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. . . OUR BELOVED GENIE DIED

HUNTER EITEL - tb-two* movie critic

Robin Williams, one of the funniest men who ever lived, touched the lives of so many people, particularly children of the '90s who have been entertained by Williams their entire lives and will continue to be so. Kind and warm, Williams, who died Aug. 11, helped shape cinema and entertainment with a frantic comedy style that worked as well in standup and television as it did film. In honor of the actor who is part of so many childhood memories, here are five films that showcase Williams' true magnificence:

Aladdin (1992)

The classic that helped shape not just Disney animation but also newer forms, Aladdin featured the most entertaining supporting character in recent decades in Williams' vocal performance as the Genie. His comedy and even his singing are the most memorable pieces of an overall unforgettable film. Williams brought his A-game to the lamp, and we will never forget that we've never had a friend like him.

Jumanji (1995)

Critics may have slammed it upon its release, but for many children, Jumanji was the prime example of fantasy and adventure. Williams helps turn this wacky tale of a board game into a timeless classic.

Flubber (1997)

Silly? Yes. Immature? Maybe a little. But none of that matters to those who don't remember Flubber for its flaws. They remember it for its mesmerizing special effects and Williams' flat-out hilarious performance. The critics' opinions don't matter when it comes to this underrated funny-bone-tickling Disney film.

Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)

Williams' comedic excellence is most obviously showcased in his Golden Globe-winning role as Mrs. Doubtfire. Is there a more memorable 1993 scene than Williams, dressed in drag, playing air guitar while sweeping with a broom? No. No there is not.

Dead Poets Society (1989)

While this may have been a little mature for children of the '90s, Dead Poets Society illuminates Williams' ability to transfer so fluently from comedy to drama. This film is how he should be seen, a true masterpiece and fine example of why he will never be forgotten.

* * *

. . . Lots of ice was dumped, lots of money raised for ALS

We are absolutely certain that no one with a Facebook or Twitter account got through the summer without seeing a bazillion videos of their friends recoiling wildly under showers of ice water for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

And though we got so tired of seeing them, and tired of seeing the debates about whether the fundraising stunt belittled the seriousness of a cruel disease, there is no denying the effort was successful beyond organizers' dreams. As of Monday, the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association reported $111.1 million in Ice Bucket Challenge donations. That's taking a silly challenge pretty seriously.

In case you've been living under an ice bucket, the campaign challenged people to donate $100 to the ALS Association or be doused in ice water, the theory being that the sensation would cause a numbness that mimics, in a small way, what it feels like to live with ALS, known as Lou Gehrig's disease. The disease affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, cutting off nourishment that results in signals no longer reaching muscles, which causes the muscles to deteriorate.

Most people endured the ice treatment anddonated, and then nominated three others to do the same. Celebrities and nobodies alike took up the challenge.

- Amanda Mckenna, Sickles High, and Vivica Roberson, St. Petersburg Collegiate

* * *

. . . Finally, we'll have another place to go

Ah, Friday, that day of classes when high school students spend every moment talking about their weekend plans.

In St. Petersburg, downtown has always been a popular spot for those plans, with a lot to do within a short walking distance, including visiting restaurants, shops, exhibits and venues, as well as taking in that waterfront view.

For several years, however, one prime draw in downtown St. Pete has been ailing, if not downright in need of life support. BayWalk, a shopping and entertainment hub for teenagers because of its live music, movie theaters and open courtyard, lost retail tenants as its weekend reputation for roaming crowds of teens and raucous behavior grew.

In 2011, the BayWalk property was purchased by developer Bill Edwards, who recently transformed it into Sundial, so named for its huge golden sundial sculpture. Slowly stores are moving in, and Muvico traffic is picking up as Sundial comes to life. Among the announced tenants are Ruth's Chris Steak House, yoga apparel store Lululemon and famous chef and restaurateur Michael Mina's Locale Market.

Steven Centeno, a senior at St. Petersburg High, hits downtown about twice a week, typically to get grub or view a movie that's fresh in the theater. "Going downtown has a magical air to it, and it is the perfect hangout spot to take close friends and new ones," he said.

So obviously, Centeno has been watching the progress of Sundial. "I felt like I wanted to go play in the construction site," he said.

"I think that the sundial sculpture will become iconic," said Gibbs High senior Pamela Bulu. "And between a celebrity-owned restaurant and limited-release movie theater, Sundial is definitely a destination."

- Courtney Crosby, St. Petersburg High

WHILE WE WERE AWAY THIS SUMMER, THIS HAPPENED . . .

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