You appreciate a talent more when they’ve passed this mortal coil. As careers stall, former fame becomes a nostalgic vehicle wherein performers are forced to rest on their laurels and make sequels to their greatest hits.
Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind takes the viewer on an intimate ride through the late comedian’s life. Never before seen videos of his early education and influences merge with later recollections from those that knew him best. This cable documentary mines a lifetime of accomplishment while not pulling any punches as to the demons (drugs, alcohol and eventually depression) that plagued Williams’ incredible journey.
Williams was a student at Julliard where his roommate was Christopher Reeves, and candid photos from this friendship are juxtaposed in the documentary with home video footage taken on scenic California highways of Williams and college buds pranking passing cars.
In perhaps the doc’s funniest moments, profane outtakes from Mork & Mindy bombard the viewers: “You have the script in your hand and you blew the motherfucking line,” says Williams to the camera. Other candid moments are like love letters, aged by time yet sad since the likes of which will never be again recorded.
For instance, Billy Crystal plays answering machine tapes of messages left by Williams using different voices. Likewise, when Williams was recuperating from surgery, Crystal would leave him comic messages.
Pam Dawber offers profound insight into her co-star’s mindset, having worked with him on the groundbreaking M&M as well as guest-starring in Williams’ last television series, The Crazy Ones, which ran for one season from 2013 through 2014.
Also heartfelt and intense are recollections from Bobcat Goldthwait, one of Williams’ best friends as well as the director of one of Williams’ best films from the end of his filmography, The World’s Greatest Dad. While it’s not specifically brought up in the doc, that dramedy contains a suicide that accurately represents the method Williams used to end his own life.
Clips include stand-up appearances that are guaranteed to stroke the funny bone, yet once again there’s a constant shadow hovering over the presentation that begs to ask how Williams used such appearances to work out his dependency issues. Don’t forget some wonderful exchanges between Williams and Steve Martin recorded from when they played on Broadway in the Mike Nichols directed Waiting For Godot.
The Comedy Store years in Los Angeles are covered in a warts and all fashion. Williams’ first wife, Valerie Velardi, expresses forthright remembrances of their relationship; it was she, after all, who stood by him as he was skyrocketing to fame.
Williams’ second and third wife are conspicuously absent from the mix, and of his three children, Zach has the most input. However, this can be considered a definitive portrait of Williams since there are many truths put forth that define who he was, the things he accomplished and what was actually going on in his mind.
Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind unwinds on HBO this month.
Unfriended: Dark Web exists in a universe of it’s own. Although it’s a sequel to a 2014 film, It’s also a stunt movie in that the entire narrative takes place on a computer. You are literally watching a movie screen as if you were watching a computer screen.
For the first reel, the action seems logical if not occasionally boring due to the fact that the moviemakers try to extend real time to include internet time — you know, that time where you wait for items to download.
A group of friends play game night on Skype, while the lead character also fields secretive messages on Facebook. Turns out he’s stolen a computer that has torture videos on hidden files. Soon, our not-so-inspirational-hero has incurred the wrath of the Dark Web.
After this early development, Unfriended: Dark Web gets stupid fast. Not only do the filmmakers expect the audience to believe in a self-contained universe on the web that conspires to harm non-suspecting surfers, but also that there’s actually a cabal of — how can I politely say this? — dark webbers just waiting to fuck you over.
The film is so desperate for attention that it’s actually releasing two versions of the same film, each with a different ending. No rational person should spend money on Unfriended 2, much less Bitcoin.
Could the events in this film actually happen? Right, yeah, Amazon Prime crashes day one into their big-whoop sale and CNN crashes as too many people rush to see the would/wouldn’t conundrum.
Unfriended: Dark Web opens wide this weekend.