy of a rental or view online. 

The World According To Garp (1982) - this is a bit of a strange one for me: strange in the sense that I didn't know what to expect from this movie, other than I had read it is based on a novel, - which I've never read. It contains adult themes and it is a little bit odd; on first viewing, I didn't understand what was going on. Glenn Close (who is strangely enough as old as Robin in real life in this movie) plays Garp's mother and she is arguably one of the standouts of this film and Robin Williams, who doesn't appear until 24 mins into the movie, is pretty good as the would-be writer, Garp. I'm so used to seeing Robin playing the buffoon, being funny and though he has appeared in a couple of dramatic movies, that sometimes, it feels a little unusual to see him in a role such as TS Garp. But hey, Robin Williams has always been the type of actor, who plays an array of different characters, and yet somehow, he does it reasonably well. His character is happy and positive at first, but as the movie continues, he becomes more angry, moody and annoyed with life as things take a turn for the worse. He has a few touching scenes, but with the movie, in- between there was stuff that I didn't really care for either, and there were long periods of which next to nothing remotely exciting or interesting was happening. It was not always clear what was going on that I'd be racking my brains figuring out why. 

This is another one of those Robin Williams movies people have praised and of which a lot of positive comments have been said about it. But of which I never bought into the hype. 

A lot of people have commented on how this film is not as good as the book; in comparison to many of his other latter movies that I have watched, The World According to Garp is not as interesting and entertaining. Yes there is the odd sex scene involving Robin's character, Garp (and he looks pretty good! Ahem!), & of Garp biting Bonkers the dog, which shocked me, the plane flying into the house, Garp and his transsexual friend (played by John Lithgow) being chased by a man in a van, the death of Garp's mother and the surprise - yet tragic ending, all of which were the highlights. The last 30 mins and the sad finale especially was very interesting & very good. 

Apart from all that, unless you have read, enjoyed and follow the book, or you can endure 2 hours of pure drama, it would be for most people difficult to sustain full interest in the movie.

One Hour Photo (2002) - Robin Williams doesn't often play villain roles, but when he does, he does it extremely well. He puts on a chilling display as a lone worker who works at a photo lab in a supermarket and his obsession towards one family, who are his regular customers eventually gets out of hand. It is a psychological horror-like movie without too much of the gratuitous gore. One may say One Hour Photo is an observational study of a person that isn't technically a villain per- se, but someone who is deeply troubled, a little creepy at times and of whom is so detached from the world, he seeks happiness through other people's situations, fears and emotions and plays on them, in a way that it becomes destructive for the family involved.  

In the end, you kind of feel sorrow towards his character, rather than happiness or anger for what he did. It's a bit weird seeing him play the antagonist, but he does a good job. Even though the film itself is not something I'd watch on a regular basis. Robin excels in a role that people wished he'd taken advantage of more often earlier on in his career, especially a role as difficult as this one and who is completely unlike many of the other characters he has portrayed in the past, prior to One Hour Photo and Insomnia but thus showing he really does possess amazing acting chops. 

Ferngully (1992) - released before Aladdin, this was Robin Williams first major voice-over animated movie project and yet another movie that tends to be overlooked by many film-goers and other Robin Williams fans. The reason why I didn't put this in the top 10 is whilst it has its moments, I just thought the story wasn't as good as say, Disney's Aladdin. Robin's performance as Batty Koda is amazing, though- he is a very underrated Robin Williams character, who doesn't get mentioned very often and yet he is so funny. I love this character just as much as his role as the Genie in Aladdin. For me, Batty Koda and Dale Putley from Fathers' Day are my 2 favourite lesser known Robin Williams characters. As for the movie, it manages to convey a message about the environment and our responsibility in protecting the planet and being more eco-friendly, without coming across as being too preachy and in-yer-face in its approach. The animation is a little dated, but somewhat good, and this was light years before CGI took over and the character designs are very good. However, without Batty, Ferngully becomes bland and unexciting to watch. 

One of the highlights is the Batty Rap song sung by Robin Williams as Batty - obviously, it doesn't reach the same heights as Genie's 'You'll Never Have A Friend Like Me' from Aladdin, but it is still somewhat infectious. 

