In light of Robin William's recent passing, I thought it would be a nice to pay tribute by spotlighting one of his movies. World's Greatest Dad was made in 2009 and centers on a English teacher/ struggling writer named Lance.
This movie is exceptionally dark. Being directed by Bobcat Goldthwait, this shouldn't come as a surprise, considering the fact he's also directed/ written movies about an alcoholic party clown and a girl who sucked off a dog. There are points where I laughed and then immediately felt bad for doing so.
Lance lives like a kicked dog. He can't get any of his work published, nobody wants to take his poetry class, and his teenage son, Kyle, is a complete prick. To really drive home how black of a comedy this is, the movie starts with Lance catching Kyle choking himself while he's jerking off.
Things turn around though, as Kyle eventually dies from said jerking off. (I'm not spoiling, this is all in the Netflix synopsis) Lance, being a decent human, makes it look like a suicide instead of a case of auto-erotic asphyxiation. This, of course, includes forging a suicide note.
Nobody really cares about Kyle's passing at first. He was an asshole. But then his suicide note gets published in the school newspaper and suddenly he's a tortured soul that everyone knew and admired. Of course, things start to turn around for Lance because of this.
Part of what makes World's Greatest Dad such an enjoyable movie is the fact it has a lot of style. There are surreal overtones throughout the entire film, giving the entire experience a dream-like quality. One thing I noticed that doesn't usually strike me about movies was the sound mixing. In order to emphasize particularly awkward situations, there would be no background noise at all, only the strained pause between the actors. Other times, during scenes of high emotion, there is no dialogue at all, only music playing over the film.
As expected, Robin Williams tears it up in this role. It's pretty different from some of his zanier parts (the Genie, Ms. Doubtfire). He plays a meek, soft-spoken man who's just trying to be happy- kind of similar to the character in One Hour Photo, except he's WAAAAY less creepy.
The thing I enjoyed most about this movie was the overarching theme of how our perception of a person can change after they die. Suddenly, somebody who was a complete asshole in life is a celebrated fixture of the community in death. I think there's something to that..
Definitely check this one out.