Debbie Reynolds Dead at 84: A Life Well Lived

A young Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds

Debbie Reynolds an Oscar nominated star of the ’50’s and 60’s has died one day after her daughter Carrie Fisher died from a heart attack aged 60. Todd Fisher informed the press after Ms. Reynolds was admitted to hospital earlier on Wednesday, 28 December with breathing problems.

Reynolds, who started off her career as a major film star by impersonating  Betty Hutton, became America’s sweetheart after playing roles like Tammy, in Tammy and the Bachelor (which spawned a million selling single for Debbie Reynolds; “Tammy’s in Love”).

It was after appearing in the  1952 Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor film Singin’ in the Rain that Reynolds’ career really took off. She went on to make a number of hit films, including  The Unsinkable Molly Brown  before she turned to television.

Ms. Reynolds did not completely leave the cinema however. She voiced the spider in Charlotte’s Web in 1973. She worked steadily in television and did more voice-over work including the popular animated kid’s show, The Rugrats. (She voiced Lulu Pickles.)

Mary Frances Reynolds was born on April Fools Day in El Paso Texas in 1932. Throughout her long life and career, she married three times, one husband; her third,  squandered her money away and left her $3 million in debt. A massive amount that she paid off by performing at Las Vegas and Reno Nevada.

Debbie was nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal of Molly Brown in the 1964 film “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.” At the end of her career, she accrued 17 awards and a further 36 nominations. One of the awards received was the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in  2016.

Reynolds’ first husband, Eddie Fisher; father to Carrie and Todd, left her for Elizabeth Taylor in 1958 in a move that shocked the world. Carrie Fisher a product of that union died on 27 December age 60 after a heart attack.

Social media, already reeling from the death of an icon, is now trending on Twitter with #RIP Debbie and Carrie. The world has lost a legend and her iconic daughter. Both women who lived life to the fullest and were, in their own way, bigger than life itself.

Ironically, it was on a Debbie Reynolds TV movie that Carrie got her start in the business; Debbie Reynolds and the Sound of Children.  Both women were strong, witty and not backward in coming forward. The two shared a sometimes tempestuous relationship which Carrie wrote about in her semi-autobiographical novel Postcards From the Edge.

Todd Fisher, Debbie’s son, reported his mother’s death on Wednesday, 28 December.  Ms. Reynolds had been rushed to the hospital earlier in the day for breathing problems and suspected stroke.

Mr. Fisher said, in a statement, that his mother wanted to be with Carrie. Ms Reynolds is survived by her granddaughter Billie Lourd and her son Todd, a TV commercial director.

Debbie Reynolds has died suddenly after leading a life “well lived.” She will be remembered for a long and varied career that, like the Unsinkable Molly Brown, could not be held back or down. She was also known to a legion of “Star Wars” fans as Carrie Fisher‘s mother.

Scream Queens: Two Hour Finale – Kitchen Sink Time (Review)

Watching the two hour season finale of Scream Queens, where it was definitely “kitchen sink” time in terms of homages, nods and winks to the horror genre and plot twists, one thing became painfully clear. After glancing midway through the two episode ending at Facebook the real meaning of Billie Lourd’s earmuffs was revealed.

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Watching the two hour season finale of Scream Queens, where it was definitely “kitchen sink” time in terms of homages, nods and winks to the horror genre and plot twists, one thing became painfully clear.  After glancing midway through the two episode ending at Facebook the real meaning of Billie Lourd’s earmuffs was revealed.

The social media site showed that a character in the entire first season of Scream Queens; Chanel #3,  was in fact played by the real life daughter of “Princess Leia.” Billie Lourd is  Carrie Fisher’s offspring and obviously the earmuffs were there to parody ( Or honor?) the hairstyle that launched an attack on a Death Star…

Scream Queens is clever. That has been apparent since episode one.  But this clever?  The mind boggles.  Certainly each episode has a plethora of homages and moments that are intended to spoof the slasher genre from here to tomorrow, but the depths of these “hidden” moments are impressive.

Beyond the fact that this revelation resulted in a real face palm moment, although in my defense there was something about those earmuffs that was tantalizingly familiar over and above the fact that it made Lourd look ridiculously cute, this was proof positive that Ryan Murphy, Ian Brennan and Brad Falchuk were super geniuses. (Three points if you can guess where that phrase comes from…)

The combined episode finale, where Dorkus and The Final Girl(s)  were slapped together  could mean that FOX have opted not to bring back the series or that the network wanted to make room for Christmas programs.  Regardless of the reason, fans of the show were given a two hour treat where only commercials interrupted the fun.