It's not great, but it's not so bad either, Ferngully is at best, an average effort - that is marginally saved from mediocrity, thanks to Robin Williams's efforts. Without him, this movie would have tanked, easily. As proven in the sequel, Ferngully 2

Death to Smoochy (2002) - Robin played Randolph in one of the darkest roles in his career in this comedy movie directed by Danny Devito. He plays Rainbow Randolph (real name Randolph Smiley), who finds out his days are numbered after a bribery scandal and is replaced by a younger geeky upstart played by Edward Norton. There are a few twists and turns throughout and Randolph's hatred for Sheldon is immense. Danny Devito manages to do something that other directors haven't done before in Robin's previous roles, prior to 'Death to Smoochy', and that is to make Robin's character so two- dimensional: crazed, off- his- head and still be humourous, somewhat. He becomes angry, & frustrated at first as he seeks revenge against Smoochy, but then as he regains his composure, he realises that Sheldon may not be as bad as he thinks he is. A dark satire on the trials and tribulations of being a children's TV presenter, 'Death to Smoochy' is downright over-the-top & silly. 

I didn't put this in the top ten, though, for one particular reason: Randolph Smiley is not a very likeable character, and not a very likeable comedy movie character in contrast to Robin's other roles as Mrs Doubtfire, Dale (Fathers' Day), Adrian (Good Morning, Vietnam), Donald (The Survivors), Armand (The Birdcage). He's brash, he's rude, obnoxious - he is the complete opposite of all those characters. And I liked those characters because they were good-natured, good guys. They evoked the goodness of Robin Williams because us fans enjoy seeing him play the protagonists, more so than as the antagonists. Randolph is not a good, nor a nice guy, by any means. 

Despite the kid-friendly images, I must warn you this movie contains a lot of expletives and F-bombs dropped by Robin, and so if you are easily offended, avoid this film. However, if you want to see Robin Williams shine as ever as a performer and comedic actor with an added edge, then this movie is definitely for you.

Insomnia (2002) - another anti-hero role where Robin plays villain writer, Walter. A good thriller, but his character was creepy and sinister throughout. The film itself is a very slow-paced affair with some good performances, but lacking essential elements and not as shocking and suspenseful as it ought to have been. And as good a performance as it was by Robin, I just didn't like his character. Sorry.  

Good Will Hunting (1997) - starring Robin Williams, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Minnie Driver, whilst it is good in places, it's nowhere as amazing as critics have praised it as and is not a film I'd prefer over Good Morning, Vietnam, Awakenings and The Fisher King as my favourite dramatic films of Robin Williams's. However, the material and script are sporadically more interesting than Dead Poets Society and Robin as Sean Maguire is the main reason why I enjoyed it. I didn't watch it for Matt Damon or the other actors, but for Robin and he delivered. He was fantastic. If it wasn't for him being in Good Will Hunting, I would have never shown interest in it at all. 

Patch Adams (1998) pipped by the post by Awakenings when it comes to favourite Robin Williams medic-based flick as a film, yet Patch Adams was entertaining with an engrossing narrative and plot. The performances range from okay to good but the characters not well developed. Profound in places and it can get too overly sentimental and schmaltzy as critics have lauded, Patch Adams is a solid film to add to one's Robin Williams's collection if you enjoyed films such as Good Morning, Vietnam and Dead Poets Society as he plays the same type of protagonist role here, as the helper who goes out of his way to help others. But it doesn't have much substance and worth compared to Awakenings.   

Now onto my top 10...

10. The Survivors (1983) - Directed by Michael Ritchie who gave us Wildcats, Fletch and The Golden ChildRobin Williams's character Donald Quinelle is fired from his job.... by a parrot! Hard to find on DVD in the UK - believe me, it's tough to get an official copy online unless you try Amazon- & again, it is one of those rare Robin Williams movies you need to see more than once to be able to fully appreciate it. Two strangers in Sonny (Walter Matthau) and Donald who meet up in a cafe, find themselves in a hold-up by a killer only to save the day, and with that Donald gets shot in the shoulder. He later develops an unhealthy obsession with firearms and later arms himself whilst in Vermont. They then discover their survival is dependent on their friendship at all costs, - as they are pursued by the same man who robbed them at the cafe. 

