Patch Adams (1998)
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Robin Williams give a 5-star performance in Patch Adams. He is a genius in creativity and comedy, but knows how to bring every aspect of a person's life out on the screen. I know that he is just playing the role, but he wraps you entirely into a movie and makes it seem like he is the man.
I recommend this movie to all...young and old. It's a winner forever in my heart.
Patch Adams is loosely based on a real character who, feeling suicidal in his twenties, admitted himself into a psychiatric institution. He soon emerged convinced that loving kindness will heal most ills, or at least make the disease more palatable.
The real Patch Adams entered and passed medical school in the 1970's and opened an alternative medical facility called the Geshundheit Institute which, if you can believe the film, offered free treatment of a sort; the sort that uses drugs pinched from the local hospital.
Enter Robin Williams as Patch Adams. If laughter is the best medicine, you're a bit of a Robin Williams fan and you enjoy a big dose of Hollywood fantasy, then this film will please you greatly.
He begins the film bedraggled and of course much older than the real Patch. He's depressed and might kill himself so he puts himself into the hands of the doctors.
He's locked into a room with a fellow patient called Rudy (Michael Jeter) who is crouched on the bed terrified of imaginary squirrels. Patch blows them away with imaginary machine guns and a doctor is born!
Cut to the medical school where an army styled dean (Bob Gunton, who played the warden in The Shawshank Redemption) is determined to turn his students into doctors; creatures far superior to humans. The stage is set.
This is classic Robin Williams territory. He plays the well meaning, very funny, inordinately warm human being who bucks authority and who appeals to the better instincts of those insensitive individuals who are in power. We've seen this before in Good Morning Vietnam, Mrs. Doubtfire, When Dreams Might Come and Good Poets Society; his kindly uncle persona. Williams has made this territory his own.
Patch Adams works the magic well. It's laced with terrific Robin Williams one liners which are often absurdly funny and lots of gently humourous slapstick clowning, largely to do with props such as enema bulbs as false noses or bed pans as shoes.
There are a succession of set pieces; the most unrealistic of which is the crashing by Patch with student friend Truman (Daniel London) of a Meat Packers convention; the most amusing of which is a wonderfully outlandish welcome for a gynecological convention; the most annoying of which is the wooing of a young medical student called Carin (Monica Potter) by the very middle aged Patch.
A middle aged lover for Patch would have been a pleasing variation on the old geyser gets young bird theme which is so popular.
And then there's even a court scene (in a hospital!) thrown in with an appropriate audience of cancer patients and you can be sure that you've been asked to leap through just about all of the appropriate hoops, but so what! Robin Williams can make this sort of stuff work pretty well.
Patch Adams is Robin Williams at his middle aged best. It's not as anarchic as Mork And Mindy, as energetic as Good Morning Vietnam, as sad as Dead Poets' Society, as funny as Mrs. Doubtfire or as wishful as When Dreams Might Come. But Patch Adams is pretty funny and reasonably intelligent.
For a nice "family" movie, the profanity and sexual innuendos are a little much, so I don't think is one for the kids. (They wouldn't like it anyway.) Adults shouldn't mind. The language isn't that bad, anyway.
"Patch's" remedy for not only sickness but to get-the-girl is humor. It takes him awhile but he softens the hard-shell woman he's after (Monica Potter) and even the super stiff-ass roommate (Philip Seymour Hoffman) in the end. This film is tailor-made for Williams and his great sense of humor and ability to ad-lib. He has a lot of funny lines in here.
There is one little kid in here who's smile is one of the best I've ever seen on a human being, and I wish the boy had more scenes. The touches of sentimentality he brings, along with the laughter, is wonderful to see and heart- warming, to say the least. This is an inspiring story with comedy and romance and drama. That's what makes it so effective: a good combination of genres. One minute you're laughing, a few minutes later you have tears in your eyes.
A wonderful story, nicely acted and nicely told.
Don't let the previews fool you: this is not a comedy. This is a very moving drama based on the real life of Hunter "Patch" Adams and his trials on the road to becoming a doctor and attempting to revolutionize the health care industry by creating a free hospital in West Virginia (which has come to pass and is presently being constructed, or so the overlayed tagline at the end of the movie claims).
Williams delivers a stellar performance as Patch, who practices "Laughter Is The Best Medicine" and entertains and amuses hospital patients in an effort to befriend them and ease their pain. So as you can imagine, Williams' clownish personality and humor seep in and bring an incredible vibrance to the character. His performance alone is worth your ticket, but the supporting actors (Philip Hoffman and newcomers Daniel London and Monica Potter) also deliver great performances and add a lot to the story. The plot is well done (being partially written by Adams) and the story may inspire you.
