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  • Writer's pictureShannon Heibler

Galaxy Quest (1999)

I had the distinct joy of sharing this viewing with Ben's (and my!) family. An old favorite for some and a new experience for others, it was a delightful evening. Even with myriad technical issues. Thanks and ever thanks for making room for my weekly ritual during our time together!


There's so much to love about this movie. It's loving spoof of Star Trek and sci-fi serials - on and off screen. It's a winking jab at William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy. It's a joyful mirror held up at fan conventions. (I think one could argue that the moral is: "where would these actors be without their fandom?" A sweet, if ignorant, notion.) One of my greatest delights in this viewing was a regular chorus of "Wait [actor name] is in this!?!?" And while the script is pretty sound, this movie is lovable for its performances. Let's break down some of the best of the best.


Sigourney Weaver. The second of many films in my collection that feature Ms. Weaver. She's just so flipping good. In everything. In anything. What a commanding presence. I'm hard pressed to think of another actress of her generation that could take this absolute punchline of a role and make it compelling and empathetic. And she looks flipping great.


Missi Pyle appearance #3! What a winner. She's always game and she steals a good many moments with her relatively teensy role. Bless. That shrieking moment in the limo. My goodness.


Tony Shalhoub! Wisconsin native and all around swell actor gives such a wild turn on his role. He's soooo nonchalant it's hysterical and that's usually not the way that equation goes. I do, however, have some issues with the character. Specifically, that his non-Asian actor is playing a yellowface role on the show. With the help of subtitles, I picked up on some lines that made it better (for example he's very distressed to share with his colleagues that "Kwan" isn't even his real last name - insinuating that the production forced him into it) but I wish it would have been more of a choice. Something that was explored and addressed, certainly during the Next Gen-type preview at the end. There was a really great opportunity to examine that trope and call it out, but it's buried in the screenplay.


Alan Flipping Rickman. #4 (I think) in the project so far. The absolute gall of that man to give a 100% rounded and considered performance in this silly-ass movie. His lamentation over Quellek makes me cry every time. He has a full arc and he gives it every bit of effort that he gives much more serious roles and he is an artistic presence I miss on the regular.


And finally, Sam Rockwell. Previously seen in M&M in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He has evolved so beautifully as an actor with some decorated high wire act performances but I will always love him for this, and his very brief, very lovely go at Flute in Midsummer Night's Dream (still to come). His meltdown as Guy about not having a last name is one of the all time great comedy bits I've ever seen. Gene Wilder-esque. Genius.


Acrylic on canvas (20"x16"). "By Grabthar's Hammer"


Takeaways:

-Ben and I were touring a lovely art gallery the day after watching the movie and I was surrounded by stunning art and my brain goes "DO A PIETA". So I whispered to Ben, assuming he'd talk me out of it, "Would it be too much if I did a pieta of Alan Rickman and the alien?" And my wonderful art history nerd said, "OOH WHICH ONE WILL YOU MODEL IT ON?" And that's how I started my rabbit hole into Baroque paintings. How have I never taken an art history course??

-I picked Anthony Van Dyck's Pieta and then just fell in love with his work. My research started in the usual way (printing movie stills and representative style pieces) but as I sketched out their movie costumes, it didn't feel right, so I read more and learned about staging biblical scenes in contemporary clothing in Baroque paintings and I thought, that feels right. So I researched and drew that clothing. Then how stars (and comets!) were painted in that period. Then iconography (I scrapped a whoooooooole flower motif thing because time). It was a trip. My research nerd heart was very very happy.

-But the more I researched, the more I fell in love with the idea, and the more I became afraid of executing it. I didn't put paint to canvas until Thursday night (at which point I didn't want to do anything but paint) and as a result I'm posting this on Saturday afternoon. I was so afraid I'd wreck it but, honestly, I'm over the moon with how it turned out.

-I've started reading books and watching tutorials on different techniques and I feel it all paying off. I'm excited to learn even more.

-A quiet goal of mine is to show at pop culture haven, Gallery1988. This is the first piece I've done where I think it's possible.


I'm cheating with the next two movies because I can't not watch them these two weeks of the year. Random Number Generator, forgive me. This week, Jaws! Apologies to Ben for my inevitable Roy Scheider commentary. Next week, because movie night falls on the 4th, Independence Day!


I hope you're staying cool. Get some ice cream and watch a silly movie you love. You deserve it.

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