Tag Archives: Alan Rickman

March Madness: Jane Austen Style, round five– Men’s Semi-Finals

basketball court copyThe action was fast and furious on the court this week as the LADIES Darling Dozen bracket narrowed down to the favorite character for each Austen novel. As with the gentlemen, there were no real surprises in this bunch.  Here’s how we currently stand…

Austen March Madness both sides4

Now the competition gets REALLY hard as you have to get all inter-book and pick your fave between…

  • Brandon and Darcy (good luck there)
  • Edmund and Knightly (ugggghhhh!)
  • Henry and Benwick (hmmmm)

BAsketball hoop-- men

You have until Thursday at 6:00 pm EST to get in your votes.

Jane ball

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Secondary Character: Alan Rickman; Alexander Dane — Galaxy Quest

[Image Courtesy: Outcast Studios.com]

[Image Courtesy: Outcast Studios.com]

Who: Alexander Dane / Dr. Lazarus

From: Galaxy Quest

Alexander Dane was a stage actor famous for his portrayal of Richard III, for which he received five curtain calls. He then took a job portraying Dr. Lazarus on the ’80s TV show “Galaxy Quest,” a space-travel story about an intrepid crew and their travels across the universe. The TV show was cancelled and the GQ actors have been reduced to living off their fame by attending sci-fi conventions, presiding at the opening of new stores, and allowing rabid fans to film interviews in their garages and basements… [IMDb]

By: David Howard

Produced: 1999

[Image courtesy: Outcast Studios]

[Image courtesy: Outcast Studios]

Pros: Dedicated to his craft. Has a cool catch phrase –“By Grabthar’s hammer, by the suns of Warvan, you shall be avenged!” Shakespearian trained actor. Awesome latex headpiece.

Cons: Jealous of his co-star, Jason Nesmith, who played the Cmdr. Peter Quincy, the captain of the Protector on the show.  Hates his cool catch phrase. Generally wallows in misery and self-pity.  Full of himself.

Most Shining Moment: Loosing his ego and embracing his character in order to comfort dying Quellek, an alien who idolizes his character Dr. Lazarus.

[Image courtesy: Outcast Studios.]

[Image courtesy: Outcast Studios.]

Why Rickman is so good in this movie: Rickman is deliciously snarky and sarcastic in this movie. It is one of his best comic roles and he gives it 100%. [For another dark comedic Rickman role, you should also see him in Dogma, but his role there is much smaller there… more of a Tertiary Thursday Character than a Secondary Saturday Character.) As much as Alexander Dane, the actor, has a certain snobbishness towards his role of Dr. Lazzrus, you can see that Rickman is having a ton of fun throwing himself at his role as the actor-playing-an-alien — especially when his prosthetic rubber headpiece starts to fall apart.

Why I Picked Galaxy Quest: As you may have guessed from this week’s bioBLOGS on Leonard Niimoy  (Mr. Spock of Star Trek) and  Nathan Fillion (Captain Mal Reynolds of Firefly) I rather enjoy my Science Fiction, and Galaxy Quest is a terrific send up on the sometimes too serious take on the medium. (Although Firefly/Serenity never took itself too seriously, Star Trek — especially the Star Trek movies — could get a bit big for its britches.) So A) I like the movie. B) Rickman is hilarious in it. And C) it was requested by one of my most loyal readers.

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Well, I guess that’s about it for our month of Alan Rickman Secondary Character studies. I hope this little salute has inspired you to put one or two Rickman movies in your queue. Cheers, Rita

Alan Rickman, The Awesome

Alan Rickman, The Awesome (Photo credit: ManaMalipeddi)


Secondary Character Saturday: Alan Rickman: Jamie (Truly Madly Deeply)

[Image courtesy MGM]

[Image courtesy MGM]

Who: Jamie Howe

 

From: Truly Madly Deeply

 

Once upon a time there were two people in love, their names were Nina and Jamie. They were even happy enough to be able to live happily ever after, (not often the case) and then Jamie died. Nina is left with a house full of rats and handymen, a job teaching foreigners English and an ache that fills the night sky. [IMDb]

 

You’ll have to wait until the 25 mark before he enters the movie properly, but it is worth the wait.

 

Stevenson and Rickman as Nina and Jamie in Truly Madly Deeply [Image courtesy: MGM]

Stevenson and Rickman as Nina and Jamie in Truly Madly Deeply [Image courtesy: MGM]

Written and Directed by: Anthony Minghella

 

Produced: 1990

 

Cover of "Truly Madly Deeply"

 

Pros: unconditional love, plays a mean cello, comes back from the dead to comfort his soul mate, handsome, fun.