My only major complaint about the movie (and why I say it's a hair off center) is the very stereotypical and uber-evil portrayal of the dean of the medical school, who has a vendetta against Adams but for which a real reason is never given. (This could be attributed to Adams' hand in the scripting, but I doubt it.)
Beyond that, this movie is very enjoyable, very touching, and very award-worthy. If it doesn't show up at least a couple times at the Oscars I'll be very disappointed. But just go see it for yourself. And if you don't cry at least once before the end, be worried; there is probably something wrong with you.
If you enjoy the movie, you may also want to check out the book by the real Patch Adams, entitled "Gesundheit!: Bringing Good Health to You, the Medical System, and Society Through Physician Service, Complementary Therapies, Humor, and Joy". Amazon.com carries it (as should any other reputable bookseller).
This is my number 1 worst movie of all time. It was so soppy and over sentimental it literally made me feel nauseous. I loved Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting (one of my favourite movies) this movie has pretty much put me off him forever. I found the character of Patch so completely annoying he made the movie impossible to enjoy.
The part when he is about to kill himself and finds meaning in life again from a butterfly and the scene where all the children come in to the court room with clown noses on were the worst.
The sad thing is that the fact that it is based on a fairly remarkable true story, And could have been done so much better. This is in my opinion jointly the fault of the screenplay and of Robin William's over-acting.
I give it a 1 out of 10.
This is a feel-good true-story biopic, with Robin Williams portraying the titular doctor... right? Wrong. This movie is "Robin Williams Goes to Med School." Any attempt at portraying a real person is instantly forgotten, as Williams' manic needy comedy overtakes every sequence, from the absurd opening at the mental institution to the rebel without a clue university years...
"Love ME!! Laugh at ME!! VALIDATE ME!!!" shouts Robin as he riffs his way through classes... watch him light up the sickly faces of sick children as he desperately searches for any device to elicit a laugh from the audience. 'Medicine is important,' Patch postulates, 'but what a doctor really needs to know is how to make his patients laugh.' Bullsh!t. What can be said about a movie that makes a mockery of doctors and nurses who spend lifetimes studying and toiling in obscurity to heal and cure in order to praise a clown with an enema bulb on his nose? The movie doesn't just ask you to love Robin Williams... the movie insists you love NO ONE ELSE! Characters are either ineffectual pawns (his Jewish nebbish of a best bud, the patients) or villains (Bob Gunton) who stand in the way of Patch's violent, oppressive comedy. A terminal cancer patient throws Patch out of his hospital room, insisting he doesn't want to be cheered up, but Patch will have none of it! He dresses as an angel and sneaks his way back in and beats the man over the head with jokes until he finally relents... Patch wins! This movie is all about hostility disguised as comedy... you have to laugh or Patch will destroy you!
Smarmy, schmaltzy and sometimes infuriating, "Patch Adams" crosses the line by sanctifying its subject and refusing to consider any other point of view... Phillip Seymour Hoffman stars as Patch's roommate, a serious-minded med student who wants nothing more than to study and graduate. He has the best line of the film when he angrily declares: "If I'm sick and I have the choice between a pr!ck doctor and a clown... I WANT THE PR!CK!!!"
I do too.
Patch Adams is the true story about a doctor who works really hard to entertain the patients. I think it is awesome that a guy like him really existed and tried to make everything fun. The movie follows him from medical school all the way up through the rest of his life. It follows his relationships with his friends and his workers.
This movie is good, but not as good as many other Robin Williams movies. It never gets boring though, and it always stays entertaining. I'd say this is for anyone who likes Robin Williams, or for anyone who wants to see a funny movie.
Not only is Patch Adams a fascinating story in itself, the reaction to it, pro & con, is also of high interest. I first ventured into this film a couple of years ago, believing it to be the devil's spawn. That belief was born out of the disdain brought down on it from the revered critics of the time. It's also suffered kicks a plenty from many a film fan during the advent of internet movie sites and the snowball effect that comes with such communities. I revisited the film just this last week to see if my initial positive reaction to the film still held. It did. What I found out was something I never knew the first time that I watched the film, namely it was well regarded enough to be nominated for awards. And not some by the bye magazine awards either. Williams was nominated for best actor at the American Comedy Awards and the Golden Globes, while the film itself was nominated at "The Globes" in the best picture category. It should also be noted that the film was a success at the box office. Made for $90 million, it's Worldwide gross in theatres was $203 million, and it was the number one box office film in America at Christmas 1998.
