Watching Alan Rickman

It's not what you think

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Closet Land

Released in 1991

Character: The Interrogator

We’ve reached the first movie that I have already seen, although in the chronology of my life, I saw this one second, and Robin Hood first.  I saw this in the Spring of 1997, in my Social Deviance class.  This class was an eye-opener for me in general, as I grew up in a very small, very rural, very conservative part of the state, and the professor exposed me to things I had never heard of before, like protests against the World Trade Organization and how the media reports on things very specifically.  But nothing in this class made a bigger impression on 20 year old me than Closet Land.

Closet Land is where my deep admiration for Alan Rickman began.  While I had seen him in Robin Hood previously, I’m pretty sure I went to see that for Christian Slater, as I loved Heathers and Pump Up The Volume.

Before we go any further, let me say that I would recommend this movie to everyone, but please keep in mind that it’s all about psychological torture, with some (mostly implied) physical torture thrown in, and discussions of childhood sex abuse, so if any of those topics are triggering at all, I would avoid this movie.

The movie basically takes place between two people in one room.  This reminded me of when I was involved in theatre in college, because I was a part of the black box theatre group, where through the use of sound and lights and props, you tell a story with minimal sets.  I’ll admit, there were a few times in the beginning where I giggled (because I have an odd sense of humor) but it didn’t take long before there was nothing to laugh about.  I found it hard to watch at times, in the best way possible.  I don’t want to say much about the plot, because I think it pays to go into it not knowing much about the story.  In my class, we weren’t able to watch the whole thing, so I hadn’t seen the ending before.  I wish I had been less shy back then and asked my professor if I could borrow it or watch the rest in his office or something.

Both Alan Rickman and Madeline Stowe give amazing performances, him especially for reasons I won’t get into because I think it would spoil things.  I was slightly disturbed by how hot I found him in this movie (I’d give him a 10), because I don’t think you’re supposed to want to bone the interrogator, you know?

I couldn’t think of anything to draw, so I drew a representation of my favorite kind of class.  When you saw the professor rolling the TV/VCR cart in, you knew it was going to be an awesome day.

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Truly Madly Deeply

Released in 1990

Character: Jamie

I hate romantic movies.  They make me angry, they make me sad, and I end up feeling worse about myself than I did before I ever watched it.  I was never going to be the girl who got her braces off, got contacts, let her hair down, and suddenly became desirable.  I was never going to be the kind of woman that inspired men to go to great lengths to be with her.  All these movies ever did was make me loathe myself just a little bit more.  So, when I got to this movie, I dreaded watching it.  The photo and plot summary at IMDB made me want to skip it.  But, I made myself watch it, for the good of the project.

And I’m glad I did.

First of all, this movie is NOTHING like what the plot summary let me to believe.  Because I liked this movie SO MUCH, I hesitate to say much about the plot, because I think everyone should watch it.  But, in order to work through my feelings about this movie, I may have to.  Here there be spoilers.

This movie is about Jamie and Nina.  Jamie is dead, which surprised me, as I thought we’d see him alive, then dead.  Nina is not coping very well.  She misses Jamie deeply.  She often thinks she can hear him talking to her, and then one day, he appears.  Yes, Jamie comes back from the dead - sort of.  He’s still dead, but he’s a ghost (and a corporeal one at that).  Watching Jamie and Nina reunite is pure joy - I don’t think I’ve been this happy about two fictional characters reuniting since Sawyer and Juliet.  They have the most amazing evening together.  Well, Nina thinks it’s one evening, and I thought it was one evening, but lo and behold, it has actually been a WEEK.  Also, Jamie complains about being cold, and despite a roaring fire, six or seven blankets, and the heat cranked up, he can’t get warm.

So Nina goes back to work, and that’s when reality sets in.  Jamie has made some dead friends, you see, and he invites them over to watch movies.  Since the dead don’t care about time, they stay up most of the night watching them, and Nina goes off to bed alone.  Jamie eventually joins her, piling on as many blankets as he can.  As the movie progresses, more and more dead friends start living at Nina’s flat.  At one point, an entire orchestra of dead folks comes over to play with Jamie, who was a cellist before he died.

