Just Jack: A Big Screen Crush

Grab your popcorn and concession stand snacks because this week Rachel M, host of ‘In Slow Motion,’ will talk about her big screen crush and in that reveal that she’s enamored with the way her crush takes on characters. That, in turn, inspired how I chose my big screen crush this week because at first I was going to go with Channing Tatum in ‘Magic Mike,’ but…well, performance? So here we are with Robin Williams in maybe a lesser known role, but a great one nonetheless. 

There are a handful of movie moments that can make me weep and this monologue from ‘Jack’ is definitely in the top 3. For those that never watched this Robin Williams’ movie, here’s the bare bones – he’s a 10-year-old kid with a disease that makes him look 40. His parents homeschool him until he finally talks them into letting him go to school. Yes, there are some bumps in the road but omfg, he makes it to his high school graduation and that’s where I lose it. 

Now, I was a year shy of 10 when I sat in my little hometown theater and watched ‘Jack’ for the first time. Since then I’ve watched it more than a few dozen times on VHS, TV, and any streaming device that’d allow. Of course, after he passed in 2014 I paused any and all Williams’ movies because he is one of those people you may never know, but whose death rocks you to your fucking core. So watching ‘Jack’ was definitely not going to happen for some time because it already had the power to make me ugly cry.

Despite not being able to watch it in recent years, ‘Jack’ remains one of my favorite Robin Williams’ characters because he embodies so much joy for life. Jack was dealt a shit hand in, but he never lost that childlike innocence and always viewed the world with a hint of wonder in his eyes. Even when he looked like a senior citizen at the end of the movie, he was fucking ready to party. 

As we get older, we tend to lose that innocent love of life, that childlike wonder that makes taking chances seem less scary than they really are. Especially when rent is due, our backs are aching, our stamina just ain’t what it used to be. In those moments, it’s important to think about Jack and embrace the kid you once were, and view the world from that perspective again. Even if it’s just for a brief moment. Drown out the monotony of adulthood and be…free. 

That’s the lesson I will always hold close to my heart from Jack, and why when it comes to performance on the big screen, this Robin Williams’ one can’t be beat for me. 

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