Tag Archives: Carrie Fisher

Star Wars Character Review: Poe Dameron

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the new characters that were introduced to audiences for the episodes seven and eight in the Star Wars franchise. Read at your own risk if you have not seen The Force Awakens Or The Last Jedi.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Star Wars to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Becoming a hero is a wish that many have. Saving the day and receiving everything that comes with saving the day is a fantasy that has been the backbone of storytelling since the beginning of storytelling. But there is an unspoken reality of becoming a hero. Besides the danger that is involved, there may also be an ego trip and the inevitable fall that comes after the ego trip.

In the newest Star Wars films, Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) is a hero of the rebellion. The spiritual son of General Leia Organa (the late Carrie Fisher), he is not only one of the best pilots within the rebellion, but he is also being groomed as General Organa’s future second in command. In The Force Awakens, Poe is one of the core characters that is front and center in the war against The First Order.

Brash, passionate, emotional and a little reckless, Poe is everything the rebellion needs to prevent The First Order from taking over the entire galaxy.

In The Last Jedi, Poe is still the hero, but his recklessness becomes a negative attribute instead of a positive one. Disobeying orders, he leads a strike against the First Order that costs the lives of many and is promptly demoted. But even his demotion is not enough  when he disagrees with the choices of his replacement, Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern). When he is working with Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) and Finn (John Boyega) to help the rebellion survive, his actions bring out the opposite result.

In the end, Poe redeems himself as a hero in the battle on the planet Crait, but not before having a few bumps and bruises along the way.

To sum it up: Being a hero and saving the day is not all fun and games. There is a reality to being a hero that is often not explored. When creating a character who wants to be a hero, making that character earn that hero title is in my opinion, necessary. It not only creates a realistic character arc, but it also keeps the audience or reader in their place, questioning when the character will become the hero they want to be.

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My Girls: A Lifetime with Carrie and Debbie Book Review

In December of 2016, when movie fans across the world were grieving the loss of iconic mother/daughter duo of Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher, Todd Fisher, Debbie’s son and Carrie’s brother was grieving for his mother and sister.

Recently Todd released a memoir about his life with Carrie and Debbie, entitled My Girls: A Lifetime with Carrie and Debbie.  Born to Debbie and her first husband, Eddie Fisher, Todd and Carrie was raised among the whose who of the golden age of cinema. While Debbie’s career and personal life had quite a few ups and downs (two more marriages that went bust and financial struggles), Carrie had her own issues. While she gained fame playing Leia Organa in the Star Wars film franchise and later became a respected writer, she also famously tussled with mental health and chemical dependency issues.

I loved this book. It has humor, it has heart and it feels very personal. In addition to Todd’s memories, the book also contains anecdotes from Carrie and Debbie, in addition to family photos that the public has not been previously been privy to.

I feel like this is his way of saying his final goodbye to his mother and sister, while remembering the good times. For fans of Carrie and Debbie, this book allows them to do the same.

I absolutely recommend it.

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Fiddler On The Roof Character Review: Motel

*Warning: This post contains spoilers in regards to the narrative and characters from the musical Fiddler On The Roof. Read at your own risk if you have not seen the movie or any of the stage adaptations.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Fiddler On The Roof to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Any writer worth their salt will tell you that one of the basic elements of a story is a character arc. The character starts off in one place and ends in another place. One of the under used common character arcs is that of a character who find the confidence to speak up for himself or herself and while doing so, makes their dream a reality.

In Fiddler On The Roof, the audience is introduced to Motel as Tzeitel’s childhood playmate and hopeful intended. The problem is that he is a poor tailor and Tzeitel’s parents have chosen a husband for their daughter who is higher on the social and economic scale. The problem is that every time he tries to ask Tevye for his blessing, he bumbles it up. Motel, to put it bluntly, in the beginning of the story needs to grow a backbone.

He does so, by finally asking Tevye to break tradition by asking for his blessing to marry Tzeitel.  It’s not easy, especially considering the strict rules of the era and the fact that he is quite terrified of Tevye when we meet him initially. But he does so, in spite of the fear and receives the blessing he has hoped for.

To sum it up: Motel’s journey reminds me of one of my favorite Carrie Fisher quotes:

“Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow.”