I don’t mind it when movies leave things to the imagination.  I don’t need every little thing spelled out for me, but this is one of those movies where I am dying to know more.  As the movie progresses, Nina gets more and more irritated with Jamie, and she finally gets fed up when he and his friends completely rearrange her flat.  This is when Nina asks, “Were we always like this?” and all of a sudden I realized that we, as the audience, know very little about their relationship.  We don’t know how long they had been dating, but we do know that they never lived together.  We don’t even really know how long Jamie’s been gone (I don’t think.  If a character mentioned it, I missed it).  We know almost NOTHING about their lives together, beyond what their first date was like.

The dead are almost always perfect, have you noticed?  If they had any annoying habits, or personality flaws, death washes them away.  I tried to put myself in her shoes - if my husband died suddenly (as Jamie did) and came back some time later, wouldn’t I eventually get irritated with him?  I don’t mean terminally irritated, but it wouldn’t bee all rainbows and kittens forever, I don’t think.  What Jamie’s return did for Nina was show her just how far along in the grieving process she had actually gone.  For the first part of the movie, it seems like she isn’t able to handle his death in the least, but I think she realizes that she missed the Jamie she remembered, the perfect Jamie, the Jamie that never angered her.  Having him back, coupled with the apparent self-absorption that the dead have (or was Jamie like that before?), showed her that she was ready to move on.  Jamie asks her if she wants him to leave.  She says no, and clings to him, clearly they both know that she needs him to leave, even if she can’t bring herself to say it.

I feel bad for Jamie.  At one point, it is implied that he has made an irrevocable choice, so he can’t just go into the light and go off to heaven.  I think that the men he befriends are others who, like him, tried to come back and return to their old lives with the women they’ve left behind, and who have had similar results.  In the end, Nina moves on with a new man, and in a scene that almost made me cry, Jamie watches Nina with her new man.

I think someday I’ll watch this movie again.  I can’t now, because if I start re-watching things, I’ll never make it to the end of this project.  I spent the first part of the movie jokingly putting myself down, saying that no one would ever love me enough to come back from the dead to be with me, but after watching the whole thing, I’m not so sure I’d want someone to do that for me.  This is a romantic movie I can get behind, probably because it has a happy ending, but not the one that you’d think.

Alan Rickman is wonderful, as always.  I used to play a number of different instruments, including the violin.  When my younger brother was in orchestra, he played cello, and I taught myself to play it.  I considered switching, but we had plenty of cellists, so I didn’t.  He’s a damn sexy faux-cellist, I have to say.  Also, I love that his hair is getting longer the further into the 80s we get, but his hair in this was a little on the wacky side.  Still incredibly sexy, though, and so I’ll give him a 10 on the hotness scale.

You’ll notice that there’s no picture.  I honestly couldn’t think of anything to draw, so you got a long-winded post instead.

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Oops!

I should have posted this before Quigley Down Under.

Ahem.

I can’t find Theatre Night: Benefactors at all, and while there are a few YouTube videos of Screenplay: From Sleep and Shadow floating around, they are TERRIBLE VHS rips.  I can watch videos with poor quality, but the ones I found were SO BAD, I could barely make out what was going on.

So far, the things I’m having trouble finding are television shows.  Once I get past the things I can’t find, I’ll make a post listing them all, because any help anyone could provide would be appreciated.

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Quigley Down Under

Released in 1990

Character: Elliott Marston



I didn’t like this movie.  There, I said it.  For what it was, it wasn’t a bad movie, but I didn’t like its portrayal of mental illness or of the Aboriginals.  Because those two things were a large part of the movie, I just couldn’t enjoy it.

What I did like: Tom Selleck.  I’ve always liked him, ever since I watched Magnum, PI as a young girl.  I swear, he and Alan Rickman were having a mustache-off in this movie, but Tom Selleck remains the heavyweight mustache champion of the world.  There are very few men that can pull off a mustache, and he’s one of them.

