It had become somewhat trendy to diss Robin Williams in recent years — and let’s face it, projects like “RV” and “Death to Smoochy” made it somewhat easy. But these are tiny blemishes, and who doesn’t have a few of those? His was a stupendous, magical career, and to say he will be missed doesn’t come close to conveying our feelings right now.
When I heard the news of his death, the first Williams movie I thought of was “The Best of Times”. Weird, huh? You may not even have seen it: from 1986, it told the story of small-town banker Jack Dundee (Williams), who, against the town’s better judgement, organizes a rematch of a fateful high school football game from 12 years before which he had lost by dropping a crucial pass.
It also featured Kurt Russell as former Taft High School quarterback Reno Hightower, and Pamela Reed and Holly Palance as their wives. It spoke to me on a level few of his films ever did.
Williams never did much with sports themes on the big screen — aside from cycling, he wasn’t much of a fan (although he really got into the San Francisco Giants’ playoff run in 2010, attending almost every game). But “The Best of Times” was a beautiful exception: it was nostalgic, funny, heartwarming and, most of all, true.