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Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds

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The story of a family’s complicated love, Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds is an intimate portrait of Hollywood royalty in all its eccentricity. Fisher and her mother, Reynolds, live in the same Beverly Hills compound. The 83-year-old grand dame has a Las Vegas act, but performing is taking its toll. Carrie’s response is both hilarious and heart-rending. Featuring vintage family films that bring iconic old-world Hollywood to life, as well as extensive vérité footage, the film is directed by Alexis Bloom and Fisher Stevens and screened at the Cannes, Telluride, and New York Film Festivals in 2015.

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What a dissapointment. Old footage, old clips and nothing much new. I was expecting to see more of their life in the past couple of decades, when they became close.  It ended in the period of their estrangement and her producing Post Cards from the Edge. 

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7 minutes ago, wings707 said:

What a dissapointment. Old footage, old clips and nothing much new. I was expecting to see more of their life in the past couple of decades, when they became close.  It ended in the period of their estrangement and her producing Post Cards from the Edge. 

I was watching it off and on and what you described doesn't sound like what I was watching.  It ended with Debbie accepting the SAG Lifetime Achievement Award and then coming home where family and friends were gathered with a Christmas tree in the background.  I enjoyed the parts I saw.  Glad I DVR'd it.  I'll definitely watch the whole thing.

I thought it was touching when they showed Carrie and her dad Eddie saying "I love you" to each other. 

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It was worth itsimply for "Richard Dreyfus as a young girl wielding a rose." I want that painting but I hope she left it to him in her will.

I was fascinated by Gary amd Debbie's dog interaction I have never experienced it where they were so tightly focused on their humans they didn't give a damn to the other dog.

No idea that Catherine Hickland was married to Todd. I still think of her as Tad from AMCs wife and forget about the Hasselhoff years (I imagine she also tries to forget!)

Todd doesn't come off well the cut from Carrie and Griffin talking about stars who aren't anymore being sad to Todd simaging and showing someone who think he should have been a star was brutal.

Edited by biakbiak.
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I thought it was fantastic from beginning to end. Was moved deeply at several points. A running theme that emerged: Debbie's determination--as if her very life depended on it--to play "the star" with dignity and grace even when illness made this near-impossible. (One example: On the way to the SAG awards she barely can remember why she's there. But on stage to accept the award, she holds her own.) And Carrie's determination to enable her mother to do this. Not in the sense of "enabling" an addict, but in the sense that one donates one's kidney or lung to the one she loves to help her live, because that's what you do.

Edited by Milburn Stone.
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What jumped out at me was how strenuously Carrie tried all her life not to be her mother, and yet how alike they were in so many, many ways.  It makes complete sense to me now that the mother just couldn't go on without the daughter - they were so woven into each other's daily lives, it must have been a whole extra dimension of devastating when Carrie died.  I liked the inclusion of the old video footage, such a window into the Hollywood of the past. Imagine growing up in that!  

It's a rare thing that I actually lose track of time when watching TV, but this was one of those times. Huge kudos to Fisher Stevens and Alexis Bloom.  I don't know what I expected, exactly, but they far exceeded anything I envisioned.  It was funny and heart-wrenching all at once, which I guess was true of both their lives.   

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As someone who constantly drinks Diet Coke (intellectually I know it is 1 percent caffeine and 99 percent battery acid), I kept noticing how Carrie was always carrying a can or glass of Coca Cola.  The contents of her other hand varied, although most often it carried a cigarette.  Add that to the way she walked like she was in her 70s, it is not to surprising that she died of heart disease.  Very sad.   

But the love between Carrie, Debbie, and Todd was very sweet.  I expected to see a little more of Billie Lourds, but maybe she and Carrie didn't want that.  I also thought we'd see the other two Fisher siblings.  

The first time they showed Carrie sing, when she was 13, I frankly thought she was terrible and I thought Debbie was speaking out of mother love when she said Carrie had a gorgeous voice.  But later songs were beautiful and I wished she had done an album of standards.  

And, from the shallow point of the pool, when I was in my 20s I had a minor crush on Griffin Dunne.  With that in mind, I would like to give him a "wowza!  Looking good!" 