Also, Alan Rickman was great, as usual, but despite the fact that he was the bad guy, he wasn’t in the movie much.  In terms of hotness, physically I’d give him an 8, but because of his terrible personality, I’m knocking it down to a 2.

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The January Man

Original Release Date: 1989

Character: Ed

Considering the number of famous people in this movie, I’m surprised I’d never heard of it.  I can’t decide what I think about this movie.  I didn’t HATE it, I enjoyed it, I suppose, but I felt like it was off, somehow.  Like it couldn’t decide what tone it wanted to take.

The main character is basically a Sherlock Holmes type, like Gregory House, where clues and things speak to him differently.  But where House is a jerk, the main character is quirky.  For the second time, we met Alan Rickman’s character as he draws a naked woman.  His character, Ed, reminds me a lot of Kramer from Seinfeld.  Ed is my favorite part of this movie.  The things he wears!  The looks he gives, the things he says.  All of it.  I also got a big chuckle out of the use of computers in this movie (they had a three button mouse, though - despite the mouse, there was an awful lot of typing).

On the hotness scale, I’d give him a 7, but I would totally want to hang out with this character, so I’ll raise that to an 8.

As we’ve seen, I cannot for the life of me draw a suit, but I tried, because I COULD NOT find a good screenshot of this outfit.  Don’t let my incredible lack of talent deceive you, the outfit was even more of a hot mess in the movie.

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Revolutionary Witness: The Preacher

Original release date: 1989

Character: Jacques Roux

First, I’m sorry it has taken me so long to post - I’m sick, lay around in bed sick, so I haven’t had much energy.  Second, because of the lack of energy, I’m only drawing something for one of the two entries I’m writing today, and it’s the other one.  I know you are all devastated.

The Preacher was one of four monologues put together to celebrate the bicentennial of the French Revolution.  Alan Rickman plays Jacques Roux, who was a radical priest and an important figure in the French Revolution.  So, for the second time we see him portray a religious figure, and for the second time I think that, if he were the head of a religion, I’d follow it to the ends of the earth.  I LOVED this.  He was born to be an orator of some sort.  I thought that about Romeo and Juliet, and I think that here.  Anyone who is a fan of his should find this online and watch the hell out of it.

I was going to draw a picture of me attending the Church of Rickman, but as I said, I have no energy, so use your imaginations.

I’d give him a 10 on the hotness scale.  There wasn’t anything not to like about this.

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Die Hard

Original Release Date:  1988

Character:  Hans Gruber

I have no idea how I’ve managed to go this long without seeing this movie.  I know why I didn’t see it in the theatre - in 1988, I was 12, and since this was an R rated movie (and my parents weren’t big into taking us to the movies) I couldn’t go see it.  You’d think that I would have seen it on cable or something since then, but no. 

Even if I had, I’m not so sure I would have watched it.  I’ve never really liked “action” movies.  If I had known how FUNNY this movie was, I would have watched it YEARS ago! Then again, for one of my birthday sleepovers in middle school, I rented Child’s Play, and thought it was funny as hell - my friends, not so much.  So maybe I’m not the best judge.

One thing I like to do while watching these things (I swear I don’t do this in mixed company) is note all the things that you either can’t do anymore (smoke in an airport terminal!  Openly carry a gun on a plane!), or things that don’t exist anymore (rotary phones, typewriters, etc.).  I watched this with my husband, and he told me that most “heist” movies back in the day involved stealing bearer bonds (as this movie did), and I remarked that as a plot device, that doesn’t make sense anymore, since it would be easier and safer to steal that kind of thing electronically nowadays.  Also, this is the first thing I watched with him, and I think this project is making him a teeny bit jealous.  Ha!

Overall, I enjoyed this movie far more than I thought I would.  I guess in the future I won’t write off an entire genre of movies so easily.  I loved everything about Alan Rickman in this movie - he looks amazing in a suit, he’s funny, and he’s in it a lot, so plenty of eye candy for me!  I’d give him a 9 on the hotness scale.