Motel’s journey feels very human. Sometimes the one thing we need to succeed when taking a risk is confidence, even if we don’t feel we have it. Motel takes the risk, knowing that Tevye could easily say no and force his daughter to marry the much older and wealthier butcher. But Tevye says yes and Motel’s risk pays off. In life as in fiction, taking a risk and having the confidence to do so is never easy. The outcome of the risk is not guaranteed. But we’ll never know until we try.

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Top Ten Book Reviews Of 2017

2017 was a good year for the publishing industry, at least from my perspective. Below are top ten books for 2017.

  1. The Genius Of Jane AustenJane Austen was a genius, this book explains why.
  2. Growing Up Fisher: Joely Fisher’s unconventional autobiography is a look into her very unique Hollywood family.
  3. What HappenedHillary Clinton’s brutally honest reminiscence of the 2016 Presidential Election is one for the ages.
  4. Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman: This must read book examines how female celebrities are questioning what is acceptable for a woman.
  5. The Making Of Jane AustenJane Austen was not born a writer, she made herself into one.
  6. Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Leia, Princess of AlderaanThe book tells the story of Princess Leia two years before the events of A New Hope.
  7. Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman’s Awakening: Saudi Arabia is known the world over for its oppressive laws against its women. Manal Al-Sharif is fighting to change that.
  8. Mr. Rochester: Written from the point of view of Edward Rochester, Charlotte Bronte’s most famous hero, the book is an eye-opening story on the man readers thought they knew.
  9. You Can’t Spell America Without Me: The Really Tremendous Inside Story of My Fantastic First Year as President Donald J. Trump (A So-Called Parody): Alec Baldwin co wrote this hilarious book from the mind of you know who. Ridiculously funny.
  10. The Great Gasbag: An A-to-Z Study Guide to Surviving Trump World: Written by The View co-host Joy Behar, this novel is for anyone who needs a laugh, especially considering what has come out of D.C. this year.

Honorable Mentions

 

This will be my last blog post for 2017. Wherever you are, have a safe and happy new year. See you in 2018.

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Carrie Fisher-Gone A Year Today

 

A year ago today, Carrie Fisher passed away.

Writer, actress, mental health activist, mother, daughter, sister, feminist, Fisher was an icon to many for many reasons. Playing Leia Organa in the Star Wars film franchise, Fisher helped to change the way women are portrayed in film, especially in science fiction and fantasy films. Leia was not just the heart and the brains of the rebellion, she was whip smart and in charge.

Leia grabbing the blaster from Luke’s hands and shooting at the storm troopers was a small moment in A New Hope, but a big moment in the history of women on-screen.

After Star Wars and in between her other roles, Fisher became one hell of a writer, publishing her own work in addition to gaining the envious title of one of the most in demand script doctors in Hollywood.  She was not afraid to speak openly about her addiction and mental illness issues when others were still in the closet about their addiction and mental illness issues.

The thing that will always stand out for me, is that she was herself, warts and all. Unapologetic, unafraid and upfront. We should all be so brave to be ourselves and not give a sh*t what someone else thinks of us.

For that, she will always be my hero.

RIP Carrie. A year still seems like yesterday.

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The Best Awful Book Review

A good sequel, when properly written, is always a thrill. It’s a thing of curiosity, to see where the character’s lives have gone and will go since we last saw them.  The late Carrie Fisher knew a lot about sequels, she played Leia Organa in the Star Wars movie franchise.

She was also one hec of a writer.

The Best Awful, Fisher’s sequel to her best-selling novel, Postcards From The Edge, takes place a few years after the events in Postcards From The Edge.  Her fictional alter-ego, Suzanne Vale, is now the mother of a young daughter, Honey.  Honey’s father has just left Suzanne for a man. Wanting and needing a replacement for her ex, Suzanne  decides it’s a good time to stop taking her medication. The results and the adventure she goes while off her medication is well, an adventure to say the least.

When Suzanne finally hits rock bottom, her ex, her movie star mother and her friends decide that the best thing for Suzanne is to be put in a mental hospital. Going into the hospital maybe the very thing Suzanne needs to move on with her life.