Bombed on general release in America in 83', this vintage movie was later consigned to the bargain bin of comedy flops, and for a long time, it was completely forgotten about afterwards. It became his second comedy role, right after Mork & Mindy had ended and The Survivors is (un)officially his first-ever comedy feature film. 

But for the younger generation and those born in the 80s' like myself, who knew next to nothing about it at all, to see it in full and discover it and enjoy it in the post - 2010 era, as well as for Robin Williams fans who do prefer his earlier stuff, The Survivors is arguably one of Robin Williams's most intriguing and obscure projects he has been involved in. Like I mentioned earlier about Club Paradise, I enjoy watching Robin Williams's earlier and lesser-known movie projects and seeing how far he has come, as well as evolved as a movie actor during the past 4 decades. A lot of people don't seem to enjoy this movie, it even received low scores on IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes, but I beg to differ; the more times I watch it over and over, the more I really like it. Out of The Best of Times, The World According to Garp, Club Paradise, Moscow on the Hudson and this movie, The Survivors is my pick of the bunch when it comes to earlier Robin Williams movies. I just love the humour in it and of the Donald character (3 of Robin's characters begin with 'D' and they are all from comedy films: Donald for The Survivors, Daniel for Mrs Doubtfire, Dale for Fathers' Day). 

The Survivors is a comedy movie with a dark - though not too dark edge, and so if you are more into Robin's OTT slapstick, goofier brand of humour as featured in Mrs Doubtfire for instance, then you might be disappointed. I felt the movie is still amusing; likewise, there are a few slapstick moments, which made me laugh. Such as Donald mooning at the TV screen whilst in the hospital wearing his gown! I was struck by the off-the-wall zaniness of Robin Williams's Donald Quinelle, which bears a resemblance to that of Daniel's in Mrs Doubtfire and Dale's in Fathers' Day. Though I was a little bored in places whilst watching this movie during scenes without Robin in them, when he did have screen-time, he did shine. The buddy camaraderie kind of reminds me of the movie, Midnight Run with Robert De Niro and Charles Grodin. Also, look out for a cameo by John Goodman. 

The ending was bittersweet: the sight of Donald's tears as tells Sonny his fears, after stripping off most of his clothes whilst walking in the bitterly cold weather, was incredibly moving, touching and poignant. 

In all, The Survivors is an amusing & interesting 'niche'- brand of comedy movie coming from Robin Williams that if you stick with it and give it a chance, you might enjoy it. I know I did. 

Worth getting if... you are interested in Robin Williams earlier work or you are a die-hard fan of his

9. The Fisher King (1991) - Williams plays a homeless bum named Parry, who is living in his own fantasy world with Jeff Bridges as DJ Jack, whose life spirals out of control after making an off-the-cuff remark about one of his listeners; thus, prompting him to go on a killing spree. What makes the story even more interesting is that the same listener later turns out to be the man who killed Parry's wife. It's a story about 2 characters in search of redemption, about finding themselves and rediscovery. It has been mistakenly labelled as a comedy when in actuality it feels more like a drama. The cinematography, as well as the manner the movie is conveyed by Terry Gilliam, is so visually brilliant. The flashback scenes involving Parry conveying his sense of mortal fear and anguish, as he tries to battle his inner demons, are beautifully shot. The Fisher King is part- drama, part fantasy tale with some light-hearted moments. Dark in places, underneath it all it's actually a rather heart-warming & sentimental tale. You feel for the characters as they go through a variety of emotions, and in the end, both Parry and Jack get their girls, fall back in love and they all live happily ever after. 

An underrated, if slightly underwhelming movie that still deserves your worthwhile attention. 

Worth getting if... you enjoyed Good Morning, Vietnam, Dead Poets Society, Good Will Hunting, The World According to Garp, Awakenings

8. Jumanji (1995) - later spanning a short-lived animated series, Jumanji is an action-adventure flick with a young Kirsten Dunst playing one of the kids that is slightly reminiscent of Jurassic Park. If Jurassic Park is to dinosaurs, then Jumanji is to animals of the wild. Throw in a board game element & some special effects and you have yourself a movie the whole family can enjoy together. The plot is interesting, performances are all right and the special effects are amazing. In all it is mindless, but entertaining fun all at the same time. 

