I’ll keep this short.
World’s Greatest Dad is a funny movie. Perhaps more surprisingly, it is also a very good movie. You can’t say this is a total surprise, as the film’s director, Bobcat Goldthwait (yup, the Police Academy guy), already established a nice little foundation of indie/tv work: the profoundly messed-up Shakes the Clown, the great ruse Windy City Heat, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Chapelle’s Show, but most most of all his 2006 feature Stay, later retitled Sleeping Dogs Lie. Admittedly I have yet to see that last one, but all reports indicate it was surprisnigly nice little film about honesty and (in his words) “a tasteful amount of beastiality.” So WGD seems to be a nice little evolution in his career. (For example, it looks pretty good. Sleeping Dogs Lie was shot on some pretty low quality video, so Bobcat seems to make the leap to 35 with a surprising amount of guile. It’s not flashy or anything, but it’s got real steady feel to it).
Robin Williams gives easily my favorite performance of his since “The Genie” in Aladdin (yes this includes Good Will Hunting) . Even if the situation around him gets a little crazy, he plays it straight. His down to earth, good-natured-but-understandably-frustrated dad just rings very true. Even when things get very crazy and he takes his inner desires to some pretty extreme places. But it works.
But most of all Bobcat has crafted a wholly focused movie; all it’s trying to do is say one true thing (even hinting at this goal by quoting the famous Hemingway axiom of “one true sentance”). It’s an underrated and under-attempted quality in a movie and I found it admirable.
There’s actually a nice little moment that encapsulates this aforementioned one true thing. That moment is when Krist Novoselic shows up. The name Krist Novoselic is an intersting one, because he’s one of those unrecognized yet incredibly influential people. How do you know him? He’s “the other guy” from Nirvana. And his appearence in the movie is completely appropriate. He’s friends with Bobcat and when the director asked Krist to be in said scene, Krist asked “Just what is this movie about anyway?”
(WARNING THEMATIC/KINDA PLOT SPOILERS FOR THE REST OF THE BLURP SO TURN AWAY NOW) Bobcat answered: “You ever know that situation where someone dies and a bunch of people who didn’t know him talk about him, and turn him into something else that has to do with their own wants and needs, and push the people who actually knew him and cared about him off to the side?” Krist apparently smiled “Yeah I think know something about that.”
So yeah. The movie is basically about that. And it leads to Bobcat’s “one true sentance” (which is wonderfully enough the first sentance he wrote down and the starting point for a movie… thematically working backwards is also a wonderfully under-represented thing in movies). Here’s the paraphrased quote: [People think the most terrifying thing in the world is being alone, when really the most terrifying thing in the world is being only with people who make you feel alone.] And the movie earns the right to say it.
I’m looking forward to more Bobcat movies.