Welcome to 90 from the ‘90s; the movie-related post in which I watch, discuss and debate a film from the 1990s – a film that I’ve NEVER SEEN. Posting on a semi-regular basis, I aim to work my way through 90 movies that I’ve previously missed/avoided, recording my thoughts along the way.

I’m going to watch good films, bad films, forgotten classics, Oscar winners and everything in between. Some of these films you’ll be surprised I’ve never seen, others you’ll completely understand why I’ve avoided them for 20+ years.

The rules are as follows:

  • The film must be from the 1990s (1990-1999)
  • The film must be a movie I’ve not watched before

Today’s unseen ‘90s movie is…

Patch Adams (1998)

I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve come close to watching Patch Adams, but believe me when I say it’s a lot. When I worked in a video rental store during the early ’00s, Patch Adams almost came home with me on a couple of occasions, but I always put it back on the shelf for one reason or another.

So, why haven’t I watched Patch Adams over the last 20 years?

Simple – I’m aware that the film does not have a great reputation. As such, it’s always been one of those movies that I’ve just put to one side, figuring that I’ll get around to it eventually.

Well, nobody puts Patch Adams in the corner (forever), so it’s time to see if it’s as bad as people say. I understand this film is based on a true story, so let’s see if it moves me.

*Clicks the play button*

3mins – Well, for a comedy it sure is starting off quite bleak. This is a comedy, right? Robin Williams has committed himself to a mental institute. I’m sure this is just a temporary setback – things can only go up from here.

5mins – Robin Williams: “My father died when I was nine.” Blimey!

5mins 30secs – Harry Groener is in this! Groener played Mayor Richard Wilkins III in Buffy the Vampire Slayer… so Robin Williams probably shouldn’t trust him. He’s either about to ascend into a giant snake demon, or he’s going to conclude that Robin Williams is very crazy and should remain in the institute forever. Neither outcome is great.

15mins – Robin Williams has decided he wants to check out of the institute in order to go into the health care profession, so he can help people. Give it ten minutes of being around people and he’ll no doubt check himself back into the institute.

16mins – Williams is now calling himself ‘Patch’ Adams. Hmm… I’m not sure I’d want to go to a doctor called ‘Patch’. I’d feel much more confident seeing a doctor called Dr. Fix You Without Any Problems or Dr. Stick You Back Together No Charge.

24mins – Although he’s still a student, Williams is pretending to be a fully qualified doctor. You know, if Williams is going to pretend that he’s a doctor then I’m going to pretend to be a student. I’ll start by sleeping in until Tuesday.

27mins – Williams has just met with some very ill children. This movie is going to turn into a tearjerker, isn’t it? I’ve yet to laugh, so maybe inducing tears will stir up some kind of emotion in me. Although I doubt it – I am dead inside.

33mins – Comedy montage. We have a comedy montage!

39mins – Williams has just asked a patient what would make her feel better. She said she’d like to swim in a pool full of noodles. Kinky old woman. She’s daft too – she should have said money!

44mins – The message that Williams is trying to convey is that the power of laughter will keep people living longer. It’s a shame then that this film is cutting my life expectancy down by two hours.

53mins – Williams is being dismissed from medical school and is now sat in front of the Dean. Hey, wait a minute… isn’t that Harve Presnell? It is! That’s Harve Presnell, aka Sam Lane from TV’s Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman! Quick, ask him if he can get you Superman’s autograph.

56mins – I’ve passed the halfway point of Patch Adams and if I had one word to describe this movie it would be…

…schmaltzy.

You thought I was going to say ‘shit’, didn’t you? Nah, I don’t think this movie is shit, it’s just very schmaltzy.

1hr 1min – Someone’s dead. It’s unclear if they died from watching Patch Adams or from just appearing in the movie.

1hr 4mins – Williams wants to set up a hospital where people can go even if they don’t have any money – so basically the equivalent of the UK’s NHS. He said he wants this place to be somewhere ‘where joy is a way of life’. Clearly he’s not sat in the waiting room at my local doctor surgery.

1hr 4mins 10secs – I jest. The NHS is wonderful. SUPPORT THE NHS – if you don’t it will disappear. 😦

1hr 13mins – Ah, a nice romance is beginning to play out between Robin Williams and Monica Potter. They’re working on this new hospital together and all seems right with the world. She’s going to die, isn’t she? I feel like I’m being set up for a fall here. She’s either going to die or she’ll have herpes or something.

1hr 14mins – Or she’ll die from herpes.

1hr 20mins – Monica Potter has gone to see a patient who is a little disturbed. I’m telling you, this isn’t going to end well.

1hr 23mins – And she’s dead. It wasn’t herpes that got here, it was a damn shotgun. No one ever suspects a shotgun.

1hr 23mins 30secs – Yeah, this movie really isn’t a comedy at all.

1hr 29mins – Robin Williams is angry at God. Or possibly he’s just angry at the sky. It’s hard to tell.

1hr 31mins – The kinky old woman from earlier in the movie is getting her wish to swim in a pool of noodles. Dreams really do come true. Still think she should have asked for money.

1hr 35mins – Robin Williams is about to be kicked out of medical school again. He believes it’s because of a personality clash. I think it’s because he just let an old woman swim in noodles.

1hr 41mins – Ah… all the people Robin Williams has helped from earlier in the movie have all turned up to support him. He’s not getting kicked out of medical school! I will not cry. I will not cry. I will not cry.

*Wipes lone tear from left eye*

1hr 44mins – Things are starting to wrap up. People are cheering, the music is uplifting and Robin Williams has graduated from clown colleague. I mean, medical school. Hurrah!

*Clicks stop*

Hmm… what to say, what to say?

Incredibly schmaltzy and predictable in places, I want to say I really disliked Patch Adams, but I’d be lying – it was OK. Sure, it relies heavily on cliches but so long as you accept that (and I did) then it’s watchable.

Patch Adams is not something I have any real desire to watch again, but I liked the sentiment in the movie and that gives it a pass. Basically what I’m trying to say is, there should be more people like Patch Adams in the world and for that reason, even though this isn’t a particularly great movie, if it inspires one person to be more like Adams (or at least Robin Williams’ take on Adams) then it’s not such a bad thing. It is what it is.

46 movies down, just 44 to go and something Gothic and creepy is up next. Oh… I wonder what it could be?

For past entries in the 90 from the ’90s series, check out: My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997)Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992)You’ve Got Mail (1998)Sleepless in Seattle (1993)Graveyard Shift (1990)Johnny Mnemonic (1995)Striptease (1996) Indecent Proposal (1993)My Girl 2 (1994)The Ghost and the Darkness (1996)Poison Ivy (1996)Body of Evidence (1993)Turbulence (1997)Fatal Instinct (1993)True Romance (1993)Newsies (1992)Contact (1997)The Pelican Brief (1993)Natural Born Killers (1994)Shakespeare in Love (1998)A Perfect Murder (1998)Quigley Down Under (1990)Of Mice and Men (1992), Friday (1995)Mannequin on the Move (1991)She’s All That (1999)Double Dragon (1994)Stay Tuned (1992)Murder at 1600 (1997), Weekend at Bernie’s II (1993)My Own Private Idaho (1991)Wagons East (1994)In the Line of Fire (1993)Postcards from the Edge (1990)Universal Soldier (1992)Passenger 57 (1992)Mo’ Better Blues (1990)The Client (1994)Good Will Hunting (1997)Pump Up the Volume (1990)Mr. Nanny (1993) Fargo (1996)Hudson Hawk (1991)So I Married An Axe Murderer (1993) and Timecop (1994).