 

Cons: annoying, cold (literally), selfish

 

Most Shining Moment: Since I think about 5 other people on the planet have seen this gem I wont spoil it. But I will say the real shining moment comes at the end. My favorite moment (probably my favorite Rickman moment of all film) is when he plucks at the cello and sings The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Any More.

 

Sing it, Jamie baby. [Image courtesy: MGM]

Sing it, Jamie baby. [Image courtesy: MGM]

Least Shining Moment: Letting his dead mates invade the flat so they can watch videos.

 

Warning: Juliette Stevenson brings some really raw emotion to this movie and the sound is uneven. So when she wails (or sings) it can be really loud and bit annoying. But, God bless her, she gives her performance 1000 %.

 

Why Rickman is so good: This is one of the few Alan Rickman roles where he’s playing an “everyday guy” (albeit a dead one). His performance is incredibly natural and believable and it is fun to watch him be so at ease with his co-star Juliette Stevenson. It’s nice to see him be happy too. Jamie is not a perfect boyfriend by any means (even when you take out the ghost thing), and Rickman hits all the varied notes of a real person in a real relationship with his nuanced performance.

 

[Image courtesy: MGM]

[Image courtesy: MGM]

I’m not sure why this movie isn’t more readily (or cheaply) available. It did very well with the critics and has a strong 72% Tomatorating / 82% Audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes. But I challenge you to find it at your local library (hint: not going to happen.) Amazon has it, but it’s $72! But, dear readers, fear not… I found it for you on Youtube …

 

 

Now once you watch it I’m sure you will all raise your voices and demand they re-release it at a reasonable price and buy the DVD so the proper parties get paid for their efforts. Yes?

 

[Image courtesy: MGM]

[Image courtesy: MGM]

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So we’ve got ONE MORE Saturday in March, that means one more chance to celebrate Alan Rickman. Which movie role shall we feature? Get back to me and let me know which Rickman YOU think I should write about.

 

  • Comic Rickman?

 

  • Galaxy Quest

    Galaxy Quest

  • Villian Rickman?
  • hans_tal

    Die Hard

  • Robin Hood Prince of Theives

    Robin Hood Prince of Theives

  • Sensitive Rickman?
  • snow-cake
  • An Awfully Big Adventure

    An Awfully Big Adventure

 

 


Secondary Character Saturday: Alan Rickman: Steven Spurrier (Bottle Shock)

“Great wine is great art, my friend. I am, in effect, a shepherd… whose mission is to offer the public another form of great art and to guide its appreciation thereof.”–Steven Spurrier

“Wine is sunlight, held together by water.” The poetic wisdom of the Italian physicist, philosopher, and stargazer, Galileo Galilei. It all begins with the soil, the vine, the grape. The smell of the vineyard – like inhaling birth. It awakens some ancestral, some primordial… anyway, some deeply imprinted, and probably subconscious place in my soul.” — Steven Spurrier

Alan Rickman as Stephen Spurrier  in Bottle Shock [Image courtesy: 20th Century Fox]

Alan Rickman as Stephen Spurrier in Bottle Shock [Image courtesy: 20th Century Fox]

Who: Steven Spurrier

From: Bottle Shock

…The British owner of a struggling Parisian wine shop, Steven Spurrier (Alan Rickman), concocts an idea to jumpstart his business and attract new customers – pit the French against the Americans in a wine tasting showdown. Certain that the established French wines will emerge victorious, Spurrier travels to the New World to sample the wines of Napa Valley with the intention of bringing back a few bottles to include in the blind tasting. Upon landing in California, Spurrier meets Chateau Montelena Winery owner, Jim Barrett (Bill Pullman), an attorney who left the legal field to start a winery, and his wayward son, Bo (Chris Pine), who works at the winery alongside his father. Spurrier samples the Barretts’ Chardonnay, finds himself impressed, and realizes that his planned publicity stunt may have a more profound impact than he had initially imagined. Back in Paris, on May 24, 1976, a panel of some of the most respected names in the French wine industry convenes to participate in Steven Spurrier’s tasting event. In the end, America emerges triumphant as the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay takes top honors, putting California at the forefront of the wine world and changing the future of the wine industry forever. When asked for comment about the victory, Jim Barrett simply replied, “Not bad for kids from the sticks.” [montelena.com]

By: Jody Savin, Randall Miller, Ross Schwartz & Lannett Pabon

Produced: 2008

Pros: He’s passionate about wine. Although he comes off aloof, he’s actually a pretty good guy underneath it all. He’s such a snob that by dropping his out of his element and forcing him to drive an AMC Gremlin around the hills of California eating Kentucky Fried Chicken and guacamole and drinking wine from jelly jars gives the movie a comic rhythm that it would otherwise be too earnest without, so he’s funny too.

