What happened, Robin?
Let's get one thing out in the open before opening this can of worms: Robin Williams is the funniest man on the face of the planet. He missed out on his true calling: anesthesiologist. He'd just tell the patient two jokes before surgery and the person would pass out from laughing. (Or possibly rupture a spleen, in which case a hospital is the right place to be anyway.)
Now to the uncomfortable question: How much longer until Robin Williams makes another a truly great movie?
This is scary: It's been 10 years since Williams -- who turned 55 years old this weekend -- earned a well-deserved Oscar for "Good Will Hunting." During that time, he has given us films like "Patch Adams," "Bicentennial Man," "RV" and now "License to Wed." Sure, he's had some meatier roles in "One Hour Photo" and "Insomnia" -- even the surreal, but depressing "What Dreams May Come" -- but nothing approaching his golden touch in the '80s and '90s.
His stand-up performances continue to improve over time, but his screen roles do not. Why the disparity? Williams gives us a possible answer in a recent interview with the International Herald-Tribune, where he admits his greatest love is reserved for live performances:
"There's an energy. It's live theater. That's why I think actors like that. You know, musicians need it, comedians definitely need it. It doesn't matter what size and what club, whether it's 30 people in the club or 2,000 in a hall or a theater. It's live, it's symbiotic, you need it."
I know what I need: a few more movies like these...
Top 5 Robin Williams movies of the 80s:
5. The Best of Times (1986): "Mr. Weasel's here."
4. Good Morning Vietnam (1987): "Seeing as how the V.P. is such a V.I.P., shouldn't we keep the P.C. on the Q.T.? 'Cause if it leaks to the V.C. he could end up M.I.A., and then we'd all be put out in K.P."
3. Moscow on the Hudson (1984): "Excuse me, I happy to talk to you, but I must now to make toilet."
2. The World According to Garp (1982): "Honey, the chances of another plane hitting this house are astronomical. It's been pre-disastered."
1. Dead Poet's Society (1989): "No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world."