Ho Chi Minh and Col. Sanders - are they the same person?
Jun 10, 2000
Pros: Williams - hands down!
Cons: Some slow parts
Finally, a Viet Nam movie where you don't have to cringe in horror wondering what atrocity you will have to view next. Well, other than Williams rolling his trademark Good Morning, Viet Nam' over the airways every morning. Once again Robin Williams proves there is more to him than the ability to simply make you laugh.
While Adrian Cronauer was a real live person and did perform the duty of disc jockey during the Viet Nam conflict, this story isn't a true biography of his life. Using the background of Cronauer, screenwriter Mitch Markowitz adapts a decent story line for Williams and his uncontrollable wit and style. Frankly, as a director, I would take a huge gulp when confronted with Williams with a mike in front of him. One would just have to step back and say - go ahead - because you certainly couldn't attempt to keep up with him.
When not actually on mike' the story has a few slow moments although the concept of Williams walking into the school and taking over the English class was very enjoyable. I was sorry that they took the side story with Williams' involvement with the Viet Namese girl, other than the fact that it showed a totally human side of Cronauer, as opposed to his gritty wit when performing for his men'. I felt the story should have stayed dedicated to his attempts to give factual news to the guys in the trenches while interspersing it with his rowdy music and terrific humor, but, then again, this is not how the human make up is and you have to accept all facets of a persons life.
One also has to bow to his fellow actors when faced with the realization that Williams is going to dominate the set and the movie, they give outstanding performances as well. Bruno Kirby, as Cronauers' radio replacement is entirely brilliant in his ability to pull off an incredible performance and is hysterical as his bumbling lieutenant. Perhaps the most underplayed part in the movie was Garlick played by Forest Whittaker, basically Williams' eyes and hands in this movie. I cannot call to mind any performance by Whittaker that has not been solid and well developed and really think he is one of the most under appreciated actors in Hollywood.
I really enjoyed the way the director elected to give you visual shots of the men enjoying Cronauers' radio performance and the scene when he meets up with the guys shipping in country' and gives an impromptu performance from the jeep - something Williams excels at! I also was impressed with the fact that the Vietnamese people were given a human touch in this movie, shown in their own living conditions, instead of being portrayed as the constant enemy or the repressed victim.
Having become an adult during this era I thoroughly enjoyed the romp down memory lane with the musical choices by Cronauer. I don't know how many times I have watched this movie and enjoyed it every time. Indeed, it is almost required to watch more than once because of Williams incredible ability to switch from character to character using his voice alone and his quick wit is darn near awe inspiring. Every time I watch it I pick up another quip I missed previously, his talent is remarkable.
Cast: Robin Williams, Forest Whittaker, Chintara Sukapatana, Bruno Kirby, Robert Wuhl, and J.T. Walsh