Robert Downey Jr. Delivers a Real Bionic Arm
March 12, 2015 1:12 PM   Subscribe

Meet Alex, a seven-year-old boy who loves superheroes and riding his bike. He was also born with a partially developed right arm. (SLYT)
posted by AElfwine Evenstar (31 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
 
That kid was so cool he had the adults fooled. Of course he knows who that is...stoopid grownups.
posted by Gungho at 1:15 PM on March 12, 2015 [10 favorites]


Saw this earlier and it made me cry. Well done, RDJ.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:23 PM on March 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


robert downey jr. is just the best these days. he really understands what it means to embody a character that so many kids look up to and he seems to really enjoy the interactions he gets to have because of it. if anyone had told me around the time of "home for the holiday"/"two girls and a guy" (two movies i really like, so this is no shade) that he'd end up being the perfect personification of a really empathetic, child friendly tony stark, i would have wondered if the person saying it had gotten into rdj's stash - but now it seems like just a perfect gimmie that i can't imagine anyone else stepping into that suit.
posted by nadawi at 1:31 PM on March 12, 2015 [11 favorites]


Not best of the web.

Best of the everything.
posted by Celsius1414 at 1:31 PM on March 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


His little quiet smile when he said "Robert," and darted a look at RDJ was just so, so darling. Oh man.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 1:39 PM on March 12, 2015 [14 favorites]


Iron Man with a heart of gold. Alex's dimples FTW.
posted by chavenet at 1:40 PM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


And holy crap, that arm! 3D printed out of about $350 in materials, designs available for free.“We were all bound to the belief that no one should profit from a child in need of an arm,” says Manero.

"I am Iron Man."
posted by EatTheWeek at 1:47 PM on March 12, 2015 [28 favorites]


This whole thing is delightful, and a much needed boost after being so sad about Terry Pratchett, and I'm so, so pleased one of the lessons Alex has taken from Iron Man as a superhero is "he keeps working and working until he gets it right."
posted by yasaman at 1:51 PM on March 12, 2015 [17 favorites]


Dammit, it suddenly got all dusty in my office...
posted by daq at 1:54 PM on March 12, 2015


That was completely great.
posted by rtha at 2:25 PM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


child friendly tony stark

I was randomly on a film set with Downey Jr. last year and, as you'd expect with the world's highest paid actor, us lowly guys were all being careful to avoid looking directly at him or anything. But I saw him trundle past in the back of his personal golf buggy on the way from his trailer, and somebody's lucky kid was there, and he stopped it and said 'HEY KID WANNA RIDE WITH IRON MAN?'

Nice guy.
posted by colie at 2:29 PM on March 12, 2015 [30 favorites]


There are only smiles to be found here. Smiles and slightly misty eyes.
posted by obfuscation at 2:30 PM on March 12, 2015


This reminds me of a college classmate I had with a withered arm due to polio (he contracted it literally a few weeks before the vaccine became available) who was a DJ at the college radio station. It was the days of 33s and 45s on heavy turntables and the use of 'slip cuing' to start playing at exactly the moment desired. Using his 'bad arm' to hold the record while he worked the audio mixer with his good arm, he then pulled his whole body to do perfect slip cues and ran a "tighter board" than any of the other student DJs. He didn't NEED an Iron Man arm, but he deserved one, 40+ years ago.

Robert Downey Jr. has turned from one of the biggest examples of my "don't trust a guy with 'Jr.' affixed to his name" rule, to one of the biggest exceptions, rapidly approaching Albert Gore Jr. on the top of the Exceptions List.
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:31 PM on March 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


Current cybernetic arms cost $40,000. That's crazy. Good on these guys for making this technology available to more people.
posted by KGMoney at 2:32 PM on March 12, 2015


Current cybernetic arms cost $40,000. That's crazy. Good on these guys for making this technology available to more people.

TBH, while I agree with you, I think it's sort of crazy that there exists any typical price for cybernetic arms, like just that cybernetic arms are a product that people build and sell now. That folks come home at the end of a long day building cybernetic arms. That we can watch a kid get his cybernetic arm, and it's a cute video, and he'll grow up, not knowing of a time when people in his position didn't have cybernetic arms. And that 20 years from now he'll be looking through old photos and reminiscing about his Iron Man cybernetic arm in the same way that I reminisce about a favourite childhood sweater.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 3:23 PM on March 12, 2015 [19 favorites]


I spent a half-hour bawling- BAWLING- at my desk this afternoon because this is what Paul Wellstone meant when he referred to "the goodness of our country."

That a college student can develop technology to create artificial limbs, that modern medicine can allow a child born with a deformity to have two arms, that Hollywood can than make a comic book character be a real person, and then a millionaire with no need to can still be the most decent human being ever because that's just what you do is everything that makes America the greatest country on earth, louder than every patriotic song and heavier than the weight of every flag ever manufactured.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:48 PM on March 12, 2015 [14 favorites]


I think it's sort of crazy that there exists any typical price for cybernetic arms

I do too, because they should be completely free to anyone who needs them (and would be in a properly functioning country).
posted by leotrotsky at 3:57 PM on March 12, 2015 [8 favorites]


"A billion and a half dollars."

And the fist pump from Downey.

[this is good]
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:58 PM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


In our house we pretend that Tony Stark lived in the Marvel Universe but has secretly always wanted to be an actor so he figured out a way to travel to an alternate universe. RDJ is actually Tony Stark. So, of course, when he heard that they needed someone to play Tony Stark in Iron Man, he couldn't let anyone else have the role. That's why he is so damn good at so effortlessly playing, well, himself.
posted by VTX at 4:04 PM on March 12, 2015 [11 favorites]


This was great (it's a little dusty in here, and some got in my eyes).
I particularly liked how pleased Downey was that the kid knew his name, not just "Iron Man".
posted by librosegretti at 4:09 PM on March 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Current cybernetic arms cost $40,000.

According to Shadowrun, Third Edition, an obvious cyberarm costs ¥75,000. A nuyen appears to be about equal to a modern dollar, so even with inflation, it seems like we're right on track.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:09 PM on March 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


So the real RDJ died in the 90's from his well-known habits, just as Tony Stark figured out the whole multiverse thing and took a few acting lessons to make a seamless transition.

That's about as plausible as any explanation gets, in my book.
posted by dr_dank at 4:14 PM on March 12, 2015 [9 favorites]


It would certainly explain the terrifying hints of ultra right wing politics.

He seems, personally, like a nice guy, but fuck I hope he never runs for office.
posted by howfar at 4:29 PM on March 12, 2015


It's dizzying, this constant swooning I've had to deal with since the 1980s. Enough with the awesome, RDJ. I CAN'T TAKE ANYMORE.
posted by headnsouth at 5:02 PM on March 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Dammit, XQUZYPHYR, did you have to mention Wellstone? I've been feeling sorry for myself because I've lost both Wellstone and Rush Holt as Senator and Representative, respectively. I feel like they're the only elected officials who have ever come close to representing my ideals. And damn, RDJ is doing good now, which is all we can reasonably ask for.
posted by mollweide at 5:05 PM on March 12, 2015


I was kinda hoping Alex would say, "Bow ties are cool," but maybe he's more of a Tennant fan.

Also it delights me to no end to see how much fun RDJ has playing Tony Stark--whether it's a short thing like this or his appearance at Comicon a couple of years ago where he had the crowd eating out of his hand.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 5:29 PM on March 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


howfar, pretty sure the felony conviction disqualifies RDJ from running for office, if that's any consolation.

This was basically too cute for words, guys.
posted by nonasuch at 5:48 PM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sometimes my kids say that they want to be rich. I tell them that I don't want to be rich, just comfortable. But if I was rich, the best part would be doing good things for people who don't really have any expectation of me doing something for them -- nice surprises, in other words, like funding small libraries or giving Nice Things to people who are just scraping by or just giving people that little push that allows them the breathing room to chase their dreams.

Good on you, Robert Downey, Junior.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:55 PM on March 12, 2015


But if I was rich, the best part would be doing good things for people who don't really have any expectation of me doing something for them

Whoever it was who said that money can't buy happiness had no idea how to spend.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 7:51 PM on March 12, 2015 [10 favorites]


Also it delights me to no end to see how much fun RDJ has playing Tony Stark--whether it's a short thing like this or his appearance at Comicon a couple of years ago where he had the crowd eating out of his hand.

Indeed. :)
posted by Celsius1414 at 12:44 AM on March 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


To bring this all back together. I think that is what makes this video so awesome. It would have been plenty cute/dusty room inducing if the story was just this guy using his 3D printer to make a kid an arm that looked like Iron Man's. And it would have great to see RDJ go visit a kid that is a huge superhero fan. But RDJ just is Tony Stark to such an extent that all he has to do is show up and basically be himself and he made my day. I can't imagine how awesome the whole thing was for that kid. It's really much better than the sum of it's parts.

If I were RDJ and all I had to do to give someone a cherished memory like this was show up I would be doing stuff like this constantly. It has to be one of the major perks of his job as an actor.
posted by VTX at 7:08 AM on March 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


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