Sadly, in the first episode it was “so long Pete,” after his character reveals that he was one of the killers. No more Matthew McConaughey impressions, that were so spot on, and Grace is spared by the Red Devil that leapt in to kill Pete.

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RIP Pete

*Spoiler alert*

Hester was the other killer. Of course she was, this became glaringly obvious when it was revealed that “gay” Boone was a twin. Dark-haired boy and dark haired girl made sense, in terms of viewer logic versus the show’s DNA results.

Still, the amount of “killers” in the show was pretty impressive and we are not talking about Gigi, Boone and Hester. Dean Munsch kills her ex (framing his “Mia Farrow” girlfriend) and Chanel Oberlin “accidentally” killed the cook (with a little help from Hester.).  Not to forget that Munsch, while not killing Hester and Boone’s mother, and Grace’s dads girlfriend,  did cover up the fact of her death.

Standout moments:

Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis) telling Hester that she knows that she is the real killer. The dean tells the murderer that she is going to turn her in. Hester counters with the above information and that she will turn in Munsch as payback. The two stand glaring at one another until Munsch smiles and agrees not to turn in Hester. Smiles all around and hands are shaken.

The juror angrily scratching out the “not guilty” verdict after Chanel Oberlin’s vitriolic rant against the jury of “hippos.”

Chanel Oberlin and Chanel #3 standing at Dorkus’ bedside discussing who she looked like after the acid incident and #3 triumphantly announcing that is as Toxic Avenger she was thinking of.

“Cujo dog-costume.”

Nickelback.

Exploding pizza guy.

The evil computer generated laugh before the pizza guy explodes.

There are many more, too many to include in one review that already needs to cover two episodes that FOX cobbled together for a finale.

Back to the plot, Emma Roberts apparently will never leave the Palmer Asylum although with a Red Devil in the building the chances of Chanel # 3 or 5 making it out are slim as well.

It is hard to spotlight any one performer who really killed it in the finale. Many had their moments.  Jamie Lee Curtis talking to Hester and explaining that there were some things just burned into  her memory :

“…like Joe Theismann’s injury and Two Girls One Cup.”

Drinking coffee when that particular line cropped up in the episode resulted in caffeine being spewed across the table in a crowded fast food outlet.   Such comedic utterances are brilliantly indicative of the writing for this season.

A perfect example lies in the dialogue between Wes and Grace where he uses the word matriculate, this in a setting where multi syllable words are not part of the main characters’ vocabulary.

It goes without saying that Denise Hemphill being allowed to live is beyond criminal. However, since the series is a parody of parodies, or  a spoofing of spoofs, it does make a certain amount of sense.  Scream Queens is a small screen Scary Movie, Not Another Teen Movie, Hot Shots!, Part Un and  Part Deux, and the list goes on…So perhaps there is method behind the annoying madness.

Lea Michele steals the show, in her long expository reveal, and who knew that the gal from Glee could be that damned funny?  Overall the show’s ending was funny and perfect for the tale.  While Michele takes the limelight as Hester explaining all the mechanization behind her murdering spree, with brother Boone, mad props go to another Kappa Kappa Tau sister, Chanel # 3.

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Those Princess Leia ear muffs…

At the trial, as the “updated” verdict is read, # 3 sports a beam of satisfaction that she has, at last, got something in common with daddy (Charles Manson). At one point she even waves majestically at the crowd in the courtroom.

While FOX is being quite cagey and not revealing whether the show will be renewed for a second season, the first ended with a bang (see what we did there) and gave fans a finale to be proud of. Scream Queens may be over now, but it will not be forgotten.

Scream Queens was funny, campy, extreme, very non-PC and addictive.  While we may not get Billie Lourd back, if the red devil goes on to slice and dice the two other Chanel’s,  but if the FOX is with us, we just might.

 

 

 

 

Star Wars Jabba the Hutt and He-Man

Star Wars Jabba the Hutt and He-Man

With all the big news about the next Star Wars installment being rewritten by JJ Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan, it made sense to have a look at the force and see what other things about the franchise might be of interest. Oddly enough, a few things did pop up. Namely, Jabba the Hut and He-Man.