Kudos to Princess Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher, daughter of Debbie Reynolds as well as Paul Simon’s one-time wife, landed the role that defined her life at 20 years of age: Princess Leia of The Star Wars Saga. Ms. Fisher’s is not however a remarkable actor, but rather has The Force in her brave and honest ability to self reflect and share her thoughts with others. She wrote seven autobiographical books, beginning with Postcards from the Edge, much of it delving into the stark issues of addiction and mental illness.

Ms. Fisher was born rich and famous. She had absolutely everything – wealth, intelligence, physical beauty and opportunity – and became conceited and vain because of it, which is what makes her willingness to expose her weaknesses so impressive. Much of this is documented in Shelia Weller’s biography A Life on the Edge.

Am I vulnerable? Unfortunately, yes. I can do wrong better than anyone. (6) Ms. Fisher reflected on her life with blunt humor, a self-examination that was honest and self-deprecating. I wish that I could leave myself alone. I wish that I could finally feel that I punished myself enough, let myself off the hook, drag myself off the rack, where I am both the torturer and tortured. (322) She was unrelenting, to her final days. I’m not happy about being older, except what are the options? I’ve been through a lot, and I could go through more, but I hope I don’t have to. I’m not going to enjoy dying, but there’s not much prep for that. (335)

I have been very tired as of late. More than tired. Maybe it is the smell of the mask. Maybe that is what sets me off. Or the couple walking toward me, happily chatting away, their masks at their chins. Or maybe it’s just everyone bitching on social media and then posting a picture of a baby or dog. It’s all of that unrelenting bullshit. And then I read Carrie Fisher’s biography and thought, well, so what? This is the superficial world I live in, and if I want to do something about that, then get to it. (Yes, let’s.)

Singin’ in the Rain: Innocence in Technicolor

We went to see Singin’ in the Rain this morning at Film Forum and found the theatre packed with film-buff kids and parents alike – including Ethan Hawke and Philip Seymour Hoffman. We asked if this was a special event, a benefit perhaps, but it was just a screening for which we had just squeezed in. We settled into our second-row seats and cricked our necks for the opening short, a 1935 cartoon by Max Fleischer,  Dancing on the Moon.Dancing on the MoonI wondered what it was that made a 1952 musical such a draw in 2013. The song and dance is certainly something to marvel at – even if I wasn’t that fond of musicals – especially Donald O’Connor’s Make ’em Laugh and Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds’ amorous You Were Meant For Mesinging4It is also a surprisingly thoughtful film, a tongue-in-cheek expose of the artifice of the stars and executives of the Hollywood system – ironically mirroring the behind-the-scenes story of Singin’ in the Rain itself. singing2But most of all, the essence of the experience is in the underlying theme of integrity, celebrated in such wide-eyed innocence, where Hollywood stars drink milk at 1:30 in the morning, friends are always loyal and the worst of crimes is singing (and dancing) in the rain. singing1And, yes, it is hard to find things like this these days. I guess that’s what sells out a theater on a cold Sunday morning in 2013, especially to such a hip crowd.