Robin Williams: he will change lives, even after his own ended

EDITOR'S NOTE: There was some time given to this post because I realize that for a couple of weeks, the internet has looked like this:

That doesn't mean that myself and the other people writing in Wolf in a Gorilla Suit don't also have feelings. So here are the thoughts of one of them.

Written by: Zombievictim

We recently lost a great comedian, actor, and most importantly, human being. Robin Williams is one of the most legendary personas of all time -- was -- damn, I'm not so sure I'm going to be able to get used to that. But I guess that's what happens when someone feels as though they were taken too soon. When the text came in from a friend about the news, I really didn't know how to react. Grief stricken, I poured through the endless tweets and statuses about his sudden and tragic death and one presiding theme, no matter who the person, is that Williams meant a lot to them. More than they even realized even.

I can't even begin to tell you the effect that Robin Williams had on my childhood. His involvement in Aladdin alone make him a pivotal part of my childhood but it doesn't stop there. Hook, Patch Adams, and more. Hell, even when they were bad films, I still enjoyed them because of Robin. He had a gift that few people did and that's making terrible films worth watching. If you know me, you know I watch as many movies as  possible. It's my passion and joy. This has been pretty consistent, going all the way back to my childhood. And just as consistent as that passion has been the presence of Robin Williams.

Thought Hook was too dense and long for a Peter Pan story? I ate that shit up as a child. The concept of reinventing a classic story was so foreign to me that the idea blew me away. I didn't grow up on the Disney cartoon and the various other incarnations. Hook is my definitive view of Neverland and Robin Williams is my definitive Peter Pan. Even saying that seems weird but it's the truth. I still go back and revisit that film at least once every year or so and I still enjoy it all the same. The food fight amongst the lost boys still makes my stomach grumble and the image of Pan fulfilling his destiny and flying through the old school Peter Pan cut-out lifts my spirits every time. Sure it may have heavy handed but goddammit that doesn't mean it's not fantastic.

Then it all turned around once I grew up and got more into the art of cinema. Williams was a god. Good Will Hunting, Good Morning Vietnam, The Fisher King, World's Greatest Dad. All fantastic movies in their own right but the performance by Robin Williams in each of them is beyond words. No one would have thought that Mork would someday be receiving an Academy Award for a phenomenal dramatic performance. Williams was just that broad and talented. Randomly stumbling across World's Greatest Dad on Netflix when it first came out was one of the best finds I've had. William's visceral performance on top of such heavy subject matter made for one of the most unique films of the last ten years.

That's what he needs to be remembered for: his unique performances. Not his illness. I've seen many people dismiss this as just another celebrity death and that people die everyday. Yes, both of those are true statements but that doesn't take away validity from the news coverage it's been receiving. Yes, this is just another celebrity death, just like any death is "just another death". It is the extinguishing of life -- a terrible but inevitable fate for all of us. But this is a death that could have been avoided and the public figure involved makes the story of it more visible. This isn't a platform to mourn the death of a man we've never known. This is a way of getting the message out that no matter what success comes your way in life, everyone is human and deals with problems. Depression can happen to anyone and should not just be dismissed as a minor aspect of a person's life because ultimately it may cost them theirs.

There's no point in pondering whether Williams could have been saved or not. He's gone. But your friend dealing with depression? They're still right there, waiting for help. And if Williams' death helps save just one depressed person, I'd say the news coverage is well worth it. We live in a society of vultures and negativity, amplified and condoned by our pop culture. Depression is one of the most common illnesses that exist. I know several people that suffer from it and I go through bouts of it myself. To think that someone so successful and seemingly happy on the outside can be so broken and torn down on the inside is just awful. It would be just as much of a tragedy to treat his career any differently due to his final minutes on earth.

Use it as a lesson that no matter what you show on the outside, you need to deal with what's on the inside to truly know peace.

And go watch World's Greatest Dad so you can truly know good cinema.
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About The Damn Beast

Pre-op trans-minotaur, sci-fi/fantasy/horror author, metal singer, videogame journalist, pop culture blogger. I also lift heavy things and put them down again repeatedly to occupy more space.
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