“The World According to Garp” (1982) dir. George Roy Hill

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One of the first “adult” movies I ever watched was “The World According to Garp” during the summer of 1982. Based on the best-selling novel by John Irving, “Garp” was the tale of T.S. Garp, a writer coming to terms with his own talent as a writer in the shadow of a more famous parent and as a man trying to reconcile his own manhood during a tumultuous time of gender politics (his mother being a very famous feminist writer).

This was an important film in my artistic makeup. Like Lina Wertmuller’s “Seven Beauties,” it’s one of those rare films that mix comedy and tragedy in a completely non-cheesy or schmaltzy mix. Even at 12 years of age, the ending left me completely shattered … as it still does today.

This was the first “dramatic” performance Robin Williams was credited with and in my mind, he was completely underrated. There is one part of the film where he degenerates into the Robin Williams-schtick people know and don’t love anymore, but overall, he deserved an Oscar nod for “Garp,” playing the straight man in a world of lunatics, freaks, and “true believers.” John Lithgow and Glenn Close (in their breakout performances) got their Oscar nods and they were richly deserved.

For a major studio film, this is pretty ballsy material and deserved more attention and acclaim than it received at the time. Over 32 years later, the film … and the performances … hold up very damn well. An underrated American classic.

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Robin Williams interview with Marc Maron (WTF Episode 106)

http://www.prx.org/p/63067

Another brilliant interview from Marc Maron from his stellar “WTF” podcast.  This time, Maron interviews legendary comedian and Oscar-winnning actor Robin Williams (the interview took place sometime in 2011) and it’s the best interview I’ve ever experienced with Williams.  It’s been popular to bash Williams the last several years for the overuse of the manic schtick which made him famous.  Which, if truth be told, has not been entirely unfair.

But seriously, forget all those things you think you hate Robin Williams for.  In this interview, you get none of the manic schtick that’s been de rigeur for Williams for over 30 years.  And Williams still absolutely f–king kills!  Maron and Williams sound like two smart old friends shooting the s–t about all kinds of topics: addiction, the art of comedy, fellow comedians, etc.  Like most of Maron’s interviews, the interview flows like two jazz musicians riffing off each other.  It’s like eavesdropping on a conversation between two incredibly cool people where you can’t even imagine interrupting, because doing so would interrupt the conversational magic taking place.  An amazing hour.