Book Review: The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

the-princess-diaristA new book review today! This time I am taking on the latest (and last) book by Carrie Fisher, The Princess Diarist. A fact that still bums me out.

You can check out my other book reviews (both for WKAR’s Current State and this website) here.

If you would like to check out The Princess Diarist for yourself, you can find it on amazon.com here.

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

I wish I could say that the new book The Princess Diarist is the one that Star Wars fans have been begging for. A real point-by-point behind the scenes story of the making of the original Star Wars trilogy from the perspective of one the members of the original trio. The force would be strong with such a book.

Star WarsI wish I could say that this was even a simple eye witness account of the creative process of creating an entertainment landmark. Watching George Lucas from the sidelines, seeing how the magic got done. An important book, a powerful book. A book that makes us see everything on the screen (and probably memorized) with new eyes.

Sadly, The Princess Diarist, the last book by Carrie Fisher is neither book. This is instead a book about becoming a phenomenal, dealing with it, dealing with it again (this time without drugs and alcohol), and controlling yourself from criticizing the fans in front of you (while taking all of their money). If you are hoping for insights around each of the films, including the latest two, forget it. Continue reading

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Rewatching E.T. as an Adult

ETYou don’t expect movies to change.

Let me correct that, you don’t expect movies to change unless they are made by George Lucas. Then the rules are thrown out the door. I didn’t even buy the last version of the original Star Wars trilogy. Why? I didn’t like that he changed Obi-Wan’s scream to scare off the sandpeople and added in Darth Vader shouting “No!” during the end of Return of the Jedi. Didn’t we have enough of Vader shouting “No!”? At least he didn’t add more scenes of him walking around like Frankenstein’s monster.

I’m sorry, I had a point here when I started.

The fact is most movies are locked in. So you assume the experience will stay the same with each viewing. For example, I can tell you which parts in To Kill a Mockingbird and Casablanca I will cry during each time (each bloody time), and I can tell you which moments of Monty Python and the Holy Grail always make me laugh… because I am a very silly and predictable man.

So when I decided to watch E.T. for the first time since I was a kid, showing it to my own children, there was a lot I was assuming going in.

Elliott, the alien, some scary grownups, flying bikes, Drew Barrymore, classic Spielberg- got it.

The shock for me was how much different the experience was as a grownup watching the film. I’m not saying I forgot the movie. No, I’m pretty sure I saw it four or five times in the theater (I was the target audience then), the scenes I remembered were all there. It was just different. And I walked away actually loving the film more now than I did then.

Here are three reasons it really hit me and I recommend you check it out.  Continue reading

Book Review: Star Wars Aftermath by Chuck Wendig

Star Wars Aftermath

Book Review: Star Wars Aftermath by Chuck Wendig

A lot of people are going to be disappointed in this book.

Some are going to hate the fact how little it sets up the next movie, answers questions we have, tells us what happened to our favorite characters in our favorite galaxy.

Others are going to be bothered by how this book is made for fans, not the everyday, casual reader. Alien names are thrown around with abandonment, assuming the readers know what they look like. Minor characters from the movies walk in and out of scenes as if we should know who they are. It is not a friendly book and will not draw new readers to future books. Even I, a lifetime fan of Star Wars, would probably need convincing before picking up another Star Wars novel.

For me though my biggest disappointment was with the writing. The author lists himself as a screenplay writer and that is obvious since it feels like a screenplay in many ways. Simple. Straight to the point. Dry. There is no literary art here, no sweeping moment of prose that will take you away. Nothing that embraces what makes books and literature a unique medium for telling a story. Honestly, I don’t think I could pick out any of the characters in a police lineup if I had to.