Cons: He’s a terrific snob. “My definition of palatable might be slightly different from yours.”

Most Shining Moment: Realizing the Americans have won, he pulls Bo aside and encourages him to put on a coat and comb his hair. Spurrier pads his speech until Bo is ready then tells the assembled Francophiles that the distinguished panel of judges have just picked a wine from Bo’s American vineyard.

CD cover of Bottle Shock [Image courtesy: 20th Century Fox]

CD cover of Bottle Shock [Image courtesy: 20th Century Fox]

Why Rickman is so good: “Rickman is a hoot as Spurrier, though nothing like the actual man …. Making the wine merchant a pompous ass … ” [Los Angeles Times.com] Rickman does fish-out-of-water disdain so beautifully. And this is one of his best examples of it. He’s kind of the Mr. Darcy of Wine and the Napa Valley chardonnay and cab sauvignon  is the Lizzie that makes him rethink his prejudice and let down his guard (a bit.)

Why I picked Bottle Shock: Odds are you have never heard of Bottle Shock. So I wanted to make people aware of this little gem. It doesn’t have a good Rotten Tomatoes (49%) and it wasn’t critically acclaimed. But foo-foo on that. It’s a terrific little movie that makes me smile every time I see it. I don’t really drink wine, but when we left the theater after seeing this movie I did get a glass (though NOT of the 73 Montelena Chardonna). The Movie is a video valentine to the beautiful, lush Napa Valley. And the Doobie Brothers / Allman Brothers / Harry Nilsson /America,  California acoustic guitar heavy, soundtrack will leave you wishing you still had that vintage record collection of your youth.

Rickman as Spurrier toward the end of Bottle Shock [Image courtesy: 20th Century Fox]

Rickman as Spurrier toward the end of Bottle Shock [Image courtesy: 20th Century Fox]

Related articles

Secondary Character Saturday Alan Rickman: Colonel Brandon

[Courtesy Fan Pop]

[Click on the image for animated Alan; Image Courtesy Fan Pop]

Who: Colonel Brandon

 

From: Sense and Sensibility

 

Title page from the first edition of Jane Aust...

 

By: Jane Austen 

 

Published: 1811

 

Pros: Kind, considerate, thoughtful, decent, patient, gentle, faithful, honorable, sensitive, generous, caring… and , oh, yeah, RICH.

 

Although reserved and not passionate, he has a very good heart and helps out those in distress. His charitable behavior toward Eliza Williams and Edward Ferrars makes him the unnoticed knight in shining armor. [Book Rags.com]

 

Cons: Unromantic (on the surface at least), dull, remote, joyless, grave.  He appears stern and dour. especially when compared to Willoughby.

 

English: "when Colonel Brandon appeared i...

English: “when Colonel Brandon appeared it was too great a shock to be borne with calmness” – Marianne, expecting Willoughby, leaves after Colonel Brandon appears. Austen, Jane. Sense and Sensibility. London: George Allen, 1899. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Most Shining Moment: Traveling from Cleveland to Barton Cottage overnight to fetch Mrs. Dashwood to Marianne’s sick-bed.

 

Not a moment was lost in delay of any kind. The horses arrived, even before they were expected, and Colonel Brandon only pressing her hand with a look of solemnity, and a few words spoken too low to reach her ear, hurried into the carriage. It was then about twelve o’clock, and she returned to her sister’s apartment to wait for the arrival of the apothecary, and to watch by her the rest of the night. [Sense and Sensibility, Chapter 43]

 

Least Shining Moment: [I love Brandon, don’t get me wrong. I don’t know that there is a bigger Brandon fan out there than yours truly. BUT … ]  Marianne (rightly) thinks Brandon too old for her. His attraction to her is largely based on a decades old attraction to another woman, Eliza Williams*, to whom he was separated from when he was shipped off to the Army. Essentially he is in love with a ghost from his past.   I know we live a different times but… crushing on some one who is nearly 20 years your junior because they remind you of lost love is a bit creepy, isn’t it? .

Brandon and Marianne (Kate Winslett) in the 1995 movie version of Sense and Sensibility [Image Courtesy: Fan Pop]

Brandon and Marianne (Kate Winslet) in the 1995 movie version of Sense and Sensibility [Image Courtesy: Fan Pop]

It is as good for him as it is for Marianne that it takes them the entire novel to get together. He’s a very patient man. And in the time it takes for her to realize that he is actually a wonderful guy, he has learned to appreciate her for who she really is (and not just as a substitute for his long-lost Eliza.) I think at the end of the novel Brandon really does love Marianne for herself. Perhaps that is the sweetest journey of all in the book.