Worth getting if...  you enjoyed Hook 

7. The Birdcage (1996) - Based on the French movieLa Cage Aux FollesThe Birdcage is about a gay cabaret owner played by Williams and his drag queen companion (Nathan Lane), who agrees to pretend to be straight for their son in their attempt to impress his girlfriend's right-wing parents. It's stereotypical in places, especially in the portrayal of gay people and tries to poke fun but not in a way that is deemed offensive, nor ever done intentionally to be controversial. As over-the-top as can be, it is also amusing and the characters were created for the sake of the audience laughing with them, as opposed to laughing at them and laughing at the gay community. One of the highlights is seeing Gene Hackman in drag alongside Robin's character, Armand!

If you can just sit back, & not take everything at face value, then you'd appreciate that The Birdcage is harmless entertainment.

Worth getting if... you like comedy movies, La Cage Aux Folles

6. Mrs Doubtfire (1993)  - A huge favourite for so many people I once had the VHS tape of this movie a long time ago and I enjoyed it first time round that I played it over and over again. But as 20 and 30 something person, & in contrast to what most people say, my views on Mrs Doubtfire is that it is.... good at best. I am going to get a lot of hate when I say that Mrs Doubtfire is the most overrated Robin Williams movie, as I have seen him in far better performances than in this film. As well as in playing much more likeable characters than that of Daniel Hillard. I emphasised with Robin's character, Daniel to a certain extent, despite that he was very immature, but I found Sally Field's Miranda character selfish and obnoxious. She comes across as being vindictive, unlikable & lacking in empathy, but hey, let's not dwell too much on this. The thing that did annoy me though, was how throughout much of the movie it sympathised with Miranda, whilst making Daniel look like the bad guy and a moron making him feel guilty and terrible. Add to that the unwarranted transphobia, forgettable remaining characters & Daniel's petulance and rudeness, it far from deserves the accolade of best Robin Williams movie, especially character-wise. Yet at the same time, it did entertain me. This is a film that I got fed up of watching as a teenager and 20 something, but revisiting it less often and rewatching it less, I appreciate it more than I did and there are a couple of moments, courtesy of Robin Williams that puts a smile on my face. Not quite in my top 5 favourite movies of his and despite managing a respectable 6th position, it still provides plenty of fun and silly shenanigans.

Worth getting if...  you enjoyed Mork & Mindy, Good Morning Vietnam, Robin Williams in Aladdin

5. Awakenings (1990) - Awakenings is based on a true story about a doctor and the patients whose lives he changes and touches, with the help of a drug he has invented that 'awakens' catatonic victims of a rare disease. Just when I thought that after seeing Dead Poets Society, Good Morning, Vietnam and The Fisher King, I'd never thought Robin Williams would pull off another mesmerising dramatic acting performance, he does it once again. He was incredible throughout as Dr Malcolm Sayer (based on British neurologist Oliver Sacks) in Awakenings; I really liked his character very much; he of whom is the central character in this film. Warm, caring, going out of his way to help patients but also not afraid of putting his foot down when necessary. Unlike Patch Adams, which was okay, Awakenings is much more moving, powerful and it makes you question and value the importance of life, without being preachy. In fact, I like it more than Patch Adams. Once you immerse yourself in the film and continue watching it, you can't help but become enticed by the narrative and seeing how it develops and wonder what happens next. 

As well as Robin Williams, Robert De Niro was brilliant and Julie Kavner was very good. 

The one and only fault I had with Awakenings, was the length of this movie; I just felt that although it is a drama and a lot can be told within 2 hours, there were times where it dragged on a little longer than it should have. 

Robin Williams was nominated for a Golden Globe in 1991 for best actor in a drama, only to lose out to Jeremy Irons. He was also snubbed for an Oscar, which is remarkable because as much as Robert De Niro was great, Williams arguably owns this movie. This is also the first movie we see Robin fully submerge his own character and let loose his dramatic acting abilities since Dead Poets Society and his theatrical debut, The World According to Garp during the 80s. 

Awakenings is yet another example of when given the right role and the right movie, Robin can be and is a brilliant actor in his own right. 

