Good Riddance 2016

From a pop-culture perspective, 2016 sucked. We lost icon after icon in 2016 and at this point as I reflect on the year, it is really what I am focused on. Below is a brief list of some of the losses that stuck out to me. It is not all inclusive and I am sure that I have probably missed some of your favorites and may have even overlooked some of mine. There was plenty of good in 2016 I am sure but as of right now – 2016 I bid you adieu.

Losses

Alan Rickman

This one hurt. It was one of the first that really stung. I have been watching and loving to watch Alan Rickman since he first stepped into my movie world with Die Hard and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. I remember seeing Robin Hood and finding that I was pulling for the Sheriff of Nottingham. He was chewing the scenery, playing completely over the top and I was eating it up. Alan Rickman could literally play anything and played in almost any type of movie or role. From the baddie in an action movie like Die Hard to Snape in the Harry Potter movies – Alan Rickman stretched his legs and trod the boards of theaters and cinemas all over the world. One of my favorite roles of his has always been that of the angel, Metatron, in Dogma. The accent when in discussions with this very American cast was the perfect touch point. Add to that the barbie doll full frontal nudity when he first arrives on the scene and you do in fact one of my favorites when it comes to Alan Rickman,

I could go on about Alan Rickman for an entire article… I will resist that temptation right now.

I do feel more myself in America. I can regress there, and they have roller-coaster parks. – Alan Rickman

Harper Lee

One of my favorite books of all time is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Amazingly well written and one of those books from my youth that still holds up to thorough read later in life.

Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it. “Your father’s right,” she said. “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing except make music for us to enjoy. – To Kill a Mockingbird

Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what. – Harper Lee

Merle Haggard

Well, Leonard gave me lots of inspiration
He helped teach me how to write a country song
And he even brought around a bag of groceries
Hey, back before Muskogee came along
Really, I’m not trying to hide his show name
Or the town in which this episode began
Somehow I had to write a song for old Tommy
If just to see the smilin’ faces in the band
-Leonard

Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get the chance to say something, say something good.

Prince

The addiction that I have with Prince is my sister’s fault. When he released an album she bought it and I got to listen to it. Prince is on the list of people whose music can’t be turned off when it happens to come on the radio.

Electric word life
It means forever and that’s a mighty long time
But I’m here to tell you
There’s something else
The afterworld

A world of never ending happiness
You can always see the sun, day or night
-Let’s Go Crazy

As human beings we suffer from an innate tendency to jump to conclusions; to judge people too quickly and to pronounce them failures or heroes without due consideration of the actual facts and ideals of the period.

Billy Paul – Me and Mrs. Jones

Questlove of the Roots equated Paul to Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder, calling him “one of the criminally unmentioned proprietors of socially conscious post-revolution ’60s civil rights music.” I just know that I love his music, his voice and his spirit.

Me and Mrs.Jones
We got a thing goin’on
We both know that it’s wrong
But it’s much too strong
To let it go now
We meet every day at the same cafe
Six-thirty and no one knows she’ll be there
Holding hands, making all kinds of plans
While the juke box plays our favorite songs

Muhammad Ali

Boxer, civil rights activists, political activist, pop culture icon. He is and will always be one of the most recognizable people in the world.

The Greatest, The Champ, The Louisville Lip or just ‘Ali’. In 1999, Ali was crowned “Sportsman of the Century” by Sports Illustrated and “Sports Personality of the Century” by the BBC. I don’t know what else I can say. Punch to the gut (pun intended) that he is no longer with us.

He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.

Ron Lester – Billy Bob in Varsity Blues

Until I was doing resaerch for this article, I had no idea that he had passed away. Varisty Blues is one of those movies that is completely re-watchable time and time again. His physicality, his passion on the screen and his moves between man-child and serious performer in VB makes me sad that his career did not take off more and that we didn’t get more moments of him on the big screen.

Puke and Rally!

Am I alive? Yes. Am I happy? No. Did I throw away my career to be skinny? Yes. I wouldn’t do [the surgery] again. I would much rather have died happy, rich, and kept my status and gone out on top.

Elie Wiesel

Night re-shaped my life and thought patterns in high school. If you have never read it, please take the time to add it to your “To Read” list. Survived a German ghetto and a concentration camp. Experienced the death of hundreds of people he knew. Wiesel explained the realities of the concentration camps and the experience of the European Jew during WWII as only someone that lived it can.

One day I was able to get up, after gathering all my strength. I wanted to see myself in the mirror hanging on the opposite wall. I had not seen myself since the ghetto.
From the depths of the mirror, a corpse gazed back at me.
The look in his eyes, as they stared into mine, has never left me.
-Night

There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.