 

He has clearly already had his heart-broken, and the romantic Marianne believes that everyone is fated to only love once; she prefers the young, handsome, and spontaneous Willoughby, who eventually jilts her. Proving that patience is a virtue, Brandon remains on the perimeter until Marianne gets over being jilted. Brandon’s character and temperament conform to Austen’s and Elinor’s idea of sense rather than sensibility. [Book Rags.com]

 

Alan Rickman played as Colonel Brandon in the 1995 movie directed by Ang Lee, from a screenplay by Emma Thompson. It was “the first cinematic Jane Austen adaptation in 50 years” [IMDb Sense and Sensibility] I love the movie. Like most Austen adaptions it swings wildly away from the book at times, but, still, Ahhhhh… it is a delight. And Rickman’s pitch perfect Brandon is certainly a big part of why I’m so fond of the film. He’s soooo somber, and the poor guy never seems to get his timing right. He’s always walking in just as  Marianne is expecting the more pleasant company of Willoughby.

As Marianne languishes in the other room, Brandon begs for a commission from Elinore. She suggests he fetch her mother, Mrs. Dashwood to Cleveland. [Image Courtesy: Fan Pop]

As Marianne languishes in the other room, Brandon begs for a commission from Elinore. She suggests he fetch her mother, Mrs. Dashwood to Cleveland. [Image Courtesy: Fan Pop]

The comparison between the two men (sensible Brandon and sensual Willoughby) is a secondary theme  in the book (it echos the dichotomy of the sisters’ relationship) but  the movie gives it a wonderful treatment with almost identical scenes of the male character carrying Marianne to safety through the rain. Willoughby does so almost effortlessly towards the beginning of the movie. He puts her down on her mother’s couch as if she is light as a feather. The episode hardly cost him any effort and Marianne is instantly besotted with him.  For Brandon it is a different story. He falls to his knees when he makes to the main hall at Cleveland. He’s spent every ounce of his energy in the task of finding and rescuing Marianne.  But, as she is lifted out of his arms, she is too ill to notice, much less thank him. … SIGH… for those of us who like a tablespoon of  unrequited love in our fiction it is a lovely scene.

 

 

 

Brandon reads to a recovering Marianne (in the 1995 movie version of Sense and Sensibility) [Image Courtesy Fan Pop]

Brandon reads to a recovering Marianne (in the 1995 movie version of Sense and Sensibility) [Image Courtesy Fan Pop]

*BTW: The Brandon and Eliza back story would make such a lovely historically based novel. Some one get on that please.

 

 

 


Second Character Saturday Alan Rickman: Severus Snape

Blogger’s Note: When I started to thinking about Secondary Character Saturday somehow Alan Rickman kept coming to mind. He’s been around for a long time, he’s been in a LOT of great movies, and he’s almost always in the secondary character spot. He’s PERFECT for this blog segment. But WHICH Alan Rickman role to feature on Secondary Character Saturday? Ah that’s the rub. He’s done everything from rom-com, to Shakespeare, to comic science fiction, to serious drama. Which side of A.R. do I show? Frankly, I couldn’t decide. So I’m claiming the month of MARCH as Alan Rickman Month! (He’s also one of my all time favorite actors so I wont mind spending a month researching him and maybe re-watching a few movies!)

Snape topper

Who: Professor Severus Snape

From: The Harry Potter series

By: J.K. Rowling wrote the fabulous and engaging books. The movies were directed with varying degrees of success by different people. For my money Alfonso Cuarón saved (the movie) franchise from generic blandom with his wickedly good HP and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and David Yates brought the magic in HP and the Deathly Hallows 1&2.

Released: The character of Severus Snape first appeared in June  of 1997 when Rowling published Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in Great Britain.  We first got to see A.R. as Snape in 2001 with the release of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Pros: He’s brilliant, of course. He’s got fantastic wand skills and is so fab at potions that he literally rewrote the book. He’s inventive, hard-working,  intuitive. He protects Harry even though he can’t stand him. He teaches Harry Occlumency so he can keep Voldemort out of his mind. He’s acts as a double agent for Dumbledore. And he’s loyal to Lily, his one true and unrequited love. Having made both Lily and Dumbledore (and Narcissa Malfoy) promises he stops at nothing to keep them. He’s the perfect Slytherin.