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I found it refreshing that they kept in Carries manic moments.  I know she was very outspoken about being bipolar, but for her to allow it to be shown was brave. 

I thought the special was facinating and depressing.  These two could easily have become Big Edie and Little Edie 

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Yes. I also got shades of Grey Gardens.

It was touching.  I would have loved to have a mother like Debbie Reynolds. She's a role model for the ages. A hard worker, poised and a real class act in the face of devastation. 

I was surprised Todd is married to Catherine Hickland, but I found it even more strange that she had the Knight Rider car. I believe she was in the show as well, but I would think it was so linked to her ex, Hasselhoff.

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Wow.  This sounds mean, and I've rewritten it a few times to not sound mean, but it's what I feel.  What a strange life they both led.  I found it sad that Debbie kept performing.  She was past her prime for sure.  She didn't need the money, I just think she didn't know how to not be a performer.  How sad to see all the empty seats at the venue where she was performing.  I wish she could have found something else to occupy her time and give her the same satisfaction.  I thought her memorabilia collection was such a passion.  I thought she had a museum, but the impression Todd gave was that it never came to be.  She was holding on to all of this stuff, hoarding, so to speak.  It was a valuable hoard to be sure, but it was a hoard.

And Carrie.  I feel a sadness that she never became the person she was meant to be.  Yes she does have bipolar disease. There is nothing that could be done about that.  But the kindest thing that can be said about her upbringing is that it was "unconventional".  Seeing her stepfather's "jewels", her mother offering to "guide" her through losing her virginity?  Was that even true?  If it was, WTF? And if it wasn't WTF?  What the hell kind of upbringing did she have?  How could she not end up on drugs?  I hope her daughter has some strong and stable influences to help her deal.  

Prior to viewing this, I had different impressions about both of them.  This just blew me away.  I hope both of them are at peace now.  

"Tragic" is what comes to mind.  Very, very sad.

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46 minutes ago, kathe5133 said:

I thought her memorabilia collection was such a passion.  I thought she had a museum, but the impression Todd gave was that it never came to be.  She was holding on to all of this stuff, hoarding, so to speak.  It was a valuable hoard to be sure, but it was a hoard.

 

Debbie had tried for years to get backers for her museum idea and she could not get it off the ground.  

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54 minutes ago, kathe5133 said:

Wow.  This sounds mean, and I've rewritten it a few times to not sound mean, but it's what I feel.  What a strange life they both led.  I found it sad that Debbie kept performing.  She was past her prime for sure.  She didn't need the money, I just think she didn't know how to not be a performer.  How sad to see all the empty seats at the venue where she was performing.  I wish she could have found something else to occupy her time and give her the same satisfaction.  I thought her memorabilia collection was such a passion.  I thought she had a museum, but the impression Todd gave was that it never came to be.  She was holding on to all of this stuff, hoarding, so to speak.  It was a valuable hoard to be sure, but it was a hoard.

And Carrie.  I feel a sadness that she never became the person she was meant to be.  Yes she does have bipolar disease. There is nothing that could be done about that.  But the kindest thing that can be said about her upbringing is that it was "unconventional".  Seeing her stepfather's "jewels", her mother offering to "guide" her through losing her virginity?  Was that even true?  If it was, WTF? And if it wasn't WTF?  What the hell kind of upbringing did she have?  How could she not end up on drugs?  I hope her daughter has some strong and stable influences to help her deal.  

Prior to viewing this, I had different impressions about both of them.  This just blew me away.  I hope both of them are at peace now.  

"Tragic" is what comes to mind.  Very, very sad.

Yes, overwhelming sadness was what I was left with, but I still am sorting out if that's because they both passed away.  I think, though, that the whole thing just really was kind of sad.  Somebody above mentioned how old Carrie seemed as she moved around, and I was struck by that, too.  At times she seemed older than her mother.  I'm 66 and I sure think I'm moving better than that, despite some health issues going on.  What a life she led, indeed, and to have all that in childhood and then suffer with bi-polar disorder too - wow, that was a lot.  As for Debbie Reynolds, I remember going to see Tammy and the Bachelor when I was a kid and just thinking she was the most amazing thing ever.  My cousin and I sang that song until our parents kicked us outside.  