Then there are the “cute” moments in the book. The slight nod to Game of Thrones (the “Shooty” end of a blaster), the dialogue that sounds a little too contemporary as compared to from a galaxy far, far away. With such great writing done for The Clone Wars and Rebels TV shows, it is sad they couldn’t have found one of those writers to take it on. But you know with the love of Star Wars now, imagine if they could have gotten a real author to do it? The mind boggles at the idea. I cannot imagine any author from Generation X and younger saying no to the possibility. Why not try that in the future Disney? (Of course, I would rather write an Indiana Jones adventure, but that is just me.)

In the end, everyone will be disappointed… well, everyone probably but the author, his agent, and Disney’s pocketbook.

My Indiana Jones Obsession

TempleThis last weekend marked the 30th anniversary of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. (Wow, that makes me feel old!) When it first came out, I was traumatized. That is not a joke. I had to be pulled out of the theater by my uncle. I went back in a few minutes later, and who can blame a young kid for needing a breath of fresh air. There was a lot of evil going on!

Honestly, looking back though I blame my uncle and aunt now more than the movie. I was not 13 and clearly the poster said PG-13. Whatever the case, I walked away from that film a big Indiana Jones fan, and I would consider myself more in his nerd camp than Doctor Who or Star Wars or anything else I ramble about on this site.

I have the hats, I have the ringtone of the theme, and I use quotes from Raiders all of the time (not that people really know that I do it). For a long time, I’ve dreamed of writing an Indiana Jones script. Seriously, I have piles of ideas. One stack (or file on the computer) is related to Harrison Ford still being Indy and older, the other is if we get to go back and have a younger Indy fight Nazis (and really, shouldn’t the character continue like a Bond? Technically there has been five actors to play the part. It’s hasn’t all been Harrison).

Below are three articles I have written where Indy has made an appearance. Actually, it has been a lot (A LOT) more, but I thought I would keep to just three for the time being. Enjoy!

Losing the Fedora: Is Indiana Jones Done?It looks like Indy might not be done! Rumor has it that something is in the works for the man in the fedora. This post is still a fun read since it breaks down a lot of my own experiences with the archeologist.

If I Could Wear a Halloween Costume. Not surprising, Indy is part of this discussion.

Losing Raiders. Back in 2010, I grieved when I became older than Indy was in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Let’s return to those happier (and younger) days.

Further Proof of My Nerdom

Only a nerd makes a picture like this to share...In my post on Wednesday I asked the ultimate question, “Okay, am I a nerd?” I received quite a response from readers via Twitter and in comments; and the overwhelming response was…

Yes… Yes, I am a nerd.

Okay, fine.  So be it!

And after a further review of my site over the last year, it is embarrassingly obvious that my readers had caught something before I did. My nerdom has been on display for quite some time here on the site. More than on display, it has been putting on a provocative dance! (Think green skin and Star Trek.)

Here are links to some of my other “nerd” editorials that I didn’t reference in my last post, from movies to TV (I hope you enjoy them): Continue reading

Wookies, Princesses, and the Return of the Force: My Life With Star Wars

Milleniun FalconEpisode I

THE NEW DISCOVERY

Star Wars was my childhood and my childhood was Star Wars.

To know me as a child was to know my love of the galaxy far, far away.

One of my first memories (if not the very first) was of seeing the first Star Wars (Oh hell, the fourth one) in a theater. I was three and R2-D2 was on the screen. This image and moment is burned onto my retinas to the point I can almost touch it. R2 is in the Death Star and the heads of all of the other filmgoers line the bottom of the screen (and being little, they take up more then one might imagine).

My parents claim as I left the theater I could not stop talking about it, even going so far as to debate the film with some college students standing nearby us; listing in my opinion what was the best parts of the film (considering who I am as an adult, this is not at all surprising). Continue reading

Indy this weekend…

This weekend, Raiders of the Lost Ark opens for a limited run on IMAX… Now this is a movie I have seen over a dozen times in my life, but on a big screen like that it is tempting again.

So very, very tempting.

