Thursday, January 4, 2018

Top 5 Alan Rickman performances.

 Top 10 Alan Rickman performances. 

Just recently I found myself settling down and re-visiting the truly magical and epic world of Harry Potter. Having read several books out of the series, my sister (a huge fan of both books and movies) got me to watch all 8 films back in 2013. After many...and I stress many goblets of gin, we somehow made it through all 18+ hours of them. I loved them, but over the Christmas holiday I finally watched these movies again and truly appreciate how wonderful these films were. In fact, I enjoyed them so much, it got me kick started on finishing the last three or four books I have left in the series. By the end of the last film I was crying my eyes out, blown away over how amazing these were. A huge reason behind how emotional I felt was watching the late and great Alan Rickman play Professor Snape. Ever since I was little, Alan has been a favorite actor of mine. The true reason behind this is a story I'm sure many people who know me have heard.


In 1988 my mother was pregnant with me. This was a tough year for her since she had suddenly lost her father who she was very close with. I remember she told me while she was pregnant with me, she belonged to a video store club where she received a special VHS copy of Die Hard which was a screener and released months ahead of time for members of this certain club. My mother told me she couldn't explain it, but for some unknown reason she found this movie very comforting and watched it basicaly every day durning her pregnancy. Trust me, I totally get it. I find the strangest movies comforting, and after losing my mom I re-watched the same films over and over again simply as something to just tune out and keep my mind off things. I always loved this story since I would like to believe the voice of Hans Gruber aka Alan Rickman was one of the first sounds I heard even before I was born. That it shaped me into the person I am today.

I grew up loving Alan's movies. My mother was a huge fan, so I was a huge fan. Die Hard has always been one of my favorite movies, but I remember watching Robin Hood Prince Of Thief's, and instantly becoming fascinated with Alan's over the top performance as The Sheriff Of Nottingham. I would like to believe this kick started my taste for the villain or bad guys in movies. Of course I continued loving all of Alan's work with his deadpan delivery and rich sounding voice. What thrilled me, was that new generations were welcomed to Alan's talent when he played Snape, one of the most heartbreaking characters in literature in the past twenty or so years. The fact that children each day are discovering these books and movies goes to show that Alan's work will be immortal.


I still remember in early 2016 hearing word of Alan's sudden passing while I was at work. I still remember how my heart sank, and how yet again the harsh reality hit me that I was indeed getting older. That heroes of mine were in fact dying, and sadly it was just another part of life. What killed me was that after my mother's own passing, I took comfort in watching tons of Alan's movies. He was one of my all time favorite actors, and I was looked forward seeing him in a new film. When he died I was crushed, and still am to this day. This was a true icon who started his career after the year of 40. Who stole the show in everything he ever appeared in. I feel Kevin Smith got it right in Dogma. This guy really was an angel, and as sappy as it sounds, makes me feel better we have yet another good guy up in Heaven. With the anniversary of his passing and birthday approaching, I want to pin-point my top 5 favorite performances of Alan's, and why he will forever be a hero of mine. 

5) Jamie - Truly Madly Deeply 
- This in my eyes is one of Alan's greatest pieces of work. Usually typecast as the "villain", Alan was able to display his real talent by playing Jamie, the ghost of a man who returns to comfort his girlfriend who hasn't been able to move on from his sudden passing. Jamie returns witnessing that his girlfriend is still completely crushed over his death, having moved into a few flat in London, and feels as if his spirit if still with her. Returning, the two lovers spend a few blissful days together in the apartment, ignoring the rest of the outside world. The girlfriend believes this is truly a dream come true. Her soulmate has returned. Quickly she begins to notice small things about Jamie that annoyed her when he was alive, and still does in the afterlife! Suddenly she begins to see that despite it all, Jamie is still a ghost and the two will never be able to have a true future together. Still, she's unable to let go. Suddenly it becomes clear on why Jamie returned, and that he's trying to annoy her on purpose to make her move on, fall in love with someone else, and finally let go of him once and for all. The ending scene of Jamie surrounded by his fellow ghost friends, watching as his girlfriend finally accepts his death, and leaves with her new boyfriend is truly heartbreaking. We watch as Jamie smiles, happy with her, controlling his own tears as his friends comfort her. The chemistry Rickman shares with actress Juliet Stevenson (who plays his girlfriend) is adorable. I absolutely loved the scenes of them fooling around singing and dancing (Alan had quite the singing voice!) as well as them sitting down at the end bearing each other's souls to each other, recalling the first night they met. This is a cute romance, that really hits home for anyone who's ever lost a loved one. It was refreshing to watch Alan as a romantic interest role, showing that love from beyond the grave is possible...

