Thursday, January 14, 2016


Very sorry today to hear of the passing of Alan Rickman, an actor of extreme talent and terrific wit, with one of the Best. Voices. Ever.

Yes, we all know and love Snape (Snape! Snape!). Every syllable was an event in a Rickman performance, particularly as (spoiler alert!) the presumed villain and tragically misunderstood Potions master at Hogwarts, Severus Snape.

Rickman could pack more oily unction into a single word than most actors can manage in an entire career. Sure, Snape was Harry Potter's nemesis, but he was also one of the most beloved components of the franchise.

But if you'll be streaming your own private Rickman Festival, don't forget these magic moments:

ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF THIEVES  I'm serious: Rickman's rampaging Sheriff of Nottingham is reason enough to see this Kevin Costner version. Rickman delivers a performance of uncharacteristic bluster, and has a high old time doing it.

He's the real thief here, stealing the movie from Costner—until the very end, when director Kevin Reynolds figured out what was going on, and turned the Sheriff into an eye-rolling cartoon.

GALAXY QUEST Rickman is hilarious as a classically-trained British thespian playing an alien under pounds of latex in a Star Trek-like  TV series that refuses to die.

The show has been off the air for years, but the actor finds himself stuck eternally recreating the role at sci-fi conventions for generations of fanboys.

SENSE AND SENSIBILITY Emma Thompson wrote the script for this Jane Austen adaptation, and directior Ang Lee had the sense to cast Rickman as courtly, brooding Colonel Brandon, the older suitor who doggedly proves his worth to Kate Winslet's romance-obsessed Marianne.

TRULY, MADLY, DEEPLY I think the first time I ever saw Rickman onscreen was in this wonderfully romantic and warmly witty supernatural love story.

 He plays a recently deceased concert cellist whose spirit returns to his lover (Juliet Stevenson) to encourage her to get on with her life. A winsome romance with a droll sense of humor.  Rickman at his best.

LOVE, ACTUALLY Rickman reteams with Thompson in this entertaining holiday ensemble comedy in which they play a married couple going through a rocky patch. His attempt to stray by buying an expensive gift for another woman crashes head-on into persnickety sales clerk Rowan Atkinson.

A LITTLE CHAOS Rickman directed himself as Louis XIV, the Sun King, in the process of building his palace at Versailles, in last year's charming historical confection.

Did I mention he also delivers the Word of God as a cranky herald angel in Kevin Smith's DOGMA?

The acting profession has lost one of its most accomplished and reliable practitioners. The movies won't be nearly as much fun without him.

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