Anyway, lots of memories connected to both these amazing women.  2016 really did have a sting in its tail on the way out to take them both from us.  

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When I watched, I felt like Carrie must have been exhausting to be around.  Her house felt like it was stuffed to the gills with a lot of eclectic junk.  And that isn't meant meanly, only that I feel like I would have been very overwhelmed had I known her. 

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I thought she had a museum, but the impression Todd gave was that it never came to be.  She was holding on to all of this stuff, hoarding, so to speak.  It was a valuable hoard to be sure, but it was a hoard.

I think she had a museum in Vegas, but it closed and she was never able to find another place to display her collection. 

Edited by txhorns79.
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2 hours ago, txhorns79 said:

When I watched, I felt like Carrie must have been exhausting to be around.  Her house felt like it was stuffed to the gills with a lot of eclectic junk.  And that isn't meant meanly, only that I feel like I would have been very overwhelmed had I known her.

Me too (overwhelmed).  There was way too much stuff (inside and out), too many memories, too many jokes, too much to absorb.  It was hard to appreciate any of it. 

I grew up with Debbie but stopped paying attention to her in the 1960's, figured she was rich and retired.  As for Carrie, I've seen a couple of the Star Wars movies and I'd heard of Postcards but hadn't read the book or watched the movie.  Didn't even know she'd been married to Paul Simon.  Didn't know she was so damn funny until I saw Wishful Drinking last week on HBO.  She was brilliant.

The documentary, for me, was really interesting as a look into the life of a faded celebrity, and as evidence that Debbie and Carrie really did love the dickens out of each other, and that it was more than just words with them.  I'm glad they had each other for as long as they did.

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2 hours ago, txhorns79 said:

When I watched, I felt like Carrie must have been exhausting to be around.  Her house felt like it was stuffed to the gills with a lot of eclectic junk.  And that isn't meant meanly, only that I feel like I would have been very overwhelmed had I known her. 

I think she had a museum in Vegas, but it closed and she was never able to find another place to display her collection. 

Pretty sure you're right about the museum - it was in the casino she owned, which went bankrupt (due to husband again?  not sure). 

And being exhausting to be around is kind of the hallmark of bi-polar.  I felt for Carrie when she said she wished she could get to the end of her personality, which to me means she exhausted herself, too.  

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I loved it, but I agree with others that I did come away from it feeling a bit sad. I got a positive impression too and the love and humor definitely comes across, but I agree that there were tidbits throughout the documentary where I either cringed or felt a pang. 

7 hours ago, Calamity Jane said:

What jumped out at me was how strenuously Carrie tried all her life not to be her mother, and yet how alike they were in so many, many ways.  It makes complete sense to me now that the mother just couldn't go on without the daughter - they were so woven into each other's daily lives, it must have been a whole extra dimension of devastating when Carrie died.  I liked the inclusion of the old video footage, such a window into the Hollywood of the past. Imagine growing up in that!  

It's a rare thing that I actually lose track of time when watching TV, but this was one of those times. Huge kudos to Fisher Stevens and Alexis Bloom.  I don't know what I expected, exactly, but they far exceeded anything I envisioned.  It was funny and heart-wrenching all at once, which I guess was true of both their lives.   

I got the same impression. Also, even though there was a 24 year age difference, I feel like as they got older, they became much more companion like in a way. Plus, in certain ways, I feel like Carrie seemed older than her age. There was something a little old Hollywood about her even though she wasn't old Hollywood. Debbie seemed younger than her age for awhile and Carrie seemed older, so it didn't always feel like it was just a mother/daughter bond. Definitely a special and unique bond.

Seeing some of the clips of Debbie's nightclub act and Carrie performing, I couldn't help but think of Judy Garland and her kids. 

4 hours ago, kathe5133 said:

Wow.  This sounds mean, and I've rewritten it a few times to not sound mean, but it's what I feel.  What a strange life they both led.  I found it sad that Debbie kept performing.  She was past her prime for sure.  She didn't need the money, I just think she didn't know how to not be a performer.  How sad to see all the empty seats at the venue where she was performing.  I wish she could have found something else to occupy her time and give her the same satisfaction.  I thought her memorabilia collection was such a passion.  I thought she had a museum, but the impression Todd gave was that it never came to be.  She was holding on to all of this stuff, hoarding, so to speak.  It was a valuable hoard to be sure, but it was a hoard.

