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Posts tagged ‘Robin Williams’

Bobcat Goldthwait & Barry Crimmins “Call Me Lucky” Filmmaker on the Edge Award

Bobcat 1Very grateful indeed for this great interview with Provincetown Film Festival’s Filmmaker on the Edge Bobcat Goldthwait. He was being honored for his powerful doc “Call Me Lucky.” And the subject of the doc, which starts off seeming to be about the Stand-Up Comedy scene in Boston turns a sharp corner as it reveals that Crimmins was the victim of child abuse. Crimmins doesn’t hold back on his outspoken views on the Catholic Church, and Goldthwait speaks movingly of the death of his close friend Robin Williams.

He claims that it was a disease known as Louie Body, a cancer syndrome that literally causes the brain to eat itself, that led to his friend’s tragic passing.

Thank you, Bobcat and Barry, for being so forthcoming and for making this incredible documentary, which I saw TWICE in Provincetown.  Goldthwait reveals also that Robin Williams gave him the money to start making”Call Me Lucky” which is coming out later this summer nationwide. The film is dedicated also to Williams. Don’t miss it!

 

Robin WIlliams & Phillip Seymour Hoffman

CapoteI didn’t know Robin Williams. I never had him as a guest on my show. But the seismic impact of his death put me all too much in mind of another shocking seemingly self-inflicted tragedy.

That of the OD of Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Phillip, I knew. We looked so much alike, as I have noted before, and I interviewed him more than once and talked to him many times at press events. He always seemed to be nearby.

And the world, and especially, the Show Biz world. My world? Reacted very profoundly to Williams’ horrible manner of passing. It seemed incomprehensible because everything you read about him, and certainly his many, many performances over many decades, seemed to convey joy. And of course, laughter. And well, his exit is not funny, by any means.

And now comes the news of his having Parkinson’s disease, which makes this tragedy a bit more comprehensible. He knew what he was doing. His wife says he was sober. This suicide was a conscious decision on his part, something he had to do. And no one can stop a determined suicide victim. He HAS to go. So he goes…and clearly Williams didn’t care the last image of himself that is now stamped invariably on all his comic antics. It’s so sad. But it was what he wanted to do. And he did it.

Everybody has been asking me about him and his death as if I KNEW him. I’ll say again, I only knew his work. Which I loved.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman, the more I think about it, must’ve been so out of his mind on smack that he may not have known exactly when he crossed that line of death. I don’t think he has trying to kill himself. Not in the way Williams just did.

I’ve been very troubled and haunted by Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s death. But somehow, Williams’ end has put Phillip’s departure in a kind of perspective I didn’t expect, but needed.  Yes, you still feel awful for the children. They both had three kids. And the wives.

I was drawn to watch “Capote” arguably Phillip’s greatest performance and the one he won the Oscar for. I hadn’t seen it since I first saw it at the Toronto Film Festival, where I am heading once again in a week.

I was totally gripped by “Capote.” I was spellbound all over again. His artistry was operating at its’ highest level in that performance. And the massive achievement it was for him. AND director Bennett Miller, who is still with us and has a new TIFF film “Foxcatcher” that I’m looking so forward to seeing in Toronto.

Phillip is gone. But “Capote” will last forever. I felt incredibly comforted by his harrowing and ultimately heartbreaking performance of the  ultimate user and abuser that  Truman Capote certainly was.

And as I listened to the Special Features Audio Commentary with Phillip and Bennett Miller, who were the closest of friends, at one point Phillip says “Alcoholism was the subplot. Alcohol was always around. Especially towards the end of the film.” Or words to that effect. And alcohol was one of the things that ultimately drove Phillip over the edge at the end also.

Then I picked up an old newspaper(I’m frantically cleaning and simultaneously packing for my big Canadian Trip of trips), the NY post that I was about to discard headlined Phillip on the front page saying “I Am a Heroin Addict.” And of course that made me sad. Momentarily. But then I just kept listening to the Special Features on “Capote” which is like watching the film for two and three times more, I was again comforted by the nuanced, great subtle performance of a lifetime that he gave playing what could have been a huge gay stereotype of a man, but wasn’t at all.

