actors, In My Opinion, music

Dark Comedy “The Professor” and Mortality Films

I heard nothing about Johnny Depp‘s recent dark comedy The Professor when I trolled through Amazon’s waters for something new to rent. It was a love/hate experience. One of those films that has great ideas and witty occasions but executed in a sloppy way that undermines the story. I really wanted to like the film. I love Johnny Depp. And I dislike much of his films. He has so much talent that shines forward in scenes, but he can’t seem to find a film that showcases him to the stature he belongs as an actor. In this film, his voice warbles and remains low and other accents from previous characters creep in. He doesn’t seem to know how to act the part. (2.5 stars) Yet, the ideas about the film come through and linger with me. 

Johnny plays a New England English academic who is diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. He decides not to seek treatment knowing he has six months to live. This confrontation with mortality alters his perception of life and his teaching style. He throws away professionalism and embarks on a journey with his English students with a carpe diem approach including partying and random sex. In short, he throws away his authority and parties it up with his students while expecting earnest conversations. Time is not to be wasted. The movie is a cross between Old School and Dead Poet’s Society. It’s profane and not too funny much of the time. Too bad, since stories with themes that include the insights to a meaningful life appeal to me, and I love a good dark comedy. Maybe you liked it?

Finally, at the end of the movie, the message arrives. Treat your days as though they were your last. Don’t be a part of the 98 percent who embrace mediocrity. Strive to be an individual and live life with meaning. Well, it’s certainly sage advice we’ve heard of before in films. Do you recognize these famous lines?

“Make each day count.  Hear, hear! To making it count.”

“Earn this.”  

“Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.”

“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”

“Life is hard. It’s supposed to be. If we didn’t suffer, we wouldn’t learn a thing.”

“Don’t look back. It drags at your heart till you can’t do anything but look back.”

It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard…is what makes it great.”

“Not all those who wander are lost.”

“A heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others.”

“I do not expect us to agree about everything, but I would much rather have you believe in something I don’t agree with than to accept everything blindly. And that begins with thinking rationally.”

“Listen to me, mister. You’re my knight in shining armor. Don’t you forget it. You’re going to get back on that horse, and I’m going to be right behind you, holding on tight, and away we’re gonna go, go, go!”

Have you noticed many films with the best messages are played by a dynamic duo from the 80s and 90s? Do you think there is a correlation between the memorable lines said by the characters played by Tom Hanks and Robin Williams? That is to say, the sentimentality incurred by their famous lines made them endearing to the public. Another way of putting it — their famous lines made the actor, not necessarily their talent? I do.

What are some of your favorite lines that give insight into the meaning of life?

 

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Jack, Titanic; Capt. Miller, Saving Private Ryan; John Keating, Dead Poet’s Society; Abileen Clark, The Help; Jesse, Before Sunset; Scarlett, Gone with the Wind; Jimmy Dugan, A League of Their Own; Gandalf, The Fellowship of the Ring; The Wizard of Oz; Santosh Patel, The Life of Pi; Ethel, On Golden Pond. 

 

 

actors, Comedy, movies

Robin Williams

Fast-talking and frenetic, his delivery and ad-libbing was pure genius. That type of comedy is hard to pull off, but what lingers in my heart were the characters he played in his more serious roles. Robin was smart, wise, and sardonic. His thought-provoking monologues made you think and learn about life. There were always puns in his lines. Twists. Wisdom. His greatest talent was his sincerity. He had a rare gift for becoming his characters. Actually, I think the characters mirrored the man.

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Dead Poets Society (1989)

John Keating: Thank you for playing Mr. Dalton. I stand upon my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way.

John Keating: Boys, you must strive to find your own voice. Because the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are to find it at all. Thoreau said, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Don’t be resigned to that. Break out!

 

Good Will Hunting( 1997)

Sean: So if I asked you about art, you’d probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo, you know a lot about him. Life’s work, political aspirations, him and the pope, sexual orientations, the whole works, right? But I’ll bet you can’t tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You’ve never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling; seen that.

Sean: You’ll never have that kind of relationship in a world where you’re afraid to take the first step because all you see is every negative thing 10 miles down the road.

Good_Morning,_Vietnam

Good Morning Vietnam (1987)
Adrian Cronauer: Excuse me, sir. Seeing as how the V.P. is such a V.I.P., shouldn’t we keep the P.C. on the Q.T.? ‘Cause if it leaks to the V.C. he could end up M.I.A., and then we’d all be put out in K.P.

 

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What Dreams May Come (1998)

Chris Nielsen: There’s a man Ian never got to know, the man he was growing up to be. He’s a good-looking clear-eyed fella… about 25. I can see him. He’s the type of guy men want to be around, because he has integrity, you know ? He has character. You can’t fake that. And he’s a guy women want to be around, too. Because there’s tenderness in him… respect… and loyalty, and courage. And women respond to that. Makes him a terrific husband, this guy. I see him as a father. That’s where he really shines. See, when he looks in his kid’s eyes and that kid knows that his dad really, really sees him… he sees who he is. Then that child knows that he is an amazing person. He’s quite a guy… that I’ll never get to meet. I wish I had.

 

Mrs D hero

Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
Mrs. Doubtfire: Dear, I always say, a flawed husband is better than none at all.
Miranda: Who needs a husband when I’ve got you?

 

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Hook (1991)

Peter: I want always to be a boy, and have fun.

Wendy:  You say so, but I think it is your biggest pretend.

 

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Patch Adams (1998)
Hunter Patch Adams: All of life is a coming home.

RIP.