Wasn’t intending to check in today, this being a vacation week of sorts, but. Well.

I know we’re supposed to say “2016, man” as if this year was particularly cruel. Because celebrities died. But we didn’t lose people we knew, in these instances; we lost people we recognized, people whose talents we appreciated, people who had come to symbolize certain things for us, certain times, certain phases. As long as they were alive, those old times were alive as well. It’s the curious timeless state of modern culture - nothing goes away, everything is not only still around but quite possibly digitally remastered so it’s better, and available whenever we want it. There was a day when “Star Wars” left the theater and it didn’t come back for a long time and there wasn’t any way to watch it. If you felt like seeing Princess Leia give instructions to R2D2 in the corridor before the droids blasted off to Tatooine, you couldn’t load some storage device and watch. It wasn’t available anymore.

Now it’s all available. When a celebrity dies it’s as if a distant friend died - someone in another town you haven’t seen in a while, but you could FaceTime or Skype if you wanted to.

I had one thought I almost shared on Twitter, but I yanked the reins because celebrity-death-twitter is the worst. It was this: without Fisher’s portrayal of Leia, there would have been no Ellen Ripley. One of the reasons I didn’t make the tweet was b/c duh, prolly not, but my point as this: it wasn’t the character that us sit up and pay attention, it was Fisher’s acting. She brought an individual take on the dull rote Lucas words - smart, sarcastic, impatient. The strength was in the performance, not the lines on the page.

So I see this somewhere:


Y’know, okay. But the Seventies weren’t the Fifties, as much as some people would like them to be, inasmuch as anything that’s “the Fifties” is the bad old days where everything was rotten until everyone got all woke ’n’ stuff in 2011. “One Day at a Time” and “Alice” were not sitcoms about women who were stoned every time they went out in public without a husband.

Fisher’s Princess Leia did not invent an archetype and change the way we would see women in sci-fi; she manifested something the geeks and nerds had wanted to see. Now, you can call them out for being slobbering Cheeto-fingered dorks whose fantasy objects were just as objectified and unrealistic as the hapless maidens of 40s pulp sci-fi, but it was an improvement, and nothing ever gets perfect right away.

To be honest, I never found Leia to be as interesting in the other movies as she was in the first, with the exception of - well, you know. The more important she got, the less spunky she seemed; the more authority she got, the less she seemed like the rebel, the outsider who appealed to audiences in the first movie.

And here’s the thing about the third movie with the iconic (sorry) metal bikini: she looks fantastic, but it’s only sensual when divorced from its context. Think about it. She's in this cave-room which just had to smell horrible. She’s sitting by this triangular pile of avarice. There’s a Muppet bird laughing. Mark Hamill is wearing a hood and acting solemn like he’s Obi Ben-alac Guinness, which he clearly is not. The outfit is a humiliation, and as sexy as it was in the abstract, which was very, the situation was an ardor-dampener of the highest magnitude.

I’m just saying that if you had told someone who had just left the first screening of “Star Wars” how they wanted to see Princess Leia in the future, “a revealing outfit” would rank high in the list of responses, but “being scantily clad while choking a triangular lizard with a chain in a way that wasn’t convincing, but would be accepted at the time because it had been several years since the last installment and we were all leaning into it” would not have been our first choice.

You didn’t get the impression that she would have worn something like that of her own volition. By the third movie she had turned into someone who was checking manifests and consulting with Akbar about logistics and tactics. She started as a heartthrob and ended up Your Sister - but that’s hardly Fisher’s fault. The fact that Leia wasn’t more like the actress who played her is another ding against Lucas. He captured lightning in a bottle, and spent the rest of his career studying the properties of glass instead of the quirks of the heavens.


Another day-brightening anecdote:


Lucky break for Fred! As newspapers from the time reveal, he was shot by Eva Martinez, so who knows what was going on.

An ad from the next page: your nose is in need of . . . corrrrection.

In other ads the address is different - always the Anita building, but a different address, which suggests the ads were keyed.

That was all you needed to put on the envelope? The Anita Building? And they'd just . . know?




Please let this be done

Good news! It is! I've been playing blurry tiresome Western serials to make the next one seem much more impressive. And it will be! I promise.

If you remember the last cliffhanger, "Red" turned out the lights and fired his gun into to the dark. Big suspenseful thing. How did that work?


Expectations that the room would be full of bloody dead guys were solely dashed. Well, the rest of the episode is more riding and palaver and schemes and nonsense. The Swarthy French-Accented Villain gets plugged and dies grimacing. Red bursts into the room where the crooks have assembled, because they've already done the explosion, the fall off the cliff, the landslide, and the stampede, they've run out of Western Cliffhangers. So:


It's always Episode Two, Leap for Life. I just love that.

<karnacvoice> I hold in my hand . . . the last episode. </karnacvoice>

Will "Red" defeat Breen? Sure. He realizes that his victory makes him "The Mayor of Sundog," which fits because the serial is based on "The Redhead of Sundog," a novel by pulp writer W. C. Tuttle. Then he has to marry his Best Gal, because all the wild heroes must be roped by domesticity and pulled away from the carefree lives they led with their Best Pal Sidekick. No one seems happy about it, even though there's comic relief - and the degraded state of the edit at the end just seems to fit this whole thing.


Again, it's fine if you're 12 and it's 1934. I'm pretty sure neither condition applies.

Next? SATAN.

A few covers to wind up the year. Wonder what tomorrow will bring?

No, seriously, I do; haven't planned anything. I was intending to take the week out but we all know how well that geos.



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