It came down to a Battle of the Alans this month but Alan Rickman and his dulcet tones came out on top. With "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" opening this Wednesday, now seemed like the perfect time to tip our pointy hats to Rickman and his portrayal of the morally ambiguous but always riveting Severus Snape.
What's not to love about Alan Rickman? He makes villainy scandalously attractive, something that was apparant from the moment he first appeared on screen as the baddie in "Die Hard." A couple years later, he quite literally stole every single scene in which he appeared as the Sheriff of Nottingham in the high-camp classic "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves." I must have watched that movie 20 times and fast-forwarded through every Kevin Costner scene just to get to another Alan Rickman scene. Yes, I wanted the Sheriff of Nottingham to win, dammit. And then there's Snape. Oh Snape, I know you do bad things but your emo-nature just makes me want to cuddle you like a small, angry kitten with a terrible, terrible dye job. It's truly a testament to Rickman's talents that Snape is one of the few "Potter" characters to feel more three-dimensional on screen than on the page.
And Rickman's not all about the villainy either. The guy can be pretty damn funny. Check him out as one of the has-been actors turned hero in "Galaxy Quest" or as the voice of sad, depressed Marvin the robot in "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" or in one of my favorite Rickman roles, the burned-out cranky neutered angel Metatron in Kevin Smith's profanely hilarious "Dogma."
How about romance? Oh, Rickman can do that too. In fact, when I feel like my day is too sunny and I need to sit in a corner and cry for a good 45-minutes or so, I watch one of his earliest films, an uplifting little number called "Truly, Madly, Deeply" in which Rickman plays a cellist who dies but returns as a ghostly apparition to be with the woman he loves. This film is actually a comedy until it rips your heart out and stomps all over it at the end. It is, thankfully, the anti-"Ghost." And then, for the Jane Austen geeks among us, there is "Sense and Sensibility" which stars Rickman as the mysterious and heroic Colonel Brandon. Did I mention there's a scene where he carries a fevered Kate Winslet through a grassy meadow in a rain storm? Yes. Indeed. Where's my fan? I'm feeling a bit flustered just thinking about it.
Musical theater nerd needs? He's got those covered too, having gone toe-to-toe with Johnny Depp as the menacing yet tuneful Judge Turpin in Tim Burton's "Sweeney Todd." Again, one of those instances where you think, all villains played by Alan Rickman should be given a free pass at redemption. Let him live 'til the credits!
And finally, as if we needed any more reasons to honor the man, there's that voice. I defy anyone not to melt just a little upon hearing the smooth, buttery goodness of that voice. It's so good even "Family Guy" expended a few jokes on it:
So, for giving us an unforgettable Severus Snape, for giving us mysterious heroes, for being deliciously silly when called upon and for having a voice that makes songbirds just give up and die, The Park Bench is pleased to name Alan Rickman as July's Nerd Man of the Month.