“You’re just a kid, you don’t have the faintest idea what you’re talkin’ about.” There are many better lines from Good Will Hunting, but this one stands out. I remember the first time I heard it, watching Good Will Hunting in a nearly empty $1 movie theater off San Mateo Blvd. in Albuquerque. I was 15 years old. My parents were getting divorced. I was getting bullied in school. I had just been forced to start going to counseling myself, and I was madder than hell about it. I was Will Hunting, minus the whole being a genius part of the story. And so when Robin Williams spoke these words, it was the first time in my life I felt as though a movie character was speaking directly to me. I imagine many a millennial would agree that Robin Williams was a part of our adolescent years. Think about it for a moment: Aladdin, Mrs. Doubtfire, Dead Poets Society, Patch Adams, Good Will Hunting, and hell, even Jumanji if we want to be generous.
The more I travel, the more confident I am that despite all our many differences in this world, there are at least two things aside from love that almost every human craves: to laugh and to be inspired. When you really think about it, the best love is that which fills us with laughter and inspiration. And so we love Robin Williams, and we mourn for him in this personal way which might seem strange having never met him, because he inspired us, he made us laugh. And through his craft, in his own unique way, he loved us.
He spoke to a lonely and confused kid in a movie theater in 1998. Despite the confidence I was projecting to the outside world, I was nothing more than a scared kid who didn’t have the faintest idea what I was doing or talkin’ about. That movie gave me the courage to take counseling seriously. I went into my counseling session the next week, with an openness I lacked prior to watching the film. Robin Williams made vulnerability fashionable. In some small way I have him to thank for the large amounts of laughter, inspiration, and happiness that seemed so hard to find at a rough time in my own life and that I have sought out and discovered in my travels and relationships. I don’t really know a better way to pay tribute to such a great comedian and storyteller other than to post two of my favorite scenes from my favorite movie: Good Will Hunting. The first scene is the one where he unleashes one of the most beautiful monologues in the history of film, in my humble opinion. “You don’t know about real loss, ’cause it only occurs when you’ve loved something more than you love yourself. And I doubt you’ve ever dared to love anybody that much. And look at you… I don’t see an intelligent, confident man… I see a cocky, scared-shitless kid.” The second clip is storytelling at it’s best, emotion, movement, and all as he recounts meeting his wife and what real regret is. RIP Robin Williams.
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