“Capote” was making me happy. Of all films. And at this terrible time, when every magazine and newspaper, and internet site, is blaring out “ROBIN WILLIAMS 1951-2014” at me.( I don’t have a working television right now. But that’s ANOTHER story.) And eventually, the pain and shock of Robin’s violet death will pass, too. And we will be left with the great gift of his talent, and his staggering number of great performances. He made us laugh. Now he’s making us cry. But time will bring a perspective on him, as it has with Phillip.

And we’ll just be happy hopefully, and grateful for the great work they did give us in their lifetimes.

 

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“Aladdin” Worst Disney Cartoon-to-Stage Transfer Ever!

I thought I’d never live to see a bus-and-truck (lowest denomination road company) musical production on Broadway, but I just saw “Aladdin” and yes, ladies and gentle-persons, it ALREADY looks like it’s touring the sticks. Ugh.

I can’t believe I’m saying this but it’s Disney who has set its’own bar very, very high. You can’t just put a dud like “Aladdin” on Broadway and put the word Disney on it and expect the multitudes to throng in. Or maybe you can.

I kept thinking “Oh No! They’re NOT going to do that??” and then by gum they did it.

And I LOVED the movie. It was one of Disney’s sweetest cartoons, and Robin Williams’ voicing the genie, is sorely missed. It was the most original of creations. The magic carpet was a character. Jafar the Evil Brassiere, I mean, Vizer, had a monkey not a retard for a pet. And the monkey was voiced by the annoying Gilbert Gottfried. I even missed him! This is so bad and no, you just CAN NOT replicate the magic on stage, easily.

Easy, or rather cheesy, is the word for this production. The sets, the over-bedangled costumes. The over-choreographed choreography, if there is such a thing.

Director Casey Nicholaw, who wowed us with “Book of Mormon,” seems here to have lost all his talent, or left it with the Mormons. He’s done serious damage to his reputation with “Aladdin”, and no, you can’t make a wish and take all this back, and do it over. But he should. He’s let the genie out of the lamp and you can’t put him back in.

Especially the large-and-in-charge James Monroe Iglehart as the Genie, who huffs and puffs his way through his big number(And I mean, BIG) “A Friend Like Me” to such an extent I feared for his health. He looked like he was in cardiac arrest. He was having to a heart attack to get a standing ovation in the middle of the first act. Which he got, by about six or seven scattered people, who seem to have THOUGHT they should do it, because they’ve read that it happened before. I wanted to call an ambulance. if not for him, then for me. Yes, I said it was a painful experience to sit through. As in chest pain.

I mean, girls were squealing. Little kids were, too. Just like they did at “Newsies” a show which “Aladdin” resembles in tone and format. OLD FASHIONED. But “Newsies” had a better choreographer, so the dances were always innovative and snappy. NOT SAPPY, like they are here.

A LOT of dancing, isn’t necessarily GOOD dancing. It aspired to Bollywood. But Bollywood does this way better every time.

Adam Jacobs as Aladdin is almost the only saving grace of this painful experience. And they HAVE kept the original voice of the Evil Jafar, Jonathan Freeman, thank goodness! He’s reveling in his misdoings so much, I thought it was the great Peter Bartlett. But no, fear. It’s Disney, so this show is guaranteed to run at least long enough for Bartlett to replace him, when HE has a cardiac. Freeman, I mean, not Bartlett.I feared for his health too. It’s THAT kind of musical. It’s so over-done the cast seems literally to be killing themselves, because they have to work double over-time to hide the fact that THERE’S NOTHING THERE!

This show was so bad, so lacking in imagination I felt for the late lyricist Howard Ashman, who created the magical, moving movie cartoon “Aladdin” in the first place, and wrote the lyrics to the songs that have wisely been retained for this cartoon of a stage version. I felt like he was turning over in his grave.

And I felt sorry to for Alan Menken,too, the composer, who is still very much in the land of the living. Although “Aladdin” is just D.O.A. Dead. Dead. Dead.

Disney better be tuning up “Frozen”, and I’m sure they are.

I say Bring On Adele Dazeem!

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