Fisher’s bouts with mental illness are part and parcel of her persona. What I loved about this book is that not only is it funny, but it speaks to the truth of what it is to bipolar and live with the ups and downs that being bipolar brings.

I absolutely recommend it.

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The Last Jedi Movie Review-Spoilers Ahead

Warning: This movie review contain spoilers for The Last Jedi. I will not be offended if you choose to read this review until after you have seen the movie. 

The Star Wars trilogy created the movie sequels as we know them to be today.

In The Last Jedi, the resistance, led by General Leia Organa (the late and very missed Carrie Fisher) is on the run from The First Order. Leia’s son, Kylo Ren/Ben Solo (Adam Driver) is hell-bent on destroying the resistance, as per the command of Snoke (Andy Serkis). Kylo’s second in command, General Hux (Domnhall Gleason) is as eager as his bosses to see the resistance blown to smithereens.

Meanwhile, Rey (Daisy Ridley) has found Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), but Luke is not happy to found. However, at the same time, he sees the power in Rey and knows that she must receive some sort of training.  At the same time, Finn (John Boyega) has woken from his coma and is teaming up with previously unknown Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) to find a way to defeat The First Order. Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) is all for the plan, but he has been rebuked for his wild ways by Leia and Vice Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern) for his wild ways.

Director Rian Johnson has hit it out of the park with this film. A throwback to The Empire Strikes Back, Johnson is a fanboy who has used his love of the franchise to create a remarkable film.

While all of the cast were at peak performance mode, my favorite performances belonged to Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Adam Driver. Luke, who was only seen briefly and without any dialogue at the end of The Force Awakens, is a man who is torn apart by his past and the decisions he made.  His twin, Leia is watching the resistance fall apart and is trying to lead the remnants as best she can.  Kylo is unsure as to the path he has taken. While he has sworn loyalty to Snoke, there is still a part of him that clings to the light side of the force and the family he left behind when he flipped to the dark side.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

The Last Jedi is presently in theaters. 

 

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Growing Up Fisher: Musings, Memories, and Misadventures Book Review

A celebrity autobiography is a funny thing. It is part confessional, part life story and part point of view that can only be told uniquely by the celebrity who is writing the book.

Joely Fisher is the daughter of Connie Stevens and the late Eddie Fisher, in addition to being the half-sister of the late Star Wars icon Carrie Fisher. Recently, she has published an autobiography entitled, Growing Up Fisher: Musings, Memories, and Misadventures. Written candidly and openly, Ms. Fisher talks about what it was like to grow up in a famous Hollywood family and how that experience shaped her career and her adult life. She also writes about her sister, as only a devoted and loving family member can.

I really loved this book. I loved it because Ms. Fisher is not afraid to reveal her faults and her missteps. She is also talks about what is to be the daughter of Hollywood and how it affects how one’s view the world.

I recommend it.

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Happy Belated Birthday Carrie Fisher

Yesterday would have been the 61st birthday of actress, writer and mental health advocate Carrie Fisher.

Originally known to audiences as Princess Leia Organa from the Star Wars films, she was the daughter of the late singer Eddie Fisher and his first wife, actor/singer, the late Debbie Reynolds.

I could write about what her legacy is to the millions of Star Wars fans around the world and to the millions who are suffering from mental illness, but that’s been done. I want to remember as a woman who was not afraid to call out the bullshit, especially in Hollywood. Since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke two weeks ago, the floodgates of women who were sexually assaulted, not just by Weinstein, but other men in Hollywood have come forward. One of these men assaulted a friend of hers and Carrie responded as only she could.

In honor of Carrie, I give you Star Wars Rap Battle: Han Solo vs Princess Leia.

Happy Birthday, Carrie. You are gone, but never forgotten.

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The Last Jedi Trailer

The official trailer for The Last Jedi has come finally been released. I got very excited when I saw the trailer, but as usual, Lucasfilm is not surprisingly cagey with the details.

The only thing I know that I am more that stoked and I will definitely be needing a box of Kleenex for the rumored sendoff for Carrie Fisher.

BTW, the duel between Finn and Captain Phasma looks amazing.

December is coming quickly. 🙂

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