And Carrie.  I feel a sadness that she never became the person she was meant to be.  Yes she does have bipolar disease. There is nothing that could be done about that.  But the kindest thing that can be said about her upbringing is that it was "unconventional".  Seeing her stepfather's "jewels", her mother offering to "guide" her through losing her virginity?  Was that even true?  If it was, WTF? And if it wasn't WTF?  What the hell kind of upbringing did she have?  How could she not end up on drugs?  I hope her daughter has some strong and stable influences to help her deal.  

Prior to viewing this, I had different impressions about both of them.  This just blew me away.  I hope both of them are at peace now.  

"Tragic" is what comes to mind.  Very, very sad.

I definitely get what you're saying. Part of me feels this way and part of me loves and respects that she refused to stop doing what she loved. Sure, the audiences were smaller (a lot smaller towards the end), but at the end of the day, there were always people who were willing, excited, and eager to see her, and enjoy what she brought to the table. She seemed like she enjoyed herself and that's the most important thing. I also think that she led a very full life and was involved in things other than performing, like the work she did for The Thalians.  

Regarding Carrie's upbringing--there were definitely things there that seemed sad and I was unsure when she was joking and how serious she was about certain things. 

Her description of the house growing up sounds cold. She describes it as being too big, too airy, and how everything was one long photo call. She describes being told to call her stepfather "Daddy Harry" or how she'd see his "angry slather of balls" on a regular basis, and how she and Todd had the bond of "shared weirdness" over their unusual childhood. Her mother supposedly offers to coach her through her first time. Then we have Todd accidentally shooting himself in the leg and it being a memorable occasion because it spurred his father to call him which was apparently an unusual gesture. 

It was sad to see what a shell of a man Eddie Fisher was at the end. When Carrie mentioned Elizabeth Taylor, I half expected him to say "Who?" 

6 hours ago, Thalia said:

As someone who constantly drinks Diet Coke (intellectually I know it is 1 percent caffeine and 99 percent battery acid), I kept noticing how Carrie was always carrying a can or glass of Coca Cola.  The contents of her other hand varied, although most often it carried a cigarette.  Add that to the way she walked like she was in her 70s, it is not to surprising that she died of heart disease.  Very sad.   

But the love between Carrie, Debbie, and Todd was very sweet.  I expected to see a little more of Billie Lourds, but maybe she and Carrie didn't want that.  I also thought we'd see the other two Fisher siblings.  

The first time they showed Carrie sing, when she was 13, I frankly thought she was terrible and I thought Debbie was speaking out of mother love when she said Carrie had a gorgeous voice.  But later songs were beautiful and I wished she had done an album of standards.  

I noticed that Carrie and Todd were both shown holding cans of regular Coke and it made me think that they've always been fond of it because their father had a contract with Coca Cola at one point.

Hearing "The Man that Got Away" was an interesting choice too. Seeing Billie sitting there as her mother sings a song from A Star Is Born made me wonder how her career will turn out. 

I actually thought that this was one of the most touching parts of the film. Debbie is moved to tears just thinking about the talent she feels her daughter possessed/possesses. I actually thought that Carrie's voice sounded strong, it was just untrained. I was surprised at how much her singing voice was apart of this documentary and am glad that they showcased it because I think it's remarkable that she didn't go in that direction. 

6 hours ago, zenme said:

I was surprised Todd is married to Catherine Hickland, but I found it even more strange that she had the Knight Rider car. I believe she was in the show as well, but I would think it was so linked to her ex, Hasselhoff.

The Catherine Hickland appearance was hilariously quirky. The Knight Rider car was one thing, but how about the fact that she has this live chicken under her arm for half of her scenes? I thought that was too random and funny. I haven't seen her since she was on One Life to Live. My mom subscribed to Soap Opera Digest and Catherine was the magazine's cosmetic "Product Queen".

