Tuesday, December 27, 2016

I Don't Wanna Be Writing This

As everyone mourns their Princess, I mourn the writer, the brain and the brilliant person who people knew as Carrie Fisher. She was, to me, a very special person. I had a super hard time writing this entry because I am still not over having lost George Michael. This was just as bad as when Rickman followed Bowie this January.

Every time someone dared to attack her because of who she was in the past I got so pissed... because the slave outfit isn't who she was. She struggled with drugs because she had too much pressure put onto her, and I understand that. Have you seen Disney channel actors? People who are exposed to fame at a young age can come up with depression and substance abuse. And she never hid that she made mistakes, she never pretended that her past cannot be looked up by anyone. She never pretended to be a role model, but owning up to one's mistakes is tough. And that was not the only thing of course, Fisher was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which she talked about openly. She was one of the first and only who tried to emphasize how the brain is just an organ, like any other. Organs can get defective. Organs can stop working properly. Organs fail.

“Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow.”

She was, above all, a wonderful writer. She had contributed to several of the best scripts out there and she did many anonymously. She doctored and had helped the first version of scripts like Milk Money, The River Wild, Love Affair, The Mirror Has Two Faces, Kate & Leopold, So I Married an Axe Murderer and Sister Act. I remember when I saw her on 30 Rock after so many years and it was my favorite episode! I laughed so hard at all of her jokes and it left me wanting more. I grew up on Drop Dead Fred, and I will never forget her in The Blues Brothers. Not to mention Soapdish, and When Harry Met Sally..., that I only saw recently and yes... she was the only person who we'll always think of as Princess Leia Organa, sorry, General.

“The father who flipped out about it, ‘What am I going to tell my kid about why she’s in that outfit?’ Tell them that a giant slug captured me and forced me to wear that stupid outfit, and then I killed him because I didn’t like it. And then I took it off. Backstage.” —On the rumored ban on Princess Leia bikini merchandise.

I am happy that the Star Wars universe will live on because it is something I will make my children watch too! But the movie that I will always think of first will Postcards From The Edge, written by her, based on a semi-autobiographical book by her. When Meryl Streep accepted her AFI award Fisher gave a speech about what a good job she had done playing the main character, so much so that her family wished she was Meryl Streep! She was hilarious, always honest and fearless! She spoke her mind and not many people do that in Hollywood, be honest, there are very few of them. She came back from where many never recover from. She used her brain and not her looks and people hired her for that. She will be missed incredibly by many and that alone makes me smile.

I just watched her appear on 8 Out of 10 Cats in this year's Christmas special. She was the funniest and my sister and I watched it on Christmas, because we were happy that there was news of her wellbeing. I am so tired, this year? I mean... every time I managed to get over or somewhat emotionally recover from a death this year, another one followed. I understand that this is life, that this is also part of life, but I don't want it to be. I'm concerned that this year was just the prelude to something much worse... hopefully not, but it did make for a pretty shitty holiday season.

"[on the sale of Lucasfilm to Disney] I'm now a Disney Princess!"

Remember her, not for the roles she played, but the work she has done and the battles she fought and won. She even beat the heart attack, but it left her weak. Even in the end, she went out fighting. Remember that. She will always be my role model. I will miss you tremendously, Ms. Fisher.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Forced to Say Goodbye to George Michael

"I still believe that music is one of the greatest gifts that God gave to man."

I was sitting at an Irish Pub in the heart of Rome, with a friend and on the television one of the many music channels was on and I heard a song. I got home and searched for that song for days until I finally found it. It stuck with me for some reason and it was only years later when I noticed the lyrics. There was something in me I was still too young to understand. And the lyrics, well... they helped me understand who I really am.

That wasn't the first time I heard George Michael, of course. Actually, our story goes back to when I was about 4 or 5. We had a small electric piano at home and each time you pressed the "demo" button a midi song would start playing and it was loud and I pressed that button at least three hundred times a day. It wasn't until I was in my teens that I realized it was Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go by Wham!. I can tell you that my whole family hated that song for quite some time because of me!

George Michael was... he fought long and hard to be who he really was: a born performer, a man who was out and proud, who managed to keep his fame and the love of music from his start back in the 80s all the way to today. He had a unique voice and he used that for good. And when he was caught red-handed for doing something wrong? He owned up to his mistakes. A whole world had already and will always sing his Christmas classic and now each Christmas we will remember you too, me personally sadly and with much ache in my heart, but with love.

"I do love Christmas. I always have loved it, ever since I was a child. When I was young both my parents used to work so hard and they always seemed quite stressed to me. But at Christmas everyone would calm down and be nice to each other for a few days, and that used to make me feel very safe. It's Frank Sinatra who reminds me of Christmas. During the school holidays, when I was a kid, I used to work behind the bar of my dad's restaurant in Edgware [North London], and he'd always play Sinatra records for the customers. So that association is very strong for me. Why doesn't it snow at the right time anymore, like it did in the '60s? If it could snow on Christmas Eve or something that would be perfect."

I am crying because I hate writing these. I decided right now to take time to write about the people I love before I am forced to do it... this way it is just heartbreaking. I noticed this year that my favorite artists all come from the UK... this shitty started with us losing a wonderful voice and I thought it cannot get any worse and somehow it did. I have, in the background, playing Freedom, Faith, Outside and Amazing on repeat. One More Try always makes me cry... it is a story too close to my heart and I really don't think I can handle Careless Whisper right now. So I sit here, listening to Easier Affair, religiously, it's my mantra and my savior sings to me about not letting the haters get to me, about how we all deserve love and shouldn't let anyone put us down. 

"I just hope that I'll stay around musically for as long as I can. I'd love to think that I will still be satisfying myself and other people as a musician until the day I die."

You will be missed and your music will live on within me until I too die. Thank you for the songs you gave us, the path you walked and the fights you fought will not be in vain! Never stop singing, even up there in the sky.

"And I'm dancing with the freaks now
I'm havin', I'm havin' so much fun!"

Saturday, December 24, 2016

What's Next On My List? Love The Coopers

Well, I had no Christmas spirit this year... I still forced it onto me so that when it did come, those bits and pieces of memories of how I should feel around the holiday, I was able to embrace it. And one movie more than the others helped me this year and despite it having a bad rating on imdb, which I think is utterly stupid, I would like to tell you all about it in light of the holiday season!

A big family is about to come around for Christmas Eve dinner, but all of them have to run a lot of errands before getting there, and many don't finish in time... the parents are about to get divorced, their daughter brings a soldier home to pose as her boyfriend, their son is looking for a job after his separation, and the mother's sister gets arrested.

This movie is everything I love about Christmas: a winter wonderland, a caring family, Christmas trees everywhere and a dog! A cute little puppy! There are hundreds, truly hundreds of Christmas movies out there - they keep making them -, most of the time it is just new versions of classics like A Christmas Carol or It's a Wonderful Life, and some have great twists, but otherwise the stories keep repeating themselves. The key is to have likable characters and stories that work separately. And they really do! This is not another mixture of famous people with no plot and no story arcs! When the stories come together and you realize how everyone thinks that the worst part of them is someone else's fault and not their own and they are faced with their mistakes, however, with family around they are able to mend those mistakes and see past their faults.
I can relate to that because I always have the need within me to finish and conclude everything I start before Christmas of the given year. I also feel like running away sometimes. I have also felt the need to be the best person I can be for my parents and my family and sometimes I fell short. But somehow... someway, it does not matter on Christmas Eve. When we are sitting around the tree, when we open the things we got for each other, after dinner, before second dinner, with gingerbread and tea around us... nothing matters anymore. Maybe that is why it is the season of love... you will fight, because family fights, you might be alone because 2016 sucked big time or you might be with the one you love more than anyone else right now. Who knows? But you are smiling and that is what matters.
The conflicts in the movie are relatable and with so many characters anyone can find something they have experienced themselves or wish to have. There is no unnecessary death just to make you weep, and when it comes to the jokes, it does not forget to add them at the right time and not just the beginning (the way romantic comedies do nowadays...). When you looking at all the characters, the movie does not force its message onto you. You might be alone, and that is OK. You might long to be with someone, and that is fine too. You might wish for the old customs of your family or to make new ones and you'll see that there is a place for all of it under the tree. And the snow outside makes it pure!

I recommend this movie to everyone. I don't get the rating and it has become a quick favorite of mine and I can't wait to rewatch it again next year! You can barely go wrong with Diane Keaton and John Goodman, so do check it out when you get a chance!


Until the next item on my list, best to you all!

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Rags (voice) - Steve Martin
Charlotte - Diane Keaton
Hank - Ed Helms
Bucky - Alan Arkin
Emma - Marisa Tomei
Eleanor - Olivia Wilde
Joe - Jake Lacy