Whatever your preferred genre of movie, there is an Alan Rickman classic for you. Be it Die Hard, Love Actually, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Sense and Sensibility, or the Harry Potter franchise, the one-time member of the Royal Shakespeare Company did it all.
Rickman immortalized characters like Severus Snape and Hans Gruber, but I have no doubt which entry on his extensive résumé I'm most thankful for: The 1999 sci-fi comedy Galaxy Quest.
Have you seen it? If not, watch it today (it's on Netflix, so you have no excuse). The movie follows the cast of an eponymous TV show, a long-shelved sci-fi cult favorite that bears more than a passing resemblance to Star Trek. A friendly alien race—mistakenly believing the Galaxy Quest episodes they've seen to be non-fiction "historical documents"—beam the washed-up actors aboard their spaceship to save them when the future of their species is in peril.
Co-starring Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, and Tony Shalhoub, Galaxy Quest is close to perfect. The heart of the movie is Rickman's Alexander Dane, a serious Shakespearean actor who's been thanklessly typecast since playing the Galaxy Quest crew's resident scientist, Dr. Lazarus, a Spock-esque alien with a prosthetic headpiece and a clunky catchphrase.
In contrast to Jason Nesmith, Allen's attention-craving take on William Shatner, Dane is far more doubtful about the unusual circumstances in which he and his former castmates have found themselves. As a general rule, life is unfair to this man, as when their alien hosts prepare food for the actors based on their supposed origins: Nesmith enjoys a human-appropriate steak, while Dane is served a squirming bowl of insects.
This is an incredibly funny movie, but watching Dane overcome his resentment and self-pity to embrace his capacity for heroism—particularly as he becomes a mentor for a young alien, Quellek (Patrick Breen)—is what makes an incredibly touching one, too.
Serving equal parts comedy and pathos, Rickman's full range of talents is on display here: Galaxy Quest is truly one of his best performances. And by Grabthar's hammer, by the suns of Warvan, he shall be remembered.
Molly Fitzpatrick is senior editor of Fusion's Pop & Culture section. Her interests include movies about movies, TV shows about TV shows, and movies about TV shows, but not so much TV shows about movies.