4 hours ago, Calamity Jane said:

Yes, overwhelming sadness was what I was left with, but I still am sorting out if that's because they both passed away.  I think, though, that the whole thing just really was kind of sad.  Somebody above mentioned how old Carrie seemed as she moved around, and I was struck by that, too.  At times she seemed older than her mother.  I'm 66 and I sure think I'm moving better than that, despite some health issues going on.  What a life she led, indeed, and to have all that in childhood and then suffer with bi-polar disorder too - wow, that was a lot.  As for Debbie Reynolds, I remember going to see Tammy and the Bachelor when I was a kid and just thinking she was the most amazing thing ever.  My cousin and I sang that song until our parents kicked us outside.  

Anyway, lots of memories connected to both these amazing women.  2016 really did have a sting in its tail on the way out to take them both from us.  

Part of Carrie seemed sad about her life. She was very good natured about being the "custodian" of Princess Leia, but you can see that she feels the sting in it too and has had to come to terms with some of the more unsavory aspects of being an iconic pop culture figure for people. 

On the one hand I think it's sweet to hear Debbie introduce herself as Princess Leia's mother and OTOH it kind of bums me out that that's all she'll ever be for some people. Same with Carrie. It's great that she'll always be remembered as Leia, but it would be nice to think that she'll be equally remembered for her other work.

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7 hours ago, Thalia said:

But the love between Carrie, Debbie, and Todd was very sweet.  I expected to see a little more of Billie Lourds, but maybe she and Carrie didn't want that.  

I was surprised there wasn't more of Billie because the three of them were really close. Having the younger generation would've been interesting. I think it may be a combination of everyone desperately not wanting her to go into entertainment, and Billie possibly still being in college. I have no idea when she graduated NYU, but she was the family member at Debbie's Jersey show. 

Edited by Stuffy.
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46 minutes ago, Avaleigh said:

It was sad to see what a shell of a man Eddie Fisher was at the end. When Carrie mentioned Elizabeth Taylor, I half expected him to say "Who?" 

I am hard hearted because I have not one ounce of sympathy for Eddie Fisher.  He was a selfish man who threw away his family.  Many people get divorced and remarry, however, he seemed to have divorced his kids as well as his wife.  He caused his children and most likely everyone who loved him nothing but pain.  Karma got him in the end.

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Plus, in certain ways, I feel like Carrie seemed older than her age. There was something a little old Hollywood about her even though she wasn't old Hollywood. Debbie seemed younger than her age for awhile and Carrie seemed older, so it didn't always feel like it was just a mother/daughter bond

I feel like a lot of Carrie seeming older and Debbie seeming younger had to do with their respective lifestyles.  Obviously, Debbie had scandals, but as far as I know, she never had her daughter's issues with drugs/alcohol.  That stuff can age you terribly.  

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16 hours ago, biakbiak said:

No idea that Catherine Hickland was married to Todd. I still think of her as Tad from AMCs wife and forget about the Hasselhoff years (I imagine she also tries to forget!)

I didn't know she divorced Tad/Michael E. Knight either!  But with that emotional support chicken, she fits right in with Carrie.

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This was just lovely.  It made me feel warm.  Whoever said this was almost Grey Garden-ish was spot on, even though I have only seen parodies of that documentary.  I could see someone trying to develop a musical out of this duo too.

The memorabilia that Debbie owned, her "grandma-esque" furniture and Carrie's kitschy decor were fascinating to me.  So much of Hollywood glamour is just wiped away. 

You could really tell that this started out as a look at Debbie Reynolds because there was so much focus on her career and life.  I didn't find the scenes where she pushed herself to perform sad.  I found them to be inspirational.  She was shown as so frail but she put on a heavy dress, got on stage and was prepared to kill.  And I didn't even feel like it was a need for adulation but rather it came from a need to perform.  I'm envious of someone who can find that inner passion for a profession that they do it because they love it and can't imagine not doing it.

I think they booked her into a venue that was too big for the first performance so of course there were empty seats.  Still, I didn't think the turnout at that performance or at the Vegas performance to be bad at all. 

I found both of these women to be admirable in different ways. 

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Was anyone else bugged by the fact that the huge plaque outside Todd's house says "The Fisher's" instead of "The Fishers"?

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The Connecticut venue holds 10K - I think some of today's stars would have difficulty filling.