Why do I tell you these facts? I do so because sometimes the reputation of a film is distorted, such is the case with Patch Adams. Look, It's not a masterpiece or anything, it's an odd mixture of humour and drama and for Williams haters it's a definite no no. But it still has something for the discerning viewer. It's a film that is loaded in the protagonists favour, I mean who in their right mind could not side with the guy who makes the kiddies on the cancer ward laugh and cheer? Exactly. Things are further loaded by the portrayal of Dean Walcott by Bob Gunton, it's all snarling pomposity of the highest order, the suit you just love to hate. Then coming in from the side is Philip Seymour Hoffman as jealous swot room-mate, Mitch. Make no bones about it, the makers here are telling Hunter Adams' story; thus the other side of the fence is barely given any credence or intelligent debate. That's an itch that will not go away, but it barely stops Patch Adams being an emotionally driven, and potent, viewing experience.
If you have not seen it then you now have the facts to hand, it wasn't a bomb, the kind of lead balloon release that some would have you believe it was. It's divisive for sure, and, yes, it has problems that "us" fans are fully aware of. But maybe you will become a fan too? Williams is on full tilt animation mode, able to make one laugh and make one cry all in the confines of one little movie. And the ending, coming after the roller-coaster has done its run on the emotional track, is itself a form of medicine that you just can't get from the chemist. 8/10
Patch Adams is the worst piece of Oscar-bait I've ever seen, complete with "tear-jerking" deaths, pompous speeches, and (attempted) uplifting triumph. Too bad the movie is essentially nothing more than an oddball who acts like a god to all things involved in the medical profession. Attempts at creating sentimentality are contrived and even cringe-inducing. Anybody else felt a little shocked when Adams spouted out synonyms for death at a man near death? Anybody else felt a little stupefied at the (unintentionally) hilarious portrayal of the medical system as nothing more than incompetent, money grubbers? Anybody else felt a little cheated when you realized Monica Potter's character existed only as a romantic interest whose sole purpose is to make us cry? Anybody else felt like laughing during Adams' overdone climactic speech, complete with sick children on chemotherapy who seem to have found the time to come to court? If you said no to any of the above questions, then director Tom Shadyac struck a success in emotional manipulation.
Here's some reasons why Patch Adams is terrible.
1) Now supposedly Patch Adams makes his way to University of Virginia Medical School straight from the institution. No, can't happen, especially at Mr. Adams' age. How is the university with the top medical teaching in the country supposed to accept Adams just out of the blue? Wait, doesn't Adams have to go through community college first? Yes, then a four year college, THEN University of Virginia medical school. But NO, the film never explains the progress. It automatically assumes Adams was so successful that it didn't need to be explained how he got accepted into University of Virginia.
2) How are we supposed to believe laughter is the true key to medicine when it seems every patients can be cured by laughter. WHAT?! What kinds of patients are these? Probably just ones with physical injuries. I know that for a fact that autistic children wouldn't respond to Robin Williams' "Patch Adams." It's just not possible. The patients just get instantly cured by Williams' pranks. How is this possible? Nothing is ever explained, it just happens. God, Steve Oedekerk is a terrible writer.
3) Why is Patch Adams in such an opposition in this film to doctors? What from his mental institution experience with doctors? Bah. The fact is, you need a doctor who can treat you with the right prescription medicine and treatments. You DON'T need the fictionalized loony Patch Adams in the film. Stay AWAY from him as far away as you can.
Now there is a Patch Adams in real life. I'd rather be interested in hearing about how he was able to do his laughter for medicine in his patients versus this film. As a film based on real life, it's the worst ever made.
Again, read these words and remember them... "if you can't tell the true story right, why tell it at all?"
STAY AWAY FROM THIS FILM AT ALL COSTS! Avoid it like the plague!
By the way, Siskel & Ebert couldn't have said it better in their reviews of "Patch Adams."
One of the major problems is that Patch Adams just isn't very funny, which undermines the whole point of what he's doing. I laughed during one scene involving a catatonic patient, but most of the time I just sat there looking about as stone-faced as the pretty medical student Patch flirts with. Considering how awkward and obtrusive most of Patch's "jokes" are, it's a wonder the movie never considers the possibility that the patients might not be amused; indeed, even the most irritable ones eventually succumb to his charms. If the real Patch Adams was truly like he's portrayed here, I doubt he'd have had any success with his "method." Perhaps the doctors who opposed his behavior actually had a point, and weren't simply the stuffy, anal-retentive stereotype this film shows them to be. This film seems to exist in a one-dimensional world where "comedy" automatically means dressing up as a clown and doing unsubtle slapstick, and where the only people who fail to appreciate such antics are those totally lacking in any sense of humor, not to mention humanity. In a particularly ironic scene, a fellow medical student played by the wonderful actor Philip Seymour Hoffman gives a heartfelt speech about the harm in Patch's failure to follow procedure. I actually found Hoffman's argument a lot more convincing than the movie wanted us to think.
