Alan Rickman

As soon as I heard I tried to find a good clip on youtube. One which summed up his career, but it’s really really hard to find that one role which defines it. It’s even hard to do a top five  list,  it’s hard to even narrow it down to five. You’re going to have to leave one of the following out:

  1. Severus Snape
  2. Marvin The Paranoid Android (not the greatest film, but he was amazing in it)
  3. Hans Gruber
  4. Alexander Dane (from Galaxy Quest)
  5. The metatron
  6. Sheriff of Nottingham

Even once you’ve narrowed it down, how on earth do you rank them? Almost every single one of those performances could be considered a career best for most people. And each one required different skills, you couldn’t put one of the characters from one into another film (although try to picture Snape in Die Hard, it’s hilarious, and it would have meant no more sequels).

Random fact: he was never nominated for an Academy Award. People think that Leonardo DiCaprio never winning is a travesty, but Rickman, (or to give him his full name: Alan Fucking Rickman) was never even nominated. It’s just so weird to take the awards seriously knowing that, I mean, Shakespeare In Love has seven awards for f*cks safe.

I know that shot at that film may have been a bit rude, but it’s really really hard to write this. How do you sum up his career in a pithy line? How do you adequately capture what he meant to everybody? I feel the best way to do this is with inspiration. Remember this; He was a struggling 40 something actor when he was first cast in Die Hard. Nobody really knew who he was, all the things we love him for he did after the age of 40. Remember that: don’t give up because of age, because even in a young mans game, talent can still shine through. Pick up that pen and write, pick up that guitar and play, just do something. Don’t look back and thank “what if?” And don’t do it half-heartedly, write until you’ve bared your soul onto the page, play until your fingers bleed, and love until your heart hurts.

I don’t want to end this like an infomercial: but please, please donate what you can to www.cancerresearchuk.org, first Bowie, now Rickman, please give what you can to make sure there’s no third one.

 

Thank you

Why we love…Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

ironman33Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is one of my favourite films (I know, another one!). It’s also, technically, a Christmas film (like EVERY Shane Black film), so by that logic it must also be my favourite Christmas film….Okay no its not, as it’s not a film I associate strongly with Christmas, like Home Alone or Die Hard. But it is an underrated classic, it is Christmassy enough, and it’s a film I can ramble on about its awesomeness for a post. So here I go.

Kiss-Kiss-Bang-Bang-Movie-Direct-DownloadNow the film itself is a pulpy Neo-noir mystery, which follows a petty crook played by a pre Iron Man Robert Downy Jr, and a badass gay Private-eye played by post Batman and relevance Val Kilmer, who are forced to work together to solve a classic and very compelling murder mystery in LA.

Now based on that description the film could really be anything, from hard edged thriller, to straight to DVD action flick. But like most Shane Black pictures it’s one of my favourite genres, outrageously dark comedy, with some of that best pitch black humor this side of In Bruges (which would actually make a dapmnbk5i5mn fine double feature) and it is also gleefully Meta. It turns the classic hard boiled narration into a rambling fourth wall demolishing spiel delivered by whom else but Downy, who spends much of the film deconstructing film narrative and murder mystery tropes, in an enjoyably if sometimes too smugly, nit-picky and self-referential way.

kiss-kiss-bang-bang-movie-quoteBut the heart of the film, what really makes it tick, is the razor sharp, character driven, machine gun dialogue. In a world, of Tarantino and Brother’s Coen, this is one of the sharpest scripts in cinema. There is not a minute that goes by, where a clever bit of word play or a visual gag or a marriage of both isn’t being pulled off. And it’s not just a series of funny but generic one-liners that could be said by anyone in anything, the comedy is pulled from its characters, from their plight and problems, and walks of life. To laugh with them and at them, is to get to know them.

tumblr_ma0nd0s3bx1ractwko1_r1_500And there are characters beyond Downy and Kilmer…well character. With most of the cast ranging from two note Hench-men and campy as hell villains, the only other big character is Michelle Monaghan (one of the most drop dead gorgeous women ever). The fem fatale of the film, who really isn’t in anyway, but is actually the ditsy heart of the flick, adding the much needed warmth and tonal levity to this dark and funny tale of murder and sexual abuse….yup. Whose dynamite chemistry with Downy not only helps ground both characters and gets the plot moving, but will make you wish she’d pop up in a Marvel film just so you can see them bounce off each other again.

Now this may be hard to hear, but as great as Downtumblr_mw8h9tn6bN1r60h6bo1_250y and Monaghan are…this is Kilmer’s film. He is pitch perfect as the aforementioned badass gay Private-eye, known as, what else, Gay Perry. Now this is a 2005 film, so the handling of his gay character isn’t perfect, my biggest issue being how other characters overreact a bit too much to his gayness (though in funny ways). But his kisskissbangbang3-copycharacter itself is one of the best in fiction; because despite the name, it doesn’t define him. He’s a tough, foul mouthed, no nonsense talking, gun toting, sassily witted, motherfucking pimp, who also happens to be gay. And it’s not just shoved to the side either; it’s just one part of a whole character, who steals scenes like Robert Downy Jr steals hearts.

Oh and the films like set at Christmas and stuff, and there’s like fairy lights everywhere and Christmas parties and tings. It’s a Shane Black film. He even made Iron Man  a Christmas film!

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Shane Black’s apology for Iron Man 3

 

Picture1But It’s movies like this along with other Downy classics like, Wonder Boys, A Scanner Darkly, Zodiac, and the very good A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, that still have me convinced that Robert Downy Jr did his best work pre Iron Man (not to knock it), when he was exiled from Hollywood (you know because of drugs), and was trying to crawl his way back in. And I wish he would go back to doing smaller more interesting films, than just the Marvel flicks; hell just films more interesting than The Judge. But I doubt he ever will, with everything Marvel still happening, the piles of money just his goatee is worth, and his recent comments about his hatred towards indie films. So I won’t hold my breath.