I watched "Wishful Drinking" first and was amazed at Carrie's voice.

After watching both shows, I felt sad that Carrie struggled with her demons for so long and maybe if there was a "diagnosis" early in her life, she could have lived a longer life.

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The sad thing is, if I remember correctly, she was diagnosed at 29 but was in denial. Plus the drug addiction didn't help. 

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My mom is a nurse and she told me that Carrie's drug and alcohol problems coupled with the constant Coke addition and smoking is what caused her health problems. I remember Carrie telling Ellen DeGeneres during her last appearance on the show that she drank like 10-12 cans of Coke a day and that's why the trainer was so irritated with her in the film.

Maybe it's better that she died suddenly and didn't fade away slowly. Also, she might not have been well enough to shoot episode 9 of Star Wars if she'd lived based on what we know about the way she lived her life via this documentary. Reminder that the coroner has put her autopsy and toxicology report on hold. I wonder what they found in her system

I'm still gutted that Carrie died so young and this documentary, strangely enough, gave me the closure I needed although I want the producer/directors to put out a second volume of their unused footage because I want to see more of Carrie's house.

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I haven't followed either of these women much, other than adoring Debbie Reynolds as Mama Adler on Will & Grace.   I'm not sure when Debbie and Carrie agreed to do this documentary, but clearly Debbie's health was failing and it makes me sad this was aired.  There were several scenes where you could tell she was uncomfortable (ruby slipper on mantel).  The scene in the limo headed to the SAG awards was particularly sad.  She asked what the award was and then seemed frustrated when those around her tried to explain.  Being the professional that she was, it's sad this documentary is her last "performance". 

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7 hours ago, AnnieGirl said:

I haven't followed either of these women much, other than adoring Debbie Reynolds as Mama Adler on Will & Grace.   I'm not sure when Debbie and Carrie agreed to do this documentary, but clearly Debbie's health was failing and it makes me sad this was aired.  There were several scenes where you could tell she was uncomfortable (ruby slipper on mantel).  The scene in the limo headed to the SAG awards was particularly sad.  She asked what the award was and then seemed frustrated when those around her tried to explain.  Being the professional that she was, it's sad this documentary is her last "performance". 

Both of them signed off on this airing and would be happy that we got to see it now as a way to process their deaths. It was supposed to air in March so Carrie, Todd and the producer/directors could do publicity for it. 

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Both of them signed off on this airing and would be happy that we got to see it now as a way to process their deaths.

I'm sure Carrie would be happy, but there were obviously times during the documentary that suggested Debbie wasn't all there.  That whole scene on the way to the SAGs where she appeared to have no idea where she was going or who was giving her an award made me wonder just how poor her health actually was during the filming.    

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Shallow observations:  Why the "trout lips" in the convention photos with fans?  That's not how Carrie smiles.  It made me wonder if it was Carrie's way of showing an aversion to doing that type of photo.  

At first I thought it was crass to charge $70 for an autograph, but then I thought if she did it for nothing, she'd be there for days. 

Her thinning hair -- some layers would help (I have the same problem).  Carrie wasn't vain, that's for sure.  Very little makeup, pull the hair back, she was good to go!  Such a contrast with Debbie.  (Was that a wig?)

Edited by AuntiePam. Reason: fixed typo
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27 minutes ago, AuntiePam said:

Shallow observations:  Why the "trout lips" in the convention photos with fans?  That's not how Carrie smiles.  It made me wonder if it was Carrie's way of showing an aversion to doing that type of photo.  

Yes!  I think it was an attempt to make her lips look fuller.  She did it in all photos. 

She had dentures.  I can by the way she looked and spoke.  Yes, dentures give you a mouthful of straight, white teeth, but the jaw bone is meant to hold teeth.  When those teeth are gone, the jaw bone begins to degrade, and that's why you see a lot of shrunken mouths on the elderly.  Same thing happens to those who lose all their teeth young.  The shape of the mouth starts to change. 

It was not a becoming look for her.

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2 hours ago, AuntiePam said:

At first I thought it was crass to charge $70 for an autograph, but then I thought if she did it for nothing, she'd be there for days. 

