Tuesday, August 12, 2014

This post may not seem strictly YA-related, but bear with me.

One of the first movies I have a distinct memory of watching is Toys. To be honest, I remember very little of the plot. Just fuzzy impressions of LL Cool J (handsome) and Robin Williams (funny) and a big crazy battle in a toy factory (awesome). These are small sparks -- but so often, that's all it takes for an imagination to start lighting fires.

Then there was Aladdin. Oh how that Genie made me laugh! With his vocal impressions, his bad advice, his lame jokes, his exaggerated faces. But the Genie's sense of humor and sharp wit weren't just lights in the dark for a certain struggling street urchin -- they actually helped defeat the villain and save the kingdom. What a beautiful lesson for a kid to learn.

Between movie days at school and random reruns on TV, I must have watched Jumani and Hook a hundred times each. How amazing, for a character to fall into another world. To be a normal person, swept away on a fantastical journey. Even now, that remains one of my favorite story mechanisms.

Then there are the "serious" works. Mrs. Doubtfire. Patch Adams. Good Will Hunting. What Dreams May Come. I put "serious" in quotes, because what Robin Williams always brought to his roles was that perfect balance of levity and gravity. You can't properly understand light without dark, nor flying without falling. Joy and sorrow are two sides of the same coin; they both pull at our emotional cores. They both can lead to tears.

I've cried quite a bit, reading about and remembering Robin Williams. I didn't know him as a person, but as an artist? I feel so fortunate to have been shaped by his work. To have grown up with his smile, his energy, and his heart. Robin Williams nurtured and inspired a generation of young adults. I don't know anything more beautiful or noble than that.

Believe it or not, one of the most famous Robin Williams movies is one that I have never seen. Forgive me. I will remedy this as soon as possible. As soon as I think I can handle it without an entire truckload of tissues.


Unknown said...

He was my hero. His artistic influence on mine is so meaningless in the face of what his family and those close to him must be feeling. So, so utterly sad.

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Stephanie, Ingrid, Sarah & Kristan — we read, write, discuss and celebrate Young Adult lit.



on the shelf

The Bitter Kingdom
Wild Awake
The Raven Boys
Mind Games
Eleanor and Park
The Shattered Mountain
The Shadow Cats
Froi of the Exiles
Days of Blood & Starlight
Every Day
Jellicoe Road
Finnikin of the Rock
Guitar Notes
The Dead-Tossed Waves
The Crown of Embers
New House 5: How A Dorm Becomes A Home
The Fault in Our Stars

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