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INDIEWATCH: 10 ways to stream Robin Williams

Robin Williams in “Dead Poets Society,” available to watch Amazon Prime.

If you’re like me, you want to bask in Robin Williams’ movies more than ever now that he’s gone. Here are a couple of films you can catch on streaming for the mourning mood that tickles your fancy.

“Popeye” 1980

Available: Netflix Instant

Williams plays spinach addict, Popeye, alongside Shelley Duvall’s Olive Oyl. They bump elbows with Bluto (Paul L. Smith), and if my 11-year-old memory’s correct, there was no better actor to embody this long-time cartoon hero. Though it’s way weird to see Williams with blond hair, this one’ll take ya back to his more youthful days.

Rating: PG

Time: 1:54

Dead Poets Society” 1989

Available: Amazon Prime

I know what “yop” is because of this movie. Williams is a forward-thinking professor at a stuffy prep school. More than Shakespeare and Walt Whitman, he teaches the boys how to think outside the box.

I imagine this role is

frequently quoted and referenced in tight-knit teacher circles, and this movie made me ugly-cry in my sophomore English class. If you haven’t seen this, what’re you waiting for? It costars Ethan Hawke and Robert Sean Leonard.

Rating: PG

Time: 2:08 

“Awakenings” 1990

Available: Amazon Prime

Dr. Malcolm Sayer (Williams) is a genius physician who stumbles across a “cure” for catatonic patients — give them doses of happy juice — or a form of dopamine. Jack (Robert De Niro) is the guinea pig/star patient who goes from a vegetable to a man who walks, talks and crushes on another patient. Between Williams and De Niro, both sets of acting chops are astounding. And bonus: It’s based on the memoir of neurologist Oliver Sacks.

Rating: PG-13

Time: 2:01

“The Fisher King” 1991

Available: Netflix Instant

This one might be a no-no. Parry (Williams) is a mentally troubled homeless man, who pairs with a former deejay Jack (Jeff Bridges). They form an unlikely friendship when Parry saves Jack after a run-in with some violent thugs. It turns out that Parry’s lack of a living sitch is inadvertently Jack’s fault. This was one of the first movies that I watched Williams do drama. Now, that he’s gone, you’ll cry from his performance, and it won’t be cute.

Rating: R for language and violence

Time: 2:17

“Hook” 1991

Available: Netflix Instant

Peter Pan (Williams) returns to Neverland after Captain Hook (Dustin Hoffman) kidnaps his children. Williams was made for this role, and watching him go from stuffy father figure to embracing who he really is moving. This one might be hard to watch, too.

Rating: PG

Time: 2:24

“Mrs. Doubtfire” 1993

Available: Amazon Prime

Williams dresses as an elderly nanny to snag more time with his kids after a divorce. And drag never looked more endearing. Watching this decades after I fell in love with it, “Mrs. Doubtfire” gave Williams another platform to shine, in his seamless, back-to-back impressions. Some would argue this was him at his peak. I’d say that this is when he further blew up.

Rating: PG-13

Time: 2:05

“Jumanji” 1995

Available: Netflix Instant

Two kids play a magical board game and a hell of jungle-like proportions breaks loose. We’re talking boa constrictors, elephants and an off-his- rocker hunter are in it to conquer and destroy. Williams plays father to the two rascals who threatened the world’s existence. This was a huge deal when I was a preteen, and for you youngins, without this film, there’d be no “Zathura.”

Rating: PG

Time: 1:44

“Birdcage” 1996

Available: Amazon Prime, Netflix Instant

In “Birdcage,” Williams is a drag club owner/gay man who plays it straight to meet his son’s fiancee’s uber conservative parents. It costars Nathan Lane, Gene Hackman and

Dianne Wiest. This is a Mike Nichols joint (“The Graduate, “Charlie Wilson’s War”), and a bunch of songs were written by Broadway legend Stephen Sondheim. This is sure to make you smile through some tears of mourning.

Rating: R for language

Time: 1:57

“One Hour Photo” 2002

Available: Amazon Prime

Williams waxes creepy in this thriller about a lonely film processor (remember that?) who lives through the images and lives of his customers. It gets really trippy when Sy (Williams) becomes obsessed and fantasizes about the Yorkins. Haven’t seen this one in about a decade, and at that age, I hated it cause it was too outside Williams’ regular roles. But now, that’s exactly what makes this pick noteworthy.

Rating: R for sexual content and language

Time: 1:36

“World’s Greatest Dad” 2009

Available: Netflix Instant

Williams plays Lance, a failed author whose son dies in an embarrassing accident. Lance covers the shame with a suicide setup and his son’s penned farewell makes him a posthumous hit. Sounds a bit like “Heathers,” and Lance is a less cray version of Christian Slater / Winona Ryder. Added bonus: It’s written and directed by Bobcat Goldthwait.

Rating: R for language, crude and sexual content, some drug use and disturbing images

Time: 1:39

Also available on Amazon Prime and Netflix Instant: “Patch Adams” and “Jack.” Where’s “Good Will Hunting”? As of press time, neither streaming services offered it.

I know …

Melinda Lavine
Lavine is Features Editor for the Duluth News Tribune. Before moving to Duluth, she worked as Features Editor at the Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald, where she helped launch their features section. She loves movies, dogs, Twin Ports restaurant recommendations and Big Wave Dave and the Ripples. She's also jazzed to be at the DNT. 
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