Her thinning hair -- some layers would help (I have the same problem).  Carrie wasn't vain, that's for sure.  Very little makeup, pull the hair back, she was good to go!  Such a contrast with Debbie.  (Was that a wig?)

That's actually a good price for those things.  Even Stephen Amell from a CW show gets $80 for a photo, and he's nobody compared to Carrie and Princess Leia.  http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/stars-getting-rich-fan-conventions-933062

I'm pretty sure Debbie was wearing a wig.  I may need to watch again but I thought she asked if her hair was straight.  I thought that was a weird question since it was curly but then realized she was probably wearing a wig.

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21 hours ago, movingtargetgal said:

I am hard hearted because I have not one ounce of sympathy for Eddie Fisher.  He was a selfish man who threw away his family.  Many people get divorced and remarry, however, he seemed to have divorced his kids as well as his wife.  He caused his children and most likely everyone who loved him nothing but pain.  Karma got him in the end.

I agree with this. My comment was more about Carrie having to see him in that condition. I thought it was a sad scene to watch as she tried to make him laugh and he didn't seem like he was all there. 

19 hours ago, Irlandesa said:

This was just lovely.  It made me feel warm.  Whoever said this was almost Grey Garden-ish was spot on, even though I have only seen parodies of that documentary.  I could see someone trying to develop a musical out of this duo too.

The memorabilia that Debbie owned, her "grandma-esque" furniture and Carrie's kitschy decor were fascinating to me.  So much of Hollywood glamour is just wiped away. 

I loved looking at all of the signed and framed pictures of old Hollywood actresses on the wall. I can't remember who all was on the wall now but I definitely remember seeing Ava Gardner, Ann Miller, Greer Garson, and Lana Turner. 

Another part that gave me a pang was when Debbie was talking about not wanting to give up the suits of the Rat Pack after all and her comments about how she still loves her "ghosts" and her memories. 

14 hours ago, AnnieGirl said:

I haven't followed either of these women much, other than adoring Debbie Reynolds as Mama Adler on Will & Grace.   I'm not sure when Debbie and Carrie agreed to do this documentary, but clearly Debbie's health was failing and it makes me sad this was aired.  There were several scenes where you could tell she was uncomfortable (ruby slipper on mantel).  The scene in the limo headed to the SAG awards was particularly sad.  She asked what the award was and then seemed frustrated when those around her tried to explain.  Being the professional that she was, it's sad this documentary is her last "performance". 

I was startled that they included the shots of Debbie's bruises. That was hard to look at and you could tell that she didn't necessarily feel comfortable that she was being filmed with her face in that condition. 

20 hours ago, txhorns79 said:

I feel like a lot of Carrie seeming older and Debbie seeming younger had to do with their respective lifestyles.  Obviously, Debbie had scandals, but as far as I know, she never had her daughter's issues with drugs/alcohol.  That stuff can age you terribly.  

I really felt like they seemed like they weren't that far apart in age in the outdoor scene where they're wearing the same shoes and Debbie is talking about how she likes to have her alone time. Carrie's body language felt like that of a woman who was much older to me. Yet at the same time she was displaying little girl like behavior by holding onto her mom's leg. There were a lot of moments like that throughout the film that were fascinating to me. 

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Re:  the two women's hair and makeup.  I was thinking about this last night, and although it was clear that Debbie liked being in front of an audience, it was still pretty clear that even when she was on camera in her living room that she insisted on being "a star."  I don't remember seeing her without full makeup and either her wig or a hat.  She was also dressed well, and either she, or the family, or both didn't let cameras see her when she was sick.  Debbie was well-trained by MGM to always look her best for the fans. 

Carrie, OTOH, came of age in the more relaxed 60s and 70s, but I think she would have been better served to follow her mom's example, at least as far as getting a more flattering hairstyle.  Yes, it is superficial, but I had trouble getting over it.  She cared enough to make sure she always had lipstick, why not get a haircut or buy a blow dryer?  

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Both of them signed off on this airing and would be happy that we got to see it now as a way to process their deaths

If Debbie approved after she viewed the final product to air, then of course, I have no problem with that and am happy she was okay sharing her frailty.  If not, and she only signed off on being in the documentary, but did not view the final product, then I wish they didn't air it. 