Worth getting if...  you enjoyed Patch Adams, Good Morning Vietnam, Dead Poets Society, The World According to Garp, Good Will Hunting 


4. Aladdin (1992) - Robin Williams voiced the Genie in Disney's Aladdin back in 1992 and he was no ordinary genie, as he had a mind and larger-than-life personality of its or his own! He sings, makes funny faces, as well as grant Aladdin 3 wishes. Great animation and character designs, funny with some heartfelt moments thrown in too. The success of Aladdin wasn't all just down to Robin Williams, but also to the writing, characterisation and story by Disney, which helped a lot and was miles apart from the somewhat disappointing Ferngully: The Last Rainforest.

Worth getting if... you love Disney movies, Ferngully, Robots

3. Fathers' Day (1997) - a remake of a French comedy, 'Les Comperes' (translated as ComDads) with his Saturday Night Live buddy, Billy Crystal.


A woman cons 2 ex-boyfriends into searching for her lost son, and each of them is convinced that he is their biological son. In reference to the opening scene and Robin Williams' recent passing, his character Dale tries to commit suicide. Despite this being a comedy, I found this scene unnerving and a little bit unsettling, rather than amusing. I just didn't see the funny side of it, whatsoever. Other than that, Dale's slightly crazed, angsty and neurotic side acts as a foil to Jack's straight-laced attitude. His infrequent outbursts had me laughing. It's amusing in places: I giggled at the Chip and Dale reference, his German ramblings to the band, Sugar Ray, and when he had hot coffee spilt on his private parts especially, and Robin's humourous moments hark back to Mork and Mindy and some of his earlier stand-up routines. It's definitely a role I'm not used to seeing so much from him in his movie career, but in one scene particularly, we get to see a little more of his improvisational comedy and impressions when he practices in front of the mirror, in preparation of meeting his son. 

I was initially dreading this movie because after seeing the trailer and the poster for it, I wasn't that impressed & that I thought it would be dreadful. But Fathers' Day surprised me; going in, I had low expectations of this movie and at the end of it, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The chemistry and exchanges between Billy and Robin are great, though the humour is very low-brow, farcical & some of the gags, depending on your taste, you'll either love or hate them. 

It's silly with an unoriginal plot, but Fathers' Day still works. Actually and arguably, the silliness and stupidity of the comedy in this movie made far more sense here than say, Mrs DoubtfireMrs Doubtfire was a comedy, yes, but it also had a family aspect to it. Fathers' Day is not so much a family comedy, but an out & out comedy. Absolutely hysterical in places. 

Harshly mauled by critics, Fathers' Day is your typical standard, silly, stupid and farcical -yet still entertaining & amusing Robin Williams comedy movie that is in the similar vein to his efforts in Mrs Doubtfire and Mork and Mindy. Comedy-wise, the 1990s saw Robin Williams -through Mrs Doubtfire, as the Genie in Aladdin, Batty Koda in Ferngully and as Dale in Fathers Day - returning to the comedic roots that made him famous on Mork and Mindy and throughout the stand-up comedy scene, after a decade in the 1980s where he was very much consumed in his dramatic acting. 

It is also another one of Robin Williams's lesser-known movies, & one that is often overlooked by many fans, just because it is not of the same calibre as Mrs Doubtfire, Good Morning Vietnam, Dead Poets Society and even family fare like Flubber, Jumanji, Hook and Jack. After a couple of viewings, I've grown to enjoy it more. Though it is not as successful as many of his hits, Fathers' Day is still watchable. There are some interesting, funny and moving scenes, and if you stick with the story and continue watching the film, it becomes more entertaining. The ending was not what I had envisaged it to be, but I liked it and it was very fitting. Fathers' Day doesn't and won't win many awards, but who cares? It's not supposed to make you think, but to sit back, relax and not take everything so seriously. I enjoy Robin's brand of humour and his manic and over-the-top performance as Dale.  

I liked Billy Crystal's Jack and Jack's wife played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Seinfeld), loved Dale but didn't care for Scott and his parents, the drug dealers and Scott's girlfriend, who were easily the weaker characters & very forgettable. They acted as filler material. If it wasn't for Robin Williams being in this movie & his humorous antics, I wouldn't have shown any interest in it. Without Robin, it would have been not good, but with Robin, he was a massive difference in me enjoying it so much. 

Unfortunately, though, Fathers' Day will be remembered by many for that awful suicide scene involving Dale/Robin Williams, & by linking it to his death in 2014 more-so than as the funny comedy film that it is. & that is a great shame because every other scene, line, not to mention the humour and jokes are so amusing to watch. With the latter, I had wished that had been the case. 

