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Dec 27 2016

May Carrie Fisher's Brilliance Be With You

Instant gratification takes too long."

Meryl Streep popularized that brilliant one-liner in the essential showbiz comedyPostcards from the Edge(1990)but the line pre-dates the film,having emerged from the actress/writer Carrie Fisher's sharp pen (or was it tongue?) some time earlier.The line is so good it ended up on t-shirts.Fisher's best lines in print (multiple books,my personal favorite being "Surrender the Pink") or on the screen (Postcards from the Edgeplus much script-doctoring) often sound exactly like things she may have uttered spontaneously in real lifefirstwith that unmistakably frank,darting,and mischievous wit.The showbiz icon passed away this morning after a heart attack aboard a plane this past Friday but her work and her influence will live on.

The irony of her delicious and beloved quip above isn't hard to miss...

For all of Carrie Fisher's bold alchemizing of the insatiable now of drug addiction and mental illness into comedy,her greatest gift to the world and to popular culture was in the long game: her endurance,her recovery,and her embrace of her full self as an aging woman.She'd play the little Hollywood games and banal chatter to promote the revival of theStar Warsfranchises (this moment discussing weight loss is just sublimely Carrie),but never without broad gestural side-eye and bracing  'isn't this stupid?' honesty.

Like most little kids from my generation I first fell in love with Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia Organa in theStar Warsmovies.That Leia-centric fandom peaked with the gold bikini (plastered all over my bedroom wall in the house I grew up in  (with a little Luke Skywalker on the side - crushing on both twins is not required but wise) but sometimes,looking around the internet,I fear that nobody else grew out of their Leia fetishization.If that's all Carrie Fisher remained to them,they only hurt themselves,missing out on countless endearing and sometimes brilliant contributions to culture.

After falling for Leia,I personally went backwards discovering her perfect foul-mouthed breakthrough inShampooopposite Warren Beatty and even further back to learning more about Debbie Reynolds's movies.Carrie often pointed the way there,too,always by her mother's side in the enddespite their bickering and making Debbie's own story,Carrie's "origin story"after all,into great comedy as in herWishful Drinkingstage show).

wishful drinking - Carrie's one woman show

Chief among Fisher's triumphs wasPostcards from the Edge(1990),her absolutely essential book/movie/autobiographical exorcism of showbiz demons.WithPostcardsas with her wonderful mental health advocacy,Carrie Fisher was always turning her personal pain into either audience pleasure...or actual lifelines for those with similar ailments.

That's a gift that really can't be overvalued since it's so rare.The more common human impulse is of course to lash out,misery loving company most of all.But that's for lesser mortals,and Carrie Fisher was a true great offscreen whether fighting to destigmatize mental illness,or puncturing the patriarchy with her grey haired matronly sassiness in her final years as a global celebrity.

Meryl Streep & Shirley Maclaine with the people they sorta played in "Postcards,"Debbie Reynolds & Carrie Fisher

Her onscreen career outside of General Leia (and what a fitting promotion that was inA Force Awakens) was never quite as radically brilliant as her offscreen wit and humanity,but it,too,had significant peaks entirely outside of those that happened in that galaxy far far away.For your viewing pleasure...and we do very much mean pleasure...please make time for her pushy "April"inHannah and Her Sisters(1986),her wisecracking married bestie inWhen Harry Met Sally(1989) and that horny casting director ofSoapdish(1990).

Related Articles
Why I Love Carrie Fisher- by Kyle Stevens,the author of Mike Nichols
Twins: Luke & Leia- another personal story of Nathaniel's fandom

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Reader Comments (14)

Of all the deaths this year this one has struck me the most.Just devastating.

December 27,2016 | Unregistered CommenterAdam Lewis

She will be missed.She's not just a cultural icon but also one hell of a funny woman.Wishful Drinkingis just fucking hilarious.I wanna know who is the Sith lord that has been killing all of these good people right now because I want to find that motherfucker.

December 27,2016 | Unregistered CommenterSteven

I will never forget her roladex of men in When Harry Met Sally.

December 27,2016 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordon

I knew her Princess Leia persona of course,how can anyone not?,but not being much for sci-fi I've seen each film only once.

A wonderfully spiky woman,like her mother she could be bowed but not broken.My heart goes out to her entire family but especially Debbie.She's an indomitable woman but I know she hasn't been well and now this blow.

I'm much more familiar with Carrie's other screen work,personal appearances and her writing.I LOVE her in Soapdish"An actress,how nice for you...I'm Betsy Faye Sharon and I'm a bitch."

December 27,2016 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

Oh I forgot the line "she doesn't have a problem with chins"from WHMS.

December 27,2016 | Unregistered CommenterMARKGORDONUK

Remembering Carrie Fisher: More Than Just Leia


December 27,2016 | Unregistered CommenterJeff

She will be missed.

If anyone else is attempting impromptu Fisher screenings,I found that the Paramount Youtube channel has the 1988 Agatha Christie adaptation "Appointment with Death",co-starring Carrie Fisher,Lauren Bacall,Piper Laurie,and Hayley Mills.How's that for a line-up?https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdkFs9ylJzg

December 27,2016 | Unregistered CommenterDave S.

Rolling Stone reposted the Q&A she did with Madonna circa Truth or Date...and it is AMAZING.Must read.

December 27,2016 | Unregistered CommenterBia

Rest In Peace,Carrie.Thank you for everything!
Am still crying,and just today I'm going to see Rogue One..

December 27,2016 | Unregistered CommenterCraver

Tonight I will be watching "Postcards from the Edge"with the commentary track by Carrie Fisher.Hearing her wisecracks about her own script is the funniest & best way for me to honour this wonderful woman.I really hate it when when lose funny and honest woman in Hollywood,there are so few and they matter a great deal.

December 27,2016 | Unregistered CommenterLadyEdith

So sad.She was endlessly funny and honest.Postcards is such a great movie and I love the scene at the end with Streep and Gene Hackman.I saw Rogue One today (basically porn for Star Wars fans,with endless battle scenes),and I was happy to see her face briefly at the end,even if digitized.She was flawed like all of us,but a great writer and an excellent humorist.She will be missed.

December 27,2016 | Unregistered CommenterTom Ford

2016 couldn't end on a worse note!Fingers x,pls no more casualty!

RIP,the royal Bunned One,yo wit n humor will live on!

December 27,2016 | Unregistered CommenterClaran

"Surrender The Pink"could have become a good movie,I wonder why it didn't happen,especially considered "Postcards from the Edge"success

December 28,2016 | Unregistered CommenterMirko

It is nearly 2 months later and I still cannot get over the fact that she is no longer with us.She transcended a generation all-the-while leading a double life of drug addiction.Although she is gone,she will not be forgotten.

February 15,2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoel

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