4) Sheriff Of Nottingham  - Robin Hood Prince Of Thieves 
- Let's all just get this out in the open. Kevin Costner movies are always a mess. Let it be the Postman, Waterworld, or even Robin Hood. I remember watching this movie constantly as a kid. In fact, it very well might be one of the first movies I ever watched Alan in. This film is just so all over the place. It tells the classic tale but honestly even to this day I have to just laugh and roll my eyes. I mean where is Kevin Costner's accent? Do they really call Morgan Freeman "The painted man"? How many POV shots do we need of an arrow flying through the air? Still, we have to really say that Alan was the true MVP of this movie. Rumor has it he was offered it several times, before finally he decided to take the role since he was allowed to play the character as over the top as he wanted. I guess Kevin Costner was bullshit since Alan stole the show and everyone even to this day remembers what a riot Rickman was in it as the Sheriff Of Nottingham. Seriously, he stole the show every time he appeared on scene. It was almost as if he knew this movie was a complete joke so he might as well just ham it up and have fun with it. I die whenever he tells Robin that he's going to cut his heart out with a spoon!

3) Metatron - Dogma 
- If somebody made me sketch what I believe a "Guardian angel" looks like, I would probably loosely base it off Alan from this zany smartly written comedy. This is another film I clearly remember watching over and over again as a kid. I think the main reason why I liked the comedy was I was raised Catholic and attended Catholic school for several years. I'll be the first to admit, the only Kevin Smith movies I've seen are Clerks 2, this, and Tusk. (I know, I know...) still I've always admired the man for being a true fanboy at heart, and his podcasts are a complete riot. Starting off as an independent film maker, he made this risky comedy with an all star cast which took a stab at religion and showed that your actually could believe and keep a sense of humor. Alan plays Metatron...the voice of God. I mean honestly, Smith was brilliant in casting him in this. Who better to be the voice of God than Alan? His voice will forever be iconic. He could have made a career out of reading books on tape and still be a rock star. Metatron helps move the plot along, with his dry sense of humor, deadpan voice, and...body built like a Ken doll. Even though Alan only really appears in three scenes, he's a true highlight in this strange but wonderful film. I still to this day die laughing at how disgusted he is when he gets blood on his shirt. "It never ends!"

2) Professor Snape - Harry Potter 
- "Always" that one word will never be the same. SPOILERS for anyone who hasn't read the books or seen the movies. When I first started watching/reading the books in the famous series, I really did love how many talented actors appeared as these amazing characters. Rickman played Severus Snape, the moody potions professor who seems to really have it out for Harry Potter from the second he arrives at Hogwarts. Snape has the long black greasy hair, the dark eyes, and cloak. Little is known about him, only his distaste over Harry and his friends, and how over the course of 7+ years we see how bitter he is, and how it appears he prefers the dark arts. Without going into too much detail, there are some HUGE plot twists involving Snape which will make you downright hate him. It isn't until all is revealed in the last book/movies that you learn that Snape was desperately in love with Harry's mother Lilly since they were children. That he was forced to watch from afar as she fell in love with his rival (Harry's father) before being brutally murdered. Here we watch that Snape from the beginning has had Harry's best interest in mind, always looking after and protecting him even though it always seemed that he hated him and was the bad guy. That he was there in the aftermath following Harry's mother's death, and how crushed he was discovering her body. (The scene of him rocking her lifeless body in the nursery as a baby Harry watches on kills me every time) that he made Dumbledore swear never to reveal his feelings or that he promised to look after Harry. In the later books/films we also learn that Dumbledore knew he was dying and wanted to make sure they had a spy who could earn full trust by the Death Eaters, so he made Snape be the one to kill him (taking the place of what was supposed to be a young Hogwarts' student) the burden was on him and when you re-watch the scene from The Half-Blood Prince the emotion in Rickman's eyes says it all. Just him staring at his friend, knowing what has to be done. In the final movies you watch seeing that Snape worked basically as a double agent sacrificing himself and even not approving on the truth about Harry and what had to be done when he war finally came. His death scene is absolutely heartbreaking as is the flashbacks showing the truth all along. This is a beautiful tragic character who makes these books/films so powerful. Like I said before, I feel grateful Rickman was able to play Snape throughout the series, and the fact he'll live on in these works for future generations warms my heart to no end. 

1) Hans Gruber - Die Hard
- One of the greatest action movies of all time. I mean the fact that 30 years later people will quote it, watch it, and fight over the fact if it's a Christmas movie (it is by the way, even though I find myself watching it constantly throughout the year) As I started above in this article this film is near and dear to my heart due to my late mother once telling me that she watched this film every day throughout her pregnancy with me for some unknown reason besides the fact she found it comforting. That I believe Alan's voice was something I heard before I was even born shaping me into the person I am today. Hans Gruber goes down as one of the best villains of all time. (How Rickman was never a Bond villain is beyond me?!) This was Alan's first major breakout film role since before this all he had really done was stage and TV work. Hans Gruber and his crew of merry men take over a skyscraper on Christmas Eve for a hidden agenda which is worth roughly around 600 million dollars. Alan's portrayal of Gruber is smooth, cunning, and in a strange way likable. I mean I could quote this character for days. One of my favorite scenes has to be between him and Willis where he acts as "Bill Clay" an American. Beyond iconic as well as him asking one of his partners to "Shoot da glass!" Hans hands down was the best villain in this entire series and has the best bad guy death on scene e-v-e-r. In fact I would love to honor my mother someday by getting Gruber tattooed on me. Who knows guys! I might just do it!

So three cheers to Alan Rickman. A great talent taken far too soon. Who will "always" be remembered!

1946 - 2016


1 comment:

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