Initially, I had to put this outside of the top 10, but since then, my opinions of this movie have changed. It has, as mentioned already, grown on me after several viewings and I love Robin as Dale. He was just too funny for words for me. His antics put a smile on my face, as well as that I always enjoy it when he does comedy, and as he is so good at it. Despite this being headlined by both Billy and Robin, it is arguably Robin Williams who steals the show and has most of the funnier scenes and lines. 

If you love Robin Williams's stand-up comedy acts, loved Mork and Mindy and/ or Mrs Doubtfire, then you'll probably enjoy Fathers' Day.

& if you're looking for an entertaining - yet different type of comedy movie starring Robin Williams, this one is it.

Worth getting if... you enjoyed Robin and Billy Crystal in Comic ReliefMrs Doubtfire, Mork and Mindy or Robin Williams doing comedy stuff

2. Good Morning, Vietnam (1987) - a poignant & at times humourous and entertaining take on the Vietnam war through the eyes of DJ Adrian Cronauer. If Mork & Mindy was the catalyst for Robin's successful onscreen career, then Good Morning, Vietnam became the catalyst and breakout hit movie as a movie actor, after run-of-the-mill efforts in The World According to Garp, Club Paradise, The Survivors and The Best of Times. I don't do war movies, but this movie is a successful example of how to take a subject such as war and make it entertaining and watchable. But Good Morning, Vietnam is not a semi-autobiographical account of Cronauer's life, rather it is a film where the events of the Vietnam war are seen through the eyes of & told in the perspective of the character of Adrian Cronauer by Robin, who despite the bloody violence, fighting & being at loggerheads with his superiors, tries to get a better understanding of the war, the Vietnamese people and of their culture and customs. One of the interesting things about his character is unlike most of the other characters in the movie, Adrian doesn't want to cause conflict - he just wants to help, but not through fighting but by entertaining, to make people happy: a quality that is, has been and will always be a part of Robin Williams's own style, charm and personality. Williams's repartee at the mike is brilliant and he injects so much life, passion and enthusiasm into the role with his improvisation skills. Though it is a drama, there are some light-hearted moments that alleviate some of the seriousness of the topic and violent scenes from the movie. Robin Williams's saves his best acting performances for movies where he is allowed to express the different layers of his personality by being comedic AND serious. 

And 'Good Morning, Vietnam' is one of those efforts that fit that criterion.  

Worth getting if... you enjoyed Dead Poets Society, Good Will Hunting, The World According to Garp, Awakenings, The Fisher King, dramedies in general, war dramas

1. Hook (1991) - with a star-studded cast including Dustin Hoffman, Robin Williams, Julia Roberts, Maggie Smith and Bob Hoskins, this Steven Spielberg big-budget blockbuster bombed at the box office in America and attracted a wave of negative feedback. Interestingly enough, in Robin Williams and Dustin Hoffman, both stars starred in movies where they had to dress up in drag: Tootsie in the 80s for Hoffman and Mrs Doubtfire in the 90s for Williams, so to see them together in this movie as Peter Pan and Captain Hook was great. Hook was and still is so (criminally) underrated, that whilst it still continues to divide audiences to this day, this film is my ultimate favourite: the casting (the main three of Dustin Hoffman, Robin Williams, Julia Roberts was a dream come true, personally), the story, special effects, I loved pretty much everything about it, well but for Peter's wife & daughter and the ending. There are even blink- and- you'll- miss- it cameos from a young Gwyneth Paltrow, Glenn Close and Phil Collins! The transition from modern-day era London to swashbuckling fantasy land, Neverland was cleverly done by Spielberg. From the food fight scene to Peter's final showdown with his nemesis, Captain Hook, Hook is an adventure in rediscovering your inner child; I enjoyed all the fun scenes, I also enjoyed Robin's sword-fighting scenes as well, and so I never really bought into all the cynicism towards the film. It is a family movie, after all. 

A movie with a great message, heart and of which echoes some of the sentiments of the original Disney animated feature, Peter Pan, Hook did Neverland justice. 

Worth getting if... you enjoyed Disney's Peter Pan, Pan, JM Barrie's original Peter Pan book, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jumanji, action-adventure movies


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