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.
The ultimate message of Stars Wars speaks of social justice, democracy, respecting diversity and freedom.
Unfortunately some d*ckheads are so blind that they fail to understand that message. These same d*ckheads also forced Kelly Marie Tran to leave Instagram. Ms. Tran who played Rose Tico in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, chose to delete the pictures on her account because of the online harassment she received.
I personally enjoyed The Last Jedi. Some fans may have not, but every fan is entitled to his or her individual perspective on the film. I don’t mind adult discussions about the films, but the line was crossed when Ms. Tran was verbally attacked because she is a woman and of Vietnamese descent.
This is not what Star Wars is about and I am sorry that she had to experience it.
In 1977, Star Wars hit theaters and forever changed the way films are made. Since then, Lucasfilm has tried to replicate the success of the original film with a hit or miss success rate.
Solo: A Star Wars Story premiered in theaters yesterday. Set 10 years before Episode 4, the franchise’s space pirate/bad boy, Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) is the focus of the film. Han is an orphan who has survived on the streets for as long as he can remember. He is cocky, full of it and has piloting skills that has saved his behind more than once. The only standard in his life is his relationship with Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke), his longtime girlfriend, who is arrested before they can escape from the authorities.
A few years later Han is working for Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson), a low-level member of the criminal underworld. While working for Beckett, Han meets Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) and has an unexpected reunion with Qi’ra.
On a scale of 1-10, 1 being the prequels and 10 being the original trilogy, I would rate Solo: A Star Wars Story 6 1/2 t0 7. It’s a decent film, however, I wouldn’t call it the greatest of the Star Wars films. While the pacing and the action is to be expected for a Star Wars film, I just was not as impressed with this movie as I was with Rogue One.
Do I recommend it? Maybe.
Solo: A Star Wars Story is presently in theaters.
Of all of the basic elements that make up a successful narrative, the most important one to my mind is the story question.
Today I started reading a book and by the beginning of the second chapter, I felt like I couldn’t go on. The writer had yet to ask the story question.
In a nutshell, the story question grinds down the narrative down to a sentence or two.
- Star Wars: Can a small band of rebels destroy an evil empire?
- Pride and Prejudice: Elizabeth Bennet must marry because she has a small inheritance and no brother to inherit directly from her father. But she will give into the pressure to marry or will she marry for love?
- Jane Eyre: Can an orphaned young woman remain true to herself and not change to please others?
But, even with a great story question, the key is to ask the story very question early in the story.
- Star Wars: The opening scene is that of the Empire’s warship closing on a ship they believe belongs to the rebellion.
- Pride and Prejudice: Elizabeth Bennet is the second oldest of five daughters in a family that is without a direct male heir. Her mother is crowing about their new neighbor, a young man who is single and reputed to be wealthy.
- Jane Eyre: Jane Eyre is an orphan, living with relations who abuse her. She is reading a book and trying to hide from her cousins who frequently mock and bully her.
In creating my own fiction and critiquing fiction by other writers, I have learned that the story question is the most important question that is not only asked by the writer, but by the reader. In my experience, if the question is not asked properly and early on, it is likely to be lost in the narrative. If it is lost in the narrative, the reader or audience may never find it and walk away.
That is the last thing any writer wants.
It takes a brave (or foolhardy, depending on your point of view) actor to step into the shoes of a character that is known and beloved the world over. Especially in a prequel or sequel.
The full trailer for Solo: A Star Wars Story was released on Sunday.
Alden Ehrenreich will be stepping into the very large shoes that Harrison Ford first made famous 41 years ago when Han Solo was introduced to audiences. Taking place 10 years before A New Hope, Han is still Han. Brash, cocky and still hell of a pilot, he gets entangled in the criminal underworld and goes on a journey that will lead him to the rebellion. His journey to the rebellion is incomplete without Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) and Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover).
As usual, Lucasfilm (and Disney by extension) gave fans just enough to get us excited without giving too much away. At this point, the film can go one of two ways. It can be like Rogue One and open the door to new characters/narratives within the Star Wars universe. Or, it can be like the prequels and basically suck.
Only time will tell. I can only hope and pray that the film lives up to the promises laid out in the trailer.
Yesterday, Lucasfilm teased us with the teaser trailer for Solo: A Star Wars Story. Today the full trailer was released.
Needless to say, I am very excited about this film. Han is such a dynamic force of a character. To see where he came from and how he became the man the audiences meet in the bar on Tatooine in A New Hope is very exciting.
Han would not be Han without Chewbacca (played by Peter Mayhew in the original film and played by Joonas Suotamo in this film) Lando Calrissian (played by Billy Dee Williams in the original trilogy and played by Donald Glover in this film). There are also new characters, Qi’Ra (played by Emilia Clarke) and Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson).
So far, based on the trailer, it looks to be a good film. I can only hope that the film lives up to the promise in the trailer.
Han Solo is one of the most recognizable characters in film history.
Played by Harrison Ford in four of the nine released Star Wars movies, Han Solo was the space cowboy who became a hero of the rebellion.
This summer, Solo: A Star Wars Story is slated to hit theaters. A prequel to A New Hope, the movie tells Han’s story before he joins the rebellion. Alden Ehrenreich will be stepping into the very big shoes that Ford created forty-one years ago.
While Lucasfilm is not releasing any details beyond what is in trailer (which is not unexpected), I can only hope that this film not only lives up to the legacy of the series, but also gives the audience new insight into one of our favorite heroes.
2017 was a good year for the publishing industry, at least from my perspective. Below are top ten books for 2017.
- The Genius Of Jane Austen: Jane Austen was a genius, this book explains why.
- Growing Up Fisher: Joely Fisher’s unconventional autobiography is a look into her very unique Hollywood family.
- What Happened: Hillary Clinton’s brutally honest reminiscence of the 2016 Presidential Election is one for the ages.
- 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.
- The Making Of Jane Austen: Jane Austen was not born a writer, she made herself into one.
- Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Leia, Princess of Alderaan: The book tells the story of Princess Leia two years before the events of A New Hope.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
This will be my last blog post for 2017. Wherever you are, have a safe and happy new year. See you in 2018.
Filed under Book Review, Books, Charlotte Bronte, Feminism, History, Jane Austen, Jane Eyre, Movies, Star Wars, Television, Writing
“Do. Or do not. There is no try.”-Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back
One of the more common signs of depression is how easy it is to stay home and do nothing.
The weather in New York City for the past few days has been frigid. Walking outside is akin to walking into an icebox. No amount of layers can protect against the freezing temperature.
I could have stayed in today after completing some minor errands. It would have been easy to say that the weather makes for an excuse for staying in.
But I knew I couldn’t stay home. I couldn’t let the depression win. Not today at least.
It took a lot for me to get out after completing my errands. More than I expected. But I did it. I know that my depression will never go away. But if I have the courage and strength to fight against it, then maybe one day, it will not have the stranglehold it does on my life.
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.