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The World According to Garp

The World According to Garp
(directed by George Roy Hill, 1982)


Wow, what a piece of trash. I'm currently reading John Lithgow's autobiography, Drama, and in it he mentioned playing a transsexual in this film. I had no idea and since I had the film and hadn't got around to watching it yet, I decided to finally give it a go so I could see this John Lithgow transsexual, and Yowza Minelli was this film awful.

The sad thing is - for the first 90 minutes of the movie, I was actually really liking it. I thought the film was FLYING by - and it was never boring. No, this movie isn't boring at all. Sadly, it gets too emboldened or something and it madly dashes off into The Land of Craptacularness. Actually, I might as well start the spoilers now -- it literally drives and CRASHES into Hell.

The only thing I was hating about the first 90 minutes of the film, though, was GLENN CLOSE. She plays a woman who - well, let me start at the beginning - she plays a woman in the 1940's who is an unwed mother and a nurse. We learn that she was stationed in the war or something and this pilot came in with a severe head injury (or something, I didn't commit to memory the things that came out of Glenn Close's mouth) -- she had always wanted to have a baby, but never wanted a husband. Since this injured pilot happened to have a strange condition where he had constant erections that would never go away, and since he was practically retarded now after his accident, she climbs on top of his erection one night and rapes him in order to get his sperm so she can have a baby. That baby grows up to be Garp (Robin Williams), named after the only thing the near-dead and raped pilot could speak aloud.

I hated Glenn Close's character. She was a bitch. She plays an overprotective mother who hates sex. She's always rattling away about LUST! and hating the male sex for having lust. But she's so strange, too -- she buys her son a prostitute for a night after sitting down at a coffee shop with the prostitute to discuss her career. Funny, right? In theory, yes, but the truth was, I never once laughed during The World According to Garp and nothing Glenn Close did could really spare her character for me.

Everything's going well, otherwise, in the movie. I didn't, however, really like Robin Williams playing the Garp character, though. I thought the child actor who played Garp seemed bright and intelligent -- Robin Williams, however, acts dumber than the child actor did. But I think Robin did a very good job later on in the film once his family life (he marries a college sweetheart) turned to *****. And with that, so did the movie, unfortunately.

A few things before that, though -- Glenn Close starts running a house where she helps troubled women who stay with her. John Lithgow as former football star Robert, aka Roberta, is there to help her. The women running around her house have all cut out their tongues as part of some weird movement revolving around a little girl who got raped and had her tongue cut off so she wouldn't tell anyone. Glenn Close has also written a bestselling book and has become the leading voice in the feminist movement. Garp is also writing books, but his books aren't as successful as Glenn Close's, since that bitch seems to get everything in this movie (more on that later). Major drama unfolds around the 90 minute mark when Garp's wife, Helen, starts having an affair with a student that she teaches.

A girlfriend of the male student whom Helen is having an affair with catches them in the act and goes to inform Garp of the situation. Humiliated and angered, he takes his kids away from the house for the night, hiding out in restaurants and movie theatres, unsure of what to do. Fueled by rage, he is cheered on by his two young boys in the backseat of the car who want their dad to drive faster and faster - as if they're flying. They end up flying straight into a car where Helen is giving a blowjob to her boy toy.

One of their kids DIES. The other loses an eye and has to wear a glass eye from now on. Garp and Helen suffer head (and tongue) injuries and the boy toy apparently had his dick chopped off by Helen's teeth during the blowjob and car crash combo. My problem with this? Although there's a dramatic moment during the crash letting us know that one of the kids is killed, it is NEVER really brought up afterwards! Everyone stays in the wacko house run by Glenn Close to recover, with John Lithgow attending to their needs as Heaven's Transsexual. What should have been the most melodramatic moment of the film - wasn't! Everyone seems FINE! Garp is pretty mad at Helen, but ridiculously, he forgives her - and they go off and have another baby! This time it's a little girl, 'cause they have a have a little girl, since this movie is a big feminist film and all that.

The movie, however, isn't done being insane. The best scene comes up next -- Glenn Close is ASSASSINATED at one of her feminist rallies. Someone literally hides behind a window and aims a rifle at her and does her in! John Lithgow tries to transsexually save her, but it's too late. She dies. And of course, Glenn Close gets a funeral and everything, unlike the poor kid who died. She even gets a FEMINIST FUNERAL -- for women only -- no men allowed -- not even her son! He has to dress up like a woman to attend the funeral, but he's caught.

Oh, but the madness isn't even over yet. At the very end of this movie, during a wrestling match, a woman comes up to Garp and TRIES TO ASSASSINATE HIM! The film ends with him being flown in a helicopter, still alive, but heading to a hospital. We have no idea if he lives or not -- check out the book by John Irving, I guess, to find out. And that's the end.

I'm not sure what to really think other than I think the film was handled horribly. It literally turns into John Lithgow Transsexual Massacre by the end. It suddenly goes on a mission to kill every major character and then ends abruptly. I felt like it all amounted to really nothing. I wasn't moved by Glenn Close and her feminist mission. Everything about this movie was strange. Nothing felt like it was saying, "This is the world according to Garp!" It felt more like the world according to Glenn Close. What went wrong? There was something about Robin Williams' performance which just wasn't... it was Robin Williams, but he wasn't ROBIN WILLIAMS, you know? Maybe because it was 1982, he wasn't taken too seriously as an actor yet or something and they let Glenn Close rob him of what emotional weight he really could have brought. I blame her and the screenplay.

It's an awful movie. It really is. It's an entertaining movie, but it's really like a prehistoric Jackass movie -- bizarre situations, characters you don't ordinarily meet on the street, daredevil stunts, deaths and missing body parts. But at least Glenn Close gets shot dead. At least it had that.