Dearly Departed: Carrie Fisher, 1956-2016


“There is no point at which you can say, ‘Well, I’m successful now. I might as well take a nap.’”

-Carrie Fisher, Wishful Drinking

Of all the great talents we have lost this year, this loss hits especially hard. I shudder to think of what more might be in store in these last four days of this watershed year.

Why this hits hard: when you’re an adult, yet you still dress up as Princess Leia once a year, that means the roles played by Carrie Fisher have transcended run-of-the-mill stardom in your life.

But it’s not just her integral part in the whole Star Wars galaxy. I’ve admired Carrie Fisher the writer for decades now. I remember reading all the promotional material around Postcards from the Edge when I was in college. She published the book during my first year, and the movie came out toward the end of my time in school. I took note of both her honesty and fearlessness.

It was also around that time that I discovered Carrie Fisher was a much-sought-after script doctor. Back then, I’m not sure I knew that such a vocation even existed. I wish I could say I have since become a script doctor or ghostwriter of some renown, but I would not be emulating Carrie Fisher’s honesty if I did. But the point is that I still have that aspiration, due, in large part, to her.

And of all the work she’s done in movies, either on the screen or as a writer, there is one tiny cameo role that stands out in my memory. It’s in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. I think Carrie Fisher has less than two minutes of screen time. But the context, the comedic timing, the dialogue is all so pitch perfect; it’s hard to forget.

I’ll leave you with one last quote attributed to Carrie Fisher. I don’t know where it’s from:

I don’t want my life to imitate art, I want my life to be art.

I hope she realized before the end that she managed to accomplish this—in funny, fiery, and downright heroic fashion.

Rogue One


So, I saw Rogue One on Friday. And I’ll try to keep what I’m about to write spoiler free. Since it seems I’m inherently unable to write a straight-up review anyway, that shouldn’t be too hard.

I feel kind of bad that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hasn’t received the same level of hype as Star Wars: The Force Awakens. (Though, to be sure, the amount of hype out there is more than sufficient.) Because I thought it was a really good movie, possibly a notch above last year’s offering. I enjoyed Rogue One more than The Force Awakens.

All of what I’m about to write has been touted before, so I don’t think I’m spoiling anything: Rogue One is meant as a stand-alone story. There’s no crawl at the beginning, signaling it’s not part of the (now) seven-episode Star Wars story arc. Which I guess is why it’s not getting the same amount of hype as Episode Seven, or (I can only imagine) what next year’s Episode Eight will get.

A nice byproduct of the lessened hype: I didn’t need to implement the same level of planning as I did for The Force Awakens. Husband Tim and I prefer to watch the standard viewings—no IMAX or other vertigo-inducing formats for us. (Even though the IMAX poster is probably my favorite of all of them). So it was pretty easy to secure tickets for an early evening show, and we had our pick of seats in the theater.

Here, in no particular order, are the reasons I enjoyed Rogue One:

  • No cliffhangers. Unlike The Force Awakens, with everyone still wondering about Rey’s parentage, at the end of Rogue One, I was left satisfied that this story has concluded.
  • The director, Gareth Edwards, also directed 2014’s Godzilla.
  • Rogue One sufficiently explained something about the Death Star that had always bothered me.
  • Rogue One is a really good war movie, with the characters finding strength they didn’t know they had, making sacrifices, and doing a bunch of stuff for a greater cause than their own individual interests.
  • One of the first trailers for the movie led me to believe the filmmakers might try to make the lead character, Jyn Erso (played by Felicity Jones), a knock-off of Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games. Which would have been a shame, because there’s no need to borrow from another storyline—Star Wars has the architecture for great female characters. So I was relieved that I didn’t get that sense at all. I loved the character and Jones’ portrayal. My only comment is that I wouldn’t have minded seeing a few more female combatants in the Rogue One crew.
  • K-2SO. I’ll try to keep this brief. Hands-down my favorite droid in all of Star Wars. While I love R2-D2, and was just as captivated by BB-8’s cuteness as most everyone else, K-2SO is everything I love in a mechanical humanoid character. It’s almost as if Douglas Adams’s marvelous Marvin the Paranoid Android got reincarnated into a reprogrammed Imperial security droid.
  • K-2SO, part two. Alan Tudyk. A.k.a. Wash from Firefly. Alan Tudyk is K-2SO. I’m going to make a fool of myself geeking out over Alan Tudyk. So I’m going to stop here.

Anyway, if you like war movies, and Star Wars, go see Rogue One. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.