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2 hours ago, AnnieGirl said:

If Debbie approved after she viewed the final product to air, then of course, I have no problem with that and am happy she was okay sharing her frailty.  If not, and she only signed off on being in the documentary, but did not view the final product, then I wish they didn't air it. 

She was doing promotion for the film. In November she was supposed to do a Q and A after a screening with Fischer Stevens for the opening of SF Film Society documentary festival but had to cancel at the last minute because of health issues but both of them saw the final film.

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I didn't think this was a very good film.  I thought it could have done with a more judicious editor.  The storyline jumped around way too much.  I feel like there was the footage for a really good documentary but they lost it in the editing room.  There were some real moments.  Debbie Reynolds getting emotional over Carrie's singing voice; the scene where Carrie brings over the mac n cheese and they have the conversation about the phone; how protective Carrie was about her mother at the SAG rehearsal; and even though it was painful to watch, the scene Carrie has with her father.  She is still that little girl, happy to get whatever crumbs her father will throw her way.

Sometimes, I felt there was too much playing to the cameras.  Todd Fisher was especially guilty of this and the whole Griffin Dunne scene was just awful.  Why was it even in there!  So Dunne could brag about taking Carrie's virginity?  And could his way of segueing into that story have been more awkward?  Blech!  

I feel like this was hurriedly put together or the director never settled on a point of view.  Which is a shame because both these women are fascinating and deserved better.

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46 minutes ago, mjforty said:

; the scene where Carrie brings over the mac n cheese and they have the conversation about the phone;

How dare you it was a souffle! It just cracked me up that she would choose to deliver one of the most persnickety of dishes on a long, rambling outdoor path.

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I feel like this was hurriedly put together or the director never settled on a point of view.  Which is a shame because both these women are fascinating and deserved better.

I'd agree.  It was interesting to watch, but very unfocused.

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1 hour ago, txhorns79 said:

I'd agree.  It was interesting to watch, but very unfocused.

Much like their lives.........

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5 hours ago, biakbiak said:

How dare you it was a souffle! It just cracked me up that she would choose to deliver one of the most persnickety of dishes on a long, rambling outdoor path.

You're right.  It was a soufflé.  And the most persnickety thing about a soufflé is that it will fall if you dare to sneeze within ten feet of it.  But it'll still taste great so maybe that's why my visual memory of that scene replaced the soufflé with mac n cheese.  The soufflé had already fallen.

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Much like their lives.........

I don't know.  I think Debbie Reynolds' life seemed pretty focused.  Even in her 80s, she was still putting on shows.  I do agree though that Carrie seemed all over the place.  I do not envy the people who have to pack up her house.   

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1 hour ago, kathe5133 said:

Much like their lives.........

I think that's why the format worked for me. I agree that it was unfocused and a little jumbled. It was like a kaleidoscopic take on their lives and I ultimately found it to be touching, funny, and watchable. Sad too, of course, but I feel like I came away with an appreciation for both women by the end of the film. 

I agree that the Griffin Dunne scene was terrible and embarrassing. 

1 hour ago, txhorns79 said:

I don't know.  I think Debbie Reynolds' life seemed pretty focused.  Even in her 80s, she was still putting on shows.  I do agree though that Carrie seemed all over the place.  I do not envy the people who have to pack up her house.   

When Carrie and Todd describe their childhood, they make it sound unconventional and a little peculiar. I'm not sure that Debbie's lifestyle kept them 'focused' exactly. Sure, they weren't 'born in a trunk' but there was still something a little frenetic and madcap about their upbringing, where I'd say that Debbie played a hand in the 'all over the place' vibe that Carrie (and Todd and his current wife) give off. 

I thought about that too. I agree that it sounds like an unenviable task. At the same time, I feel like the cleaning out of those houses could be its own documentary in a way. 

8 hours ago, mjforty said:

I didn't think this was a very good film.  I thought it could have done with a more judicious editor.  The storyline jumped around way too much.  I feel like there was the footage for a really good documentary but they lost it in the editing room.  There were some real moments.  Debbie Reynolds getting emotional over Carrie's singing voice; the scene where Carrie brings over the mac n cheese and they have the conversation about the phone; how protective Carrie was about