OCMC: Lance Clayton in World’s Greatest Dad
Okay, I believe I’ve got this week mapped out the way I want. We’re going to start with the heavier performances and work our way out of the dark side of things. Like Anakin Skywalker, only trending in the opposite direction.
So this little. . .thing that I’m doing. . . .to pay proper tribute to the full range of acting chops Robin Williams undeniably possessed might seem like it’s starting a bit solemnly — I mean, I’m not sure you can find a darker comedy that this man has been in (perhaps Death to Smoochy gives it a run for its money) — but as the week goes on I’ll do my best to turn that frown upside-down by looking into some of his more funny moments. Come next Sunday, hopefully we will have built our way up to a fitting conclusion to this man’s legacy.
His wickedly fast comedic tongue most assuredly is what he’s most known for, though his markedly reserved dramatic persona is not to be ignored, either. Frequently these smaller moments in a career packed with bigger and more luminous ones are overlooked, because. . . well, we all do love it so when Robin makes us laugh.
Here, though, we couldn’t be further from that comfort. In this pitch-black comedy involving a high school teacher who is broken by his son’s suicide (and there’s no really good way of saying this) via autoerotic asphyxiation, Robin Williams demonstrates a truly heartbreaking reaction to his son’s untimely death. This one moment may be particularly sensitive given the events that have since transpired, but this is as good as I’ve ever seen Williams hold the screen as far as convincing us that real loss is going on around him.
World’s Greatest Dad is directed by none other than Bobcat Goldthwait (still the best name in the business, if you were to ask me. . .but you’re not so I guess we can move on) and stars Robin Williams as the aforementioned teacher; Daryl Sabara as his awful son Kyle; Alexie Gilmore as Lance’s love interest as well as colleague. . .and then several, several names you’ve likely never heard of.
The bulk of the movie’s emotional heft revolves around these key players, with various supporting roles showing up in the latter half of the film to offer support and their condolences to the shattered man. And this is precisely where the movie starts to take a really, really darkly comic turn. I don’t know. This movie is pretty weird, but I enjoy it. An overlooked piece for sure.
Quoted: “Ernest Hemingway once said all he wanted to do was write one true sentence. He also tried to scratch an itch on the back of his head with a shotgun.”