When I was new to New York City in 1985, having been hired by WPIX TV, I was welcomed with a congratulatory phone call from Robin Williams. He told me that I was talented and that I belonged there. He gave me words of advice that I continue to hold dear to this day. By the way, just three months before I accepted the WPIX job offer, my Vice-President boss at the Milwaukee station told me that I didn't have the talent to get to New York. Robin's phone call meant a lot to me.
I was in a sandwich shop in Northern California last year when I saw the news bulletin that he was dead. I went into the restroom and broke out crying. He'd deeply touched my heart in the few encounters that we had. And, of course, he dazzled me with his talents on the small and big screen for years and years.
Robin Williams and Kathy Baker star in BOULEVARD. It opens in New York City on July 10th and in selected other cities on July 17th. It should open wider. His fans should see him play this closeted married man whose ordinary life is suddenly disrupted and unpredictable. He's forced to face the reality of himself at age 60.
Nolan's smile at work seems listless. There's not a vibrancy about him. His spirit seems to have been dulled. You sense a sadness in him onscreen that plays on the sadness you assume the actor carried personally. A sadness from physical challenges so heavy that it caused him to take his own life. Nolan's fairly innocent relationship with the irresponsible street whore will cause a mess. Will Nolan fix the mess by being honest with his wife, his brother, his father, himself? Or did that U-turn lead to a dead end?
Robin Williams is quite moving as a man who's been asleep at the wheel of his own life. If you took a 25 year-old to see Boulevard and, when it ended, said "Robin Williams was one of the wildest and funniest people in show business, the response would probably be "No way!" If you had that same 25-year old then watch a classic episode of Mork & Mindy followed by the movies Good Morning, Vietnam (1987) and Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), that young adult would be awed at the range of Robin Williams.
Kathy Baker has proven her acting chops in Street Smart (1987) co-starring Williams' dear friend Christopher Reeve, Edward Scissorhands (1990), The Cider House Rules (1999) and Cold Mountain (2003). She's done extensive work on TV such as the CBS series Picket Fences and on Medium. Her Boulevard role may be one of the best she's had in a while.
The film was written and directed by Dito Montiel. It runs about 90 minutes.