Tag Archives: Bobcat Goldthwait

“World’s Greatest Dad” One of the Best of the Fest

Robin Williams has had a spotty track record.  He did Good Will Hunting, One Hour Photo, and the hilarious dark comedy Death to Smoochy.  However, he also did RV and License to Wed, so you can’t just pick any Robin Williams film and bank on its awesomeness.  However, I am happy to report that World’s Greatest Dad is one of his awesome.

Robin Williams plays Lance Clayton, a high school English teacher who dreams of being a famous writer.  Sadly, he keeps churning out book after book, only to meet an equal number of refusals from publishers.  Lance jokes that he’d love to make “a shitload of cash,” but as with most artists, would just love to find an audience.  With his son Kyle obnoxiously demeaning any attempts at bonding, the impending demise of his poetry class, and girlfriend Claire’s coziness with other English teacher Michael, life couldn’t be any worse for Lance.  When will he get his break?

This is another film that delivers in unexpected ways, so I’m keeping a lid on the rest.  Williams’ portrayal of Lance lacks the conviction of psychiatrist Sean from Good Will Hunting or the mad hilarity of Rainbow Randolph in Death to Smoochy.  Instead, he’s just a poor sap with moments of comic wit.  He isn’t as pathetic as Caden Cotard in Synecdoche, New York, but he acts just weak enough to make us believe in the push-over existence of a character who feels authentic.

However, after sucker punching you with laughter, the film uppercuts you with intriguing themes: an interesting analysis of celebrity culture and the concurring illusions of connectivity to the famous showcases the film’s intelligence and attraction. It also poses questions about truth, ethics and art–for example, when a piece of art affects people’s lives like the asteroid affected the dinosaurs, does the fact that said art was founded on a lie undermine the truth others find within that lie?  Should you just keep lying to continue helping people or shatter their worldview by being honest?

This however, is not to say that the film is stuck up its own ass.  Daryl Sabara will surely find his way into mainstream comedy culture, based on his portrayal of the uncouth little asshole Kyle, who spews vileness that rivals the most uncomfortable moments of Superbad.  And Alexie Gilmore does a great job as Claire, manipulating the audience and Lance alike: does she really like him or is it a charade?  Her affections are genuinely endearing, which is all the more confusing when she says she’s “just friends” with Michael…

The film will leave you breathless with laughter, but also stray into the dark, touching, and intellectually engaging.  This is all the more impressive since it was written and directed Bobcat Goldthwait, that guy better known for parts in the Police Academy movies and the voice of Foppy the puppet on the tv show Unhappily Ever After… Goldthwait is able to take us deeper into the comedy/drama realm than the recent triumphs of Judd Apatow in Funny People, Knocked Up, and The 40 Year Old Virgin.  Where Apatow’s films are touching, Goldthwait is nicking the marrow of human existence with his subtle analysis of relationships and loneliness.  I don’t know if World’s Greatest Dad is just a fluke of artistic achievement from Goldthwait, but I will be looking forward to his next film.

World’s Greatest Dad could be one of the best films at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.  In a week and a half I can affirm or deny this prediction, but in the mean time, I need to find out when I can see it again.

author’s note

It appears that the film has already been released theatrically and is available on DVD.  Find this film and pass it around, I beseech thee.  You will not be disappointed.

Edinburgh International Film Festival Schedule Released

The Edinburgh International Film Festival has just released their schedule for the 12 day long festival, which starts June 16 and ends June 27.  Tickets for the festival go on sale tomorrow at noon.

You can read through the digital brochure here or go to the film fest’s website here to look through their calendar.

Due to your readership, dear Film Fan, I have secured a Press Pass for the festival. This makes almost all of the screenings free. Without your readership, I would be spending over a 100 pounds trying to cover a fraction of the festival’s events. So thank you.

To honor your support, please look through the festival’s brochure and tell me what films you want reviewed  – or simply if I’ve overlooked a great film at the fest. I cannot promise I will be able to deliver all reviews given time restraints, but I will do my best.

There are an insane number of films being shown, so the following are the main titles I’m looking forward to seeing.

22 Bullets

“Jean Reno gets shot 22 times…and he’s not happy about it.”  Produced by Luc Besson (Unleashed, The Fifth Element) and starring our favorite hit man, this is high on my list.

BAFTA Scotland Interview: Sir Patrick Stewart

Who would pass up a chance to see Captain Picard?

Cigarette Girl

A dystopia in which smokers are separated from the rest of the city, it looks like a fun B-movie.

Get Low

Robert Duvall plays Felix Bush, an old timer who wants to have a funeral party – while he’s still alive.  Throw Bill Murray into this 1930’s period piece and I’m there.

H.P. Lovecraft’s The Dunwich Horror

This will be a “audio horror movie,” using the cinema’s sound system to tell Lovecraft’s tale.


Documentary from Jeffrey Blitz (Spellbound, Rocket Science) detailing the lives of lottery winners.  Given the greatness of Rocket Race and an NPR piece I heard discussing the making of the film, it should deliver the goods.


After contact with alien life has gone awry, the Mexican/U.S. border becomes “infected” territory.  Monsters received buzz at SXSW and has been compared to District 9.  Probably the film I’m most anticipating at the festival.

My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?

Directed by Werner Herzog and produced by David Lynch, that’s enough to watch.  Adding Michael Shannon (a little known actor who was phenomenal in Shotgun Stories), Michael Pena (Crash, The Shield), Chloe Sevigny, and Willem Dafoe is just icing to the cake.


Looking forward to this based solely on the reviews, tagging it as a UK horror that throws out the rules.


Described by the EIFF as a prison story that makes A Prophet “look like porridge.”

Red Hill

“This Western-style outback thriller is action cinema at its very best.”


“The Afghanistan war film that renders all others unnecessary.”  After being embedded for 15 months, the film is supposed to be an unflinching analysis of modern warfare, featuring civilian and military casualties.

The Last Rites of Ransom Pride

It’s 1910 and a young woman is hellbent on returning the body of outlaw Ransom Pride to Texas for a proper burial.  Described as a “dark, violent western” reminiscent of Tarantino, Pekinpah, and Sergio Leone, with cameos from Kris Kristofferson, Dwight Yoakam, Jason Preistly, and a shotgun wielding Peter Dinklage, it sounds like a good ride.

The People vs. George Lucas

I posted a blog piece about this that you can read here.  Super pumped for this one.

Toy Story 3

UK premiere of Pixar’s latest.

World’s Greatest Dad

Starring Robin Williams in a dark comedy/drama directed by Bobcat Goldthwait, it’s sure to be interesting given Williams abilities showcased in One Hour Photo and Death to Smoochy.

Other film of interest include: Act of Dishonour, And Everything is Going Fine, Au Revoir Taipei, Blank City, Boy, Caterpillar, Chase the Slut, Cherry Tree Lane, Crime Fighters, Evil in the Time of Heroes, Fog, Gravity, Henry of Navarre, HIGH School, Hotel Atlantico, Jackboots on Whitehall, Lucky Luke, Ollie Kepler’s Expanding Purple World, Perastroika, Police Adjective, Postales, Privelege, Putty Hill, Skeletons, Snowman’s Land, Son of Babylon, Soul Boy, The Dry Land, The Hunter, The Oath, The Red Machine, The Robber, The Sentimental Engine Slayer, Third Star, Two Eyes Staring, Vacation, and Went the Day Well?

There are still some costs to covering the film festival, so if you like the blog and can afford to support my work, donate below.  If you donate $10 or more, I will send you a DVD of my short films. One finds more value in their work when people are willing to pay for it.