Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Good Morning, Vietnam


Back in 1987 I was still stunned at the ability of Robin Williams to improvise stuff like this off the top of his head, non-stop, faster than a machine gun of comedy. Now, I find it all a bit too fast. I wish for just a wee bit of time to savor some of the jokes. But I guess that’s just the way it came out of his head. You get the impression that he had little real control over it. If my head was boiling with stuff like that, 24/7, maybe I’d have wanted to turn it off, too.

It’s common knowledge that the real Adrian Cronauer was not at all as we see him in the movie. He didn’t use comedy, he mostly just spun records. He was, and is, a Republican. So pretty much all the charms of this movie are due to the several extended scenes where Robin improvised his insane stuff, and are entirely fictional. He is helped by good performances by Forest Whitaker, early in his career, and Bruno Kirby as the un-funniest radio comic in history, a man totally convinced that he is funny. I was saddened to find out that he died almost a decade ago, from leukemia.

All in all, it’s not as wonderful as I remember it, but it’s still good. And Lee and I both wondered, is Robin Williams’ comedy now forever tainted because we know of his tragic end? Will we forever look at him and listen to him and try to find clues to what must have been torturing him? I sure hope not, but only time will tell.