Your Sunday Steyn: Good Will Hunting, Goodbye Robin Williams

Good Will Hunting :: SteynOnline

The forces of higher education are represented by Stellen Skarsgard as an MIT professor looking for his ticket to the top. It would have been interesting to see the film explore his character’s relationship with Will — both men, in opposite ways, frustrated by the size of their brains. Instead, Skarsgard is there essentially to introduce Will to a shrink pal of his. The shrink is played by Robin Williams. Even worse, it’s Robin Williams in that beard he keeps in the drawer and only brings out for serious roles.

The beard is working overtime here: Williams’ character is a Vietnam vet, child-abuse survivor, recent widower and community college loser, due to the fact that his career stalled while his late wife spent 18 of their 20 years together on her death bed. In Deconstructing Harry, the Woody Allen film released around the same time, Williams had a small role as an actor who goes out of focus – literally: whenever the camera tries to film him, he’s all fuzzy and blurred. On the evidence of Good Will Hunting, it was something of a recurring problem for Williams: his eyes are permanently fuzzy and blurry, as if he’s on the brink of tears. Apparently, Mister Blurry’s participation was Miramax’s sole condition for making the film. That’s a shame, because he’s at odds with an otherwise strong cast. Self-pity is a difficult quality to sell: There’s a neediness in Williams’ performance here, which is what ties his serious roles to the manic comedy. All performers have that to one degree or another, but the trick of acting is to conceal it.

I was always able to take or leave Williams.  I can’t recall ever going to a theater to see him in a first run film, and I was only an occasional viewer of Mork and Mindy.  Still, a lot of people thought he was the cat’s ass.

About Bill Quick

I am a small-l libertarian. My primary concern is to increase individual liberty as much as possible in the face of statist efforts to restrict it from both the right and the left. If I had to sum up my beliefs as concisely as possible, I would say, "Stay out of my wallet and my bedroom," "your liberty stops at my nose," and "don't tread on me." I will believe that things are taking a turn for the better in America when married gays are able to, and do, maintain large arsenals of automatic weapons, and tax collectors are, and do, not.


Your Sunday Steyn: Good Will Hunting, Goodbye Robin Williams — 11 Comments

  1. Strangely enough, many “Limeys” do have an affinity for cross dressing humor and are not the least bit homophobic. Ok in my case it may be anecdotal but I have known a couple hundred British people plus living in HK I am exposed to a lot of British humor. One thing you cannot really say about Continentals or British is that they are less homophobic than the rest of the world.

    The strangest thing about homophobia is that the part of the world most homophobic is known as the part of the world in which homosexual sex is most common. Strange that.

    Robin Williams was a comic genius. I liked Mrs. Doubtfire. Really though, he wasn’t as good after that. Good Will Hunting was entertaining but not really a great movie. So where does Steyn’s criticism veer into homophobia? Ok so maybe I have been trolled, great so be it.

  2. Bullshit fantasies? I don’t think so. Steyn has every right to his opinions, and very often I agree with them. But I know sarcasm very well by having an older brother who is as much a master at it as is Steyn. I doubt you have the time to listen to his 3 hour, days in row, guest gigs on Limbaugh. If you did you wouldn’t blow me off about his barely concealed homophobia. He’s a clever but shallow wordsmith, bought and paid for by Conrad Black. Nothing more.

    As to writing a critical opinion piece for a man he didn’t know, after his death, it is in very poor taste. Can Williams miraculously arise from the grave and defend himself? If you want to see how someone can criticize and praise at such a time, in a thoughtful balanced way because he knew the man, read Victor Davis Hanson’s encomium of Christopher Hitchens.

    • No, you’re more than welcome to stay. We aren’t polite around here, and are rather proud of that fact. But it takes a certain mental toughness to thrive here – and that includes being able to take a load of shit when you piss somebody off here.

      Now: Google Steyn and gays? Why would I do that, when I know the guy and know that he’s not homophobic, except in the fever dreams of gay progressive culture warriors? I’ve found that a large segment of the anti-gay marriage culture is bigoted against gays, in the same way that a large segment of the anti-Zionist/Israel crowd is bigoted against Jews, and the same way the anti-misegenation crowd was bigoted against blacks.

      That said, Steyn doesn’t desire a return to the days when homosexuality itself was illegal, and laws banning it were on every state’s lawbooks. But he’s not amused by the tactics of the cultural thugs at GLAAD, or at the ACLU on GLAAD’s behalf.

      Which is normal for him because, if you know anything about Mark at all, nothing – and I mean nothing – sets him off like some bunch of cultural or intellectual thugs trying to tell him what he can, and cannot, say.

      I’m that way myself, so I get it. Maybe you should think about it, too.

      BTW: “Struck a nerve?” I’m not the one throwing my dress over my head and threatening to flounce out the door.

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