February 21 is the birthday of one Alan Rickman, the extraordinary English actor who bedeviled John McClane, Robin Hood, Marianne Dashwood, Arthur Dent, and Harry Potter. He also once played Sherlock Holmes in a stage production. Do you know how you know we’re in the darkest timeline? We never got to see Alan Rickman play Sherlock Holmes on film. Rickman passed away on January 14, 2016.
My favorite Rickman role is probably as Sir Alexander Dane as Dr. Lazarus in Galaxy Quest. If you’re unfamiliar, Galaxy Quest is the Star Trek parody film that portrays Trekkies both mockingly and lovingly. Some fans consider it the secret Tenth Star Trek movie. This makes Star Trek: Nemesis the Eleventh and preserves the old axiom that only even numbered Star Trek films are good.
Rickman plays an unhappy and snippy actor with disdain for the schlocky sci-fi material he’s known for. He misses out on a brilliant acting career to make money by repeating his catchphrase over and over again. Fan conventions, car dealership promotions (“By Grabthar’s Hammer… what a savings”) — that sort of thing.
That is, until he gets to be a hero. A friend, from a race of aliens who regard his old TV show as factual, has been shot and lies dying in his arms. Instinctively, Sir Alexander Dane knows the right words at the moment. He repeats the same silly phrase he’s committed to memory, but now with new meaning behind it:
I’m not crying.