Still from HP and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Snape rushes in front of Harry, Ron and Hermione to protect them from a werewolfe. Maybe he's just being a good teacher/adult. But I doubt whether some other teachers at the school would have done the same. [Image courtesy: Warner Brothers]

Still from HP and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Snape rushes in front of Harry, Ron and Hermione to protect them from a werewolf. Maybe he’s just being a good teacher/adult. But I doubt whether some other teachers at the school would have done the same. [Image courtesy: Warner Brothers]

Cons: Well… he’s mean. He’s REALLY mean to Harry! And that’s just not right! (OK I’ve got that off my chest. But lets face it, Snape isn’t the meanest one of the lot. He’s got nothing on Umbridge.) He’s a bully and he takes out his resentment for what James Potter did to him on Harry.  He’s spiteful, malicious, angry, bitter, resentful, and cruel.  He always favors Slytherin . He’s a double spy for Voldemort. He’s a Death Eater. And he KILLS Dumbledore! He’s the perfect Slytherin.

Most Shining Moment: I agree with Harry Potter Blog Spot who picks Dumbledore’s Death as Snape’s Shining Moment For to honor Dumbledore’s wishes and protect Harry’s (and Draco’s) life, Snape risked the damage his own soul that this horrific act would bring.” [Harry Potter blog spot] It is the crowning action of commitment, loyalty and self-sacrifice, while on the outside (and to the reader)  it looks completely the opposite.

Least Shining Moment: All the times he was meaner than he had to be to Harry and the other students who weren’t in Slytherin … and when he killed Dumbledore.

The Mary Grandpre illustration of Half-Blood Prince.

The Mary Grandpre illustration of Half-Blood Prince.

Yeah, I know I sound schizophrenic, but things with Snape are COMPLICATED. And nothing in the books was more complex and, dare I say, misleading, than Snape’s killing Dumbledore. When it happened it was THE WORST THING EVER in the HP universe and I didn’t think I could ever forgive Snape. Up until then Rawlings had given me enough ammunition to  forgive away his nastiness towards Harry. But this? How could he be redeemed from this? Hmmmm.  Things have changed.

He remained true to himself by remaining loyal to Dumbledore and his lost love. As the stakes and danger increased for him, and Dumbledore pushed him to greater acts of spying and risk, Snape met these challenges bravely, even if irritably, to protect the son of the man he loathed and thereby preserve the memory of the woman he loved. [Ibid]

Something clearly resonates with Snape. He was the top pick of for favorite character in a poll done by the H.P. British publisher Bloomsbury. He received 20% of the votes in the poll that asked readers to rank their favorite 40 characters. (Hermione came in second. Harry was a distant 5th!)

Not to take anything away from the Snape Rowlings painted on the page, but Alan Rickman’s nuisanced performance as the greasy haired potions professor had a lot to do with that high rating. He’s delightful to watch throughout the series. (He makes the first couple of movies bearable with his dark, snarkiness). And as Snape’s story arch progresses Rickman’s performance builds in a measured, restrained, mysterious pace. He respects the character enough not to give anything away. He’s multidimensional in a very limited scope of dimension, many shades of black, as it were. And he’s fun to watch … right up to the moment he makes you cry.

Found this piece of Fan Art on Pinterest (with Maggie's help -- thanks Maggie!) And can not find any one to attribute it to. Sorry.

In another life wake up. by Lily-fox

Sorry the text is small in the comic:This is what it says…
Snape wakes from the dream to find his daughter at his bed side.
She asks “Are you awake?”
He reaches out to touch her red hair — she looks so much like Lily “Yes.”
She smiles “Mommy says pancakes are ready.”

Life is good.

 

Frankly… (if you haven’t guessed) I’m not a big fan of the HP movies. (LOVED the books — so don’t kick me out the club — but he movies… for the most part … eh.) But Rickman was always worth watching.

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So which other A.R. characters should we tackle this month? We’ve got 4 more Saturdays in the month so get your votes in!

  • Hans Gruber (Die Hard’s evil bad guy)
  • Alexander Dane  (Galaxy Quest’s classically trained science officer)
  • Dr. Blalock (the life saving doctor in Something the Lord Made)
  • Judge Turpin (the evil judge in Sweeny Todd)
  • Steven Spurrier (the wine snob from Bottle Shock)
  • Alex (the grief-stricken stranger in Snow Cake)
  • Jamie (the cello playing ghost in Truely, Madly, Deeply), or
  • Col Christopher Brandon (from Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensiblity)  — Yeah, I’m doing Branon.

To see how Rickman “elevates the role of a villain from the plain ol’ bastard to a bastard coated bastard with bastard filling.”…go to the excellent blog The Many Faces of Alan Rickman.


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