This is where I would normally post some sort of picture.  I’m having drawer’s block, though, which is part (but not all) of the reason it has taken me so long to post this entry.

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Girls on Top (2 episodes)

First episode: Four Play

Character: Dmitri

Second episode: Cancel Toast

Character: Voice of R.A.D.A

These are both very short performances.  In the first episode, I swear that he also does the voice over the intercom in the flat rental office.  Anyway, Dmitri is on screen for, like, a minute and a half.  I couldn’t tell if he was speaking actual Greek (the character was supposed to be Greek) at the beginning.  It sounded like it, and if so, impressive!

In the second episode, he’s just a voice in the shadow, but has the best line:

Since my handwriting is SO BAD, what’s on the right says, “What we’d like you to do for us is to be a fried egg in a pan and then you get hotter until you finally explode.”  The egg believes he’s got this.

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The Barchester Chronicles

Released: 1982

Character: Obadiah Slope

When I read the blurb describing this series, I wasn’t sure that I was enjoy it.  I have little to no experience with religion outside of the one thrust upon me as a teenager (which I will get into in more detail when I watch Dogma), so watching a series where clergymen in the Church of England scheme to further their ambitions didn’t sound appealing.  HOWEVER, I will say I did enjoy it.  I felt that a couple of the episodes lacked much content, and in consequence the last two seemed rushed and full of story.

This series is widely regarded as the one where the world finally took notice of Alan Rickman.  Okay, perhaps others phrase that in a slightly different way.  His character, Slope, is an unpleasant person, full of ambition, and is a schemer.  What I found was that I developed a lot of sympathy for Slope (as I did for Snape, in a similar but different way).  YES, he was unpleasant and YES, he was completely blatant in his ambition, but I very much disliked the way people mistreated him in the end.  He and the Bishop’s wife, Mrs. Proudie, start off as two peas in a pod, both manipulating the Bishop to do what they wanted.  In the beginning, they worked together to achieve the same goal.  Later on, though, Mrs. Proudie turns on Slope.  I can’t decide why, exactly - was it simply that she despised anyone who worked against her, as Slope did time and again?  Or was it also that he was HERS, someone SHE found and someone SHE elevated far about what would have been his station, and so, when he started pursuing women, it angered her because she was no longer the only woman in his life (platonically speaking, as far as I can tell)?  It could be a little bit of both, I suppose.

Overall, I found most of the people of Barchester to be unlikeable, which is weird because I think you’re supposed to find them a sweet and friendly bunch.  Eleanor Bold, one of the women that Slope tries to woo, starts out as a sweet and likeable woman, but by the end, I disliked her very much.  She leads Slope on, only spending time with him because her family and friends do not approve.  And in the end, she doesn’t mind humiliating Slope, in fact she REVELS in it.  In the beginning, she seemed really into Slope, and it is only later that she starts to cool.  Sure, Slope should have been able to tell that her attitude toward him had changed, but she did NOTHING to disabuse him of the notion that she loved him, as he loved her, not until the very end.

The Signora was another character that I wanted to like, but didn’t.  She and her siblings were no good, and they didn’t bother to hide it.  They were grifters, liars, cheats, etc., and the Signora made it clear to Slope that she knew about his ambition, and SHE encouraged him to be more bold and forward about it.  At the end, she completely humiliates Slope in front of a number of people, again, in a way that I think is completely unjustifiable.

So, who did I like?  Mary Bold, Eleanor’s sister-in-law, had to be my favorite person.  She was sassy and blunt, and a good friend.  I also liked Bertie Stanhope, the Signora’s brother and worthless scamp.  He, too, had his eye set on marrying Eleanor, but he was just so open and honest about who and what he was, that I couldn’t really dislike him.

I had a hard time thinking of something to draw for this.  I did admire the dresses that the ladies wore.  I know clothes like that are hot and uncomfortable and completely inconvenient, BUT I do sometimes wish I could wear them.

On the hotness scale, I’m afraid Mr. Slope rates a fairly low 4.  Not just because the severely parted, slicked back hair is not a good look, but also because he really was an unpleasant person with very few redeeming qualities.

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