Hang Me, oh hang me, I’ll be dead and gone…

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This song from Inside Llewyn Davis has been playing in my head all day, the moment I heard of Robin Williams’ untimely death – Hang Me, Oh Hang Me…

You know why? That’s probably what Robin Williams has been saying throughout his life. In the pursuit of others’ happiness, he lost the battle to regain his own. Unfortunately, there probably was no one to listen to him. Maybe that’s what he thought. Depression is a disease, not just a ‘state of mind’, as is so often thought. It needs care, just like cancer, or a heart ailment. But that’s a discussion for another forum. 

I’m here to celebrate the comedian who’s had the most impact on my childhood. Charlie Chaplin was way before my time, Jim Carrey came in much later. Robin Williams was REALLY funny. Funny is a word thrown around loosely these days – it’s lost a bit of its meaning, but Robin Williams could LITERALLY make you roll on the floor laughing (and you wouldn’t even have to reduce it to an internet acronym).

Tributes are pouring in about his virtuoso performances in Good Will Hunting, Dead Poets Society and Good Morning Vietnam. Magnificent performances that deserve not just awards, but probably should be handed out as life lessons to young adults.

But I won’t be talking about those movies. I’ll be talking about three movies that defined the essence of Robin Williams. Jumanji, Jack and Mrs. Doubtfire. 

What’s common to these three films, you ask me? My dear amigos, these three films showed that Robin Williams had a childlike streak in his personality.

One of his more famous quotes reads “You’re only given a little spark of madness. You musn’t lose it.” Replace madness with childlike behaviour, and the meaning doesn’t change much.

Let’s look at the films. Jumanji – a boy loses his childhood to a voodoo board game and returns to civilisation as a grown man – but he still remembers things as if he were a child. Jack – a 10-year old child in a 40-year old man’s body, suffering from progeria (the disease of rapid ageing). And Mrs. Doubtfire – the ageless Mrs. Doubtfire who had a vivid, chidlike imagination.

That is precisely why I said in the beginning that his was an untimely death. 63? Ah, it’s just a number – he was probably as energetic as a 6.3 year-old. Unfortunately, it also probably meant that, like a child, he probably was too scared to talk about his depression, and put on a funny face. He masked his own fears and ensured that the others around him didn’t face the same fate. There are so many stories of his warm-hearted, generous nature (again, an untouched, clean heart, like a child) that it would probably take 50 blog posts to talk about them all. 

Oh Robin, what I would give to just sit with you, talk to you, and make YOU laugh for a change. How I wish I could tell you how many of us love you for what you’ve done for us.

Hey God, you know what? I’m jealous of you. He’ll make you laugh till your insides hurt. I just have one request – please take care of him and give him peace. He didn’t find any among us human beings.   

I could go on and on… but the more I want to write, the more I can’t. I can’t put it as eloquently as Robin Williams.

I’d like to end with a quote from everybody’s favourite principal – Albus Dumbledore. Given his childlike nature, I’m sure Robin would’ve loved the Harry Potter stories. 

“After all, to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.”

I hope you’re having a lot of fun in heaven, Jack. I’ll miss you terribly. Thanks for leaving behind all those wonderful memories. 

Maybe, just maybe if I roll those dice correctly… 

 

 

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How James Gunn gave Firefly a standing ovation

Guardians Review

The title may be long, but this is probably going to be my shortest review. Everyone’s calling Guardians of the Galaxy Star Trek or Star Wars.

For me, this was the biggest tribute James Gunn could pay to Joss Whedon and Firefly.

(Lest we forget, Joss also gave us the Avengers movie, which was fun too.)

Let’s look back, shall we – this is a ragtag crew of misfits, coming together in extreme circumstances, to explore the universe and have adventures along the way.

A synopsis for Firefly – that’s how I looked at it.

Firefly - for Guardians Review

Only thing, James Gunn added Chemical X to Firefly and gave us the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Captain Mal Reynolds is transformed into Peter Jason Quill, or as he calls himself, Star Lord. This is a hero with chutzpah, joie-de-vivre, a penchant for fast guns and faster women, and above all, a big heart. He assumes the role of the natural leader, and is fiercely loyal to his crew. And oh, also to his mother’s gift – an audio cassette compiling the best hits from the 80s.

Drax the Destroyer, I would say, is a more refined, evolved version (physically at least) of muscleman Jayne Cobb. While Cobb was mostly a mercenary without a cause (he did show his soft side once in a while), Drax has lost everything in life – his family having been wiped out by Ronan and the Kree clan.

I dare you Firefly fans to tell me that you didn’t find similarities between Gamora and Zoe. Both are strong women who don’t hesitate to pull the trigger when needed, and both are able to hold their own in battle.

His ‘vocabulistics’ (as Rocket puts it) maybe limited to three words (I AM GROOT), but Groot surprisingly turns out to be a voice of reason and compassion, much like Shepherd Book. He is also a great ally to have, as demonstrated in the Kyln and aboard Ronan’s ship Dark Aster. Even Shepherd Book showed his utility as a crew member (not just as a pastor) more than once in Firefly.

Rocket. Now here’s a tricky little fella. You could say the foul mouth automatically makes him more like Cobb, but I don’t know. Bradley Cooper lent the right amount of believability and no-holds-barred fun to a character like Rocket, by the way.

What else? You could say Yondu is like Badger, for instance. And of course, Mal’s Serenity is Quill’s Milano. Couldn’t find any similar characters for River, Simon, Kaylee, Inarra and Wash. Maybe there aren’t any.

I could go on and on about Guardians of the Galaxy and Firefly, but I guess for non-fans it’ll just become boring. I’m not going to reveal any punch lines or interesting plot points, because this is one movie you should go in and watch from start to end, even if you’re not a comic book fan or a fan of the space travel/sci-fi genre.

Guardians of the Galaxy is a great film, above everything else. I give it a solid 9.5/10. It beats The Avengers, and that’s saying something. I recommend you to watch it in IMAX at least twice. You’ll be doing yourself a favour.

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PS: Talking about Captain Mal Reynolds, the man himself, Nathan Fillion, has a blink-and-you’ll-miss cameo in the movie. Try and spot it before the credits roll. And I docked half a point for the end credits scene. Slightly underwhelming.