Kenny Baker

I had the opportunity to meet Kenny Baker at FanBoy Expo one year in Knoxville, TN. He is truly one of the nicest kindest people I ever met at a celebrity convention. He seemed to enjoy his fame and the people that he met that were fans of his work and the movies he was in.

He is one of two people to appear in 6 Star Was films and is credited on a 7th. He also worked on three movies that were nominated for Academy Awards for Best Picture: Star Wars A New Hope, The Elephant Man and Amadeus.

Again, great person that I had the pleasure to meet in real life and that breathed life into a trash can looking robot from a galaxy far, far away.

I started out Ice skating with ‘Holiday On Ice’ and just got offered the part of R2 by chance.

Gene Wilder

There is an entire article about Gene WIlder on the site. This one stung a lot.

Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: Love is the only thing that can save this poor creature, and I am going to convince him that he is loved even at the cost of my own life. No matter what you hear in there, no matter how cruelly I beg you, no matter how terribly I may scream, do not open this door or you will undo everything I have worked for. Do you understand? Do not open this door.

Inga: Yes, Doctor.

Igor: Nice working with ya.

[Dr. Frederick Frankenstein goes into the room with The Monster. The Monster wakes up]

Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: Let me out. Let me out of here. Get me the hell out of here. What’s the matter with you people? I was joking! Don’t you know a joke when you hear one? HA-HA-HA-HA. Jesus Christ, get me out of here! Open this goddamn door or I’ll kick your rotten heads in! Mommy!

Great art direction is NOT the same thing as great film direction!

Florence Henderson

America’s Mom!

Carol Ann Brady: What are you going to wear, Mike?

Michael ‘Mike’ Brady: Oh I don’t know… my cowboy boots…

Carol Ann Brady: [in her best John Wayne impression] Well ya better wear somethin’ else, or you’re gonna get arrested!

Michael ‘Mike’ Brady: Not to mention sunburn!

I begged them to give Carol Brady a job. They wouldn’t do that. I mean, those clothes, for God’s sake, take a look at them! I didn’t choose those, please…But I said, ‘Can I just hit the kids every now and then? I mean, real life!’ They wouldn’t let me.

George Michael

Another musical addiction that I have due to my sister’s love of pop-music. I can still sing all the lyrics to Wake me Up Before you Go Go.

Well it looks like the road to heaven,
But it feels like the road to hell.
When I knew which side my bread was buttered
I took the knife as well.
Posing for another picture.
Everybody’s got to sell,
But when you shake your ass
They notice fast,
And some mistakes were built to last.
That’s what you get,
I say, that’s what you get.
That’s what you get for changing your mind,
And after all this time
I just hope you understand,
Sometimes the clothes
Do not make the man
-Freedom 90

The whole business is built on ego, vanity, self-satisfaction, and it’s total crap to pretend it’s not.

Carrie Fisher

Princess Leia her ownself. I don’t know how to take this one. She and Madonna were my first crushes as a pre-teen. And she had some awe-inspiring and memorable one-liners:

  • “Into the garbage shoot flyboy!”
  • “Aren’t you a little short for a stormtrooper?”
  • “Why, you stuck up, half-witted, scruffy-looking Nerf herder.”
  • “I’d just as soon kiss a Wookie.”
  • “Governor Tarkin, I should have expected to find you holding Vader’s leash. I recognized your foul stench when I was brought on board.”

Acting engenders and harbours qualities that are best left way behind in adolesence. People-pleasing, going on those interviews and jamming your whole personality into getting the job, ingratiating yourself to people you wouldn’t f***ing spit on if they were on fire.

Debbie Reynolds

And Princess Leia’s mom. I have loved Debbie Reynolds since the first time that I watched Singin’ in the Rain. After I figured out that she was Carrie Fisher’s mom she certainly grew even larger in my estimation.

Don Lockwood: Which of my pictures have you seen?
Kathy: I don’t remember. I saw one once.
Don Lockwood: You saw one once?
Kathy: Yes, I think you were dueling and there was a girl – Lina Lamont. But I don’t go to the movies much. If you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all.
Don Lockwood: Thank you.
Kathy: Oh, no offense. Movies are entertaining enough for the masses but the personalities on the screen just don’t impress me. I mean they don’t talk, they don’t act, the just make a lot of dumb show. Well, you know
Kathy: like that.
Don Lockwood: You mean like what I do?
Kathy: Well, yes!

Singin’ in the Rain and childbirth were the two hardest things I ever had to do in my life.

To you, 2016, I say Boo, Hiss, Boo!