Friday, July 21, 2006

Today's Celebrity Birthday: Robin Williams and Ernest Hemmingway

Ah, today is a study in contrasts. One of these men changed the face of modern literature forever, the other gave us "Nanu Nanu."

While I could write something about Robin Williams, about how he butchered one of my favorite stories (The Bicentennial Man) or made the atrocious Patch Adams, but Dan Carlson did such a better job of it, I'll just let you read his evisceration of Patch Adams (don't worry, it's short) which Pajiba has listed as one of the 10 worst films of all time:

I hate this movie. There’s really no better way to put it. I could start off talking about films on the grand scale of human existence, pouring out prose so purple you wouldn’t even know what I was saying but, when it comes down to it, I just hate this movie so much.

Where to begin? First, kids with cancer need chemo, not clown noses. Second, having Monica Potter’s character get shotgunned is a brutal, cold, alienating turn of events but, the first time I saw the film, I found myself envying her because she took the easy way out, while the rest of us had to sit there and suffer through another preachy, treacly, cloying, saccharine, just damned awful movie from Robin Williams. The man has made 2.5 good movies in his career (Awakenings, Good Will Hunting, and parts of Dead Poets Society), and he thinks that entitles him to shove crap like this down our throats, substituting platitudes for dialogue and cheap audience manipulation for dramatic arcs. By the time the butterfly lands on Patch and heals his spirit, I knew I was watching a masterpiece of awful filmmaking.

I love film. A lot. I think it has the ability to show us the profound beauties of which we as a people are capable, those moments of accidental grace when two characters suddenly stumble into forgiveness or hope or pain or love. It’s a powerful medium, responsible for a unique kind of cultural mindset and nostalgia. And Patch Adams is a desecration of all that, a profaning of the art form to its lowest point.

I don’t know what else to say: I just hate this movie. — DC

It goes without saying that if Ernest Hemingway had seen this movie he would have offed himself a lot sooner. Fun fact: up until sometime in the 80's it was considered too controversial to put in Hemingway's bio on the book jackets that he'd committed suicide. The phrase used instead was something along the lines of "died while cleaning his shotgun," which was also the official story at the time of his death. No one really buys that now.

So Happy Birthday Ernest "Happy" Hemmingway. And Happy Birthday Robin Williams. Please RW, don't make any more crap. It could lead to more deaths while cleaning the shotgun.

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