In my experience, I've met a variety of medical professionals ranging from those who only seem concerned with the technical aspects of their profession to warm, funny individuals who care about their patients' feelings in addition to their health. The latter can be accomplished without acting obnoxious, arrogant, and immature like Patch Adams comes off in this film. I couldn't relate to the film because both sides seemed too extreme, and there wasn't the slightest hint that a broad middle ground exists. It was like having to choose between fascism and anarchy.
Eventually the film resorts to an implausible, manipulative plot device so as to give the Patch character a moment of doubt which the situation hardly merits. Or, at least, he's doubting the wrong thing. What he should be doubting is not whether humor itself has a legitimate place in the medical profession, but whether his particular brand of humor does. The movie's ideas are stronger than its execution, and at the end Patch gives an inspirational speech that actually impressed me. If only the rest of the film lived up to the strength of his words.
This movie completely destroys this beautiful concept. It portrays Patch Adams as a person who helps patients but has a feeling of superiority over them as well as his peers. The rest of characters also have the sole task of telling Patch how nice and great he is and do not have any existence of their own. The female lead nicely summarizes this feeling of condescension when she says, "These people that we're helping,they'd have nowhere to go." Now, for the technical aspects of the film, the story runs like a headless chicken , the dialogues are very repetitive ,meaningless and clichéd, the editing is poor with one abrupt scene giving way to a completely unrelated one. The director seems to have a very flawed opinion of Patch Adam's life by seeing him as just a funny doctor. The acting by all the actors is pathetic. Robin Williams looks confused and tired on the screen. His great screen presence and "joie de vivre " evident in movies such as "Dead Poet's Society" and "Good Morning, Vietnam" is completely lacking.Monica Potter as the female lead is awkward and seems to suffer from a guilty complex we are never given any clue about. The rest of the actors also fail to impress.
Overall , Patch Adams miserably fails as a biographical movie. My advice to you is to avoid it like a plague if you can....
This movie is so... conventional. It goes through all the motions of melodrama, and I didn't care. There's so much sap in this movie that I started to feel ill in the final act. And there is one scene that just made me mad-the pointless death of a character I will not reveal. This scene and the aftermath is so badly handled that I wanted to rip the film apart. Everyone in this movie gives their worst performance of their career. Everyone except Phillip Seymour Hoffman. At least he remains unscathed. Robin Williams gives, and I know this is hyperbole, one of the singularly worst performances I've ever seen on film.
'Patch Adams' is bad. Bad bad BAD! I hated it.
First of all, I couldn't even always sympathize for the main character Patch Adams played by Robin Williams (sometimes he's a bit over-the-top in some dramatic scene's but overall he gives a very solid performance.). I mean seriously, Patch Adams really pushes it at times and simply goes too far in his methods. I even found myself on the side of Dean Walcott (a very typical Bob Gunton stereotype role ala "The Shawshank Redemption" and "Glory".), at times. It is not a good sign for a drama when you couldn't even always sympathize for the main character. This alone is already a reason for why this drama is a failure.
All of the events in the movie felt highly unlikely and unrealistic. No way you can convince me that some dying 70 year old could be entertained by a bunch of balloons. Yes, there really were some 'dramatic' scene's in the movie that simply made me cringe. Its the kind of drama that is really embarrassing to look at. The drama in the movie is very childish and way too cliché. There even is room for a misplaced, unneeded and highly unbelievable love-story.
The music by Marc Shaiman is also a reason why the drama in the movie doesn't work. I mean I'm sure that the score is great to listen to outside of the movie (I mean after all, it was even nominated for an Oscar.) but in the movie itself it simply doesn't work. It's such a stereotypical and over-the-top drama score! Basically it's the same tune over and over again in every of the 'dramatic' scene's. It was really distracting for me at times.
It's funny but in the few scene's that he's in Philip Seymour Hoffman truly absolutely the show. How long before this guy will win his Oscar? Yes every scene that he was in was a highlight for me. This movie is really a waste of a great cast. Its not the cast their fault that the drama doesn't work, I think its director's Tom Shadyac, who manages to deliver the drama in an highly unlikely and unbelievable manner. He should stick to making comedies, me thinks!
A big failure as a movie and drama in many ways...
The ending of this movie made me want to cover my eyes with embarrassment, when a bunch of little bald sick kids come to Adams defense wearing red rubber clown noses when the hospital he was working for was trying to kick him out. Give me a break please! Get those sick kids back to bed and Adams put away.