More Than Zero
Robert Downy Jr. has always reminded me of Jeff Castor for some reason. Perhaps because Jeff was like a goofy little brother to me and Robert Downy Jr. had this cute, goofy big brother thing going for him. Honestly, I haven’t seen too many of his earlier films. It was his role in the reincarnation love story Chances Are in 1989 which made me take notice of him. I was 13 at the time.
After that I enjoyed seeing him in Air America with Mel Gibson and Soap Dish with Whoopie Goldberg. But the role that really affected me was his portrayal of Chaplin. I was 16 years old when I saw the movie Chaplin in 1992 with my mother.
I got Chaplin’s autobiography out of the library and was in the middle of it when I hit my own personal bottom. The irony that I was in the psych ward and Chaplin’s mother had been committed to the Insane Asylum was not lost on me. I connected to Chaplin’s early struggles with poverty and hardship. I think Robert Downy Jr. connected with the sadness in Chaplin’s life despite his eventual success.
Robert Downy Jr. went on to be Heart and Souls as well as Home For the Holidays. Soon his drug addiction began taking over his life and career. I remember seeing things on the news about him. It saddened me because he was such a brilliant actor and such a likable person on and off the screen. I understood his struggles and hoped that he’d overcome them.
I was happy to see him on Ally McBeal as Larry Paul and disappointed that he ended up written off the show due to his on-going substance abuse. I kept thinking, “If he could just get it together, he could do great things!” I didn’t want to see his career cut short like so many other great actors and actresses out there.
Eventually he went though rehab and had roles in several smaller independent films. Then came Iron Man in 2008. Suddenly he was launched into the stratosphere. And then he followed that up with Sherlock Holmes! This was the Robert Downy Jr. I’d seen in Chaplin. This was the funny, smart, sardonic and sexy man I knew he could be. I was extremely happy for him.
This big brother of mine is a Jewish-Buddhist in much the same way Mandy Patinkin is. While he was raised Jewish, he has embraced the Buddhist mindset. Like Patinkin, he is a musician who has contributed to soundtracks and put out his own album. Perhaps most importantly, he is a father of two.
I recently liked Robert Downy Jr. on facebook and found his posts to be quite funny. I enjoy his updates and think that we’d get along if we met in real life. Sure, he’d make fun of me, but I’d let him because he is Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes! And maybe we’d take a break from laughing to discuss our personal struggles. Yep, I would definitely be happy to meet Robert Downy Jr. someday.