Wednesday, March 2, 2016
I don't want to talk about the movie I just miss him
My family watches Die Hard and Love Actually at least once a year (they're both mandatory parts of my sister's Christmas movie advent calendar). I've got a Harry Potter tattoo and spent my childhood watching Snape swirl his coattails on screen. I can't even tell you how many times I've read the Hitchiker's series, just that the film finally found a perfect Marvin. Dogma was my (perfect) introduction to the work of Kevin Smith, one of my favorite directors. "Because it's dull you twit, it'll hurt more" is a standalone threat/expression of frustration at my parents' house. What I'm saying here is that Alan Rickman was a goddamned treasure who made delightful films that have been important to me. His performance in each of the films above is a gem.
And then there's Galaxy Quest. 1999 gave us this perfect, flawless, hilarious, far-better-than-it-should-have-been film and the primary reason it's so wonderful is because of Alan Rickman's brilliant performance as Alexander Dane as Dr. Lazarus.
Dane is a marvelous character - talented but spoiled, justifiably frustrated but irritatingly whiny, clever but too impressed with himself and too critical of everyone else; he's a bundle of contradictions and subtleties that would collapse without an actor who can play a complicated role in a nuanced way. And Rickman fucking nails it. IN A FUCKING SPACE COMEDY. This is supposed to just be a stupid Star Trek parody, some almost-direct-to-DVD piece of junk with roles written for over-the-hill actors as a vanity piece. And Alan Rickman (and the rest of the cast too, honestly everyone in this film is so much better than we deserve) comes in with a performance that would have gotten ALL OF THE NOMINATIONS if it was in ANY OTHER GENRE.
That, by the way, is one of the sadder aspects of Alan Rickman's recent passing. The man was a brilliant actor, just tip-top amazing, and got hardly any industry recognition (a 1992 BAFTA for Robin Hood; a handful of awards for his role in a 1997 miniseries about Rasputin, and that's about it for the last twenty fucking years are you kidding me) largely because he did an amazing job in genre roles. His portrayal of Snape is perfect, but it's in a kid's fantasy movie. His VO work on Marvin is delightful, but it's in a sci-fi comedy. And Alan Rickman as Alexander Dane as Dr. Lazarus is one of the greatest performances ever filmed but it's in a sci-fi parody comedy so nobody in the industry sat down to marvel at what a pure piece of genius it is.
Alan Rickman was a beautiful gift to the world. I'm tremendously sad that he has left us, but I'm so grateful that he has left us a brilliant body of work to remember him by and gawp at in overwhelmed appreciation.
Thank you, Mr. Rickman, for making the movies that are part of who I am. You'll be sadly missed.