The trick is just working this out with the schedule. I have to take my son to a birthday party on Sunday (it is at a Martial Arts studio which with a bunch of five-year olds sounds like a disaster just waiting to happen), and there are groceries and the typical errands around the house. And that is not including the writing and editing I need to do around Chapter 8 of my book (I’m worried I might be getting behind, and it was so nice to be a week ahead). And, let’s be honest, with two very little kids you are putting a burden on the partner when you leave them with the kiddies while you do something selfish like this. But it is Indy… on IMAX…

I hear the theme song everywhere I go… Okay, that might be because I have the new whip sound app on my iPhone. It’s freaking awesome!

The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard

While my first real memory is seeing R2-D2 on the big screen, the first time I felt real fear in a movie theater belongs to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

I was seven, and for some unexplained reason my relatives thought I was the perfect age for seeing the Temple of Doom on opening day, the first PG-13 movie. I chalk it up to a very selfish decision on their part personally; my parents were not thrilled that they did this by the way and complained to them later. As everyone on the planet knows, the Temple of Doom is a dark movie that only seems to get darker with each step it takes into those underground caverns.

For most of the film, my seven-year old frame was on the edge of my seat, somewhere emotionally between terror and excitement; I wanted to see what would happen…

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The Nat King Cole Inside My Head

I am obsessed with The Beatles, I adore Belle and Sebastian, I’ve seen They Might Be Giants five times in concert, and I can’t stop playing the new Fiona Apple CD… but Nat King Cole is the musical comfort food for my soul.

I have read a few biographies about him over the years, and as amazing of a life he had, it’s always hard for me to connect him to his voice. Frankly, his voice is so engrained into my own life, it is hard to think that it once even belonged to someone else, as strangely as that sounds. I don’t feel his struggles against racism in his career and his growth from jazz pianist to just a singer fronting a band in a studio, lost in the business of just singing singles hoping for a hit, when I listen to his music.

I hear my own life in his voice, in his performing, making each recording I adore something akin to a special gift. Continue reading

Losing the Fedora: Is Indiana Jones done?

While my first real memory is seeing R2-D2 on the big screen, the first time I felt real fear in a movie theater belongs to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

I was seven, and for some unexplained reason my relatives thought I was the perfect age for seeing the Temple of Doom on opening day, the first PG-13 movie. I chalk it up to a very selfish decision on their part personally; my parents were not thrilled that they did this by the way and complained to them later. As everyone on the planet knows, the Temple of Doom is a dark movie that only seems to get darker with each step it takes into those underground caverns.

For most of the film, my seven-year old frame was on the edge of my seat, somewhere emotionally between terror and excitement; I wanted to see what would happen, fighting back the urge to run and hide.

It was the heart scene that finally got me. I screamed like a banshee and my uncle had to carry me out. Instead of comforting me, he put me down on the ground, coldly told me to take a breath and then turned to the door to watch the film through the circular window in it. I vividly remember staring at his back, trying to count my breaths, and wondering what he was seeing through that window; it was the wonder of that window that is I remember most from that day. Continue reading

Star Wars: One Fan’s Remembrances

Today, Stars Wars (or as some like to say A New Hope), turns 35… which means officially I am old.

To celebrate this cultural milestone (and personal success for seeing this day. Woohoo! Survival!), I thought I would share excerpts and links from two editorials I wrote about Star Wars over the last few months. 

The first one was my reaction to the blu-ray release of the series. To say, I was a little annoyed that the original trilogy without Lucas’ changes is not included is put it mildly (Han shoots first!). Still I decided to share my own personal memories around each of the films. It is called “Goodbye to a Galaxy Far, Far Away.” It can be found on GreenSpotBlue.com here. Here is the beginning:

Soon the Complete Star Wars Saga will be hitting on blu-ray, and for a member of Generation X, it can’t help but make me stop and take pause over this creation and its influence. For my generation, this is our Beatles, this is our man on the moon, this is our disco. We wear the t-shirts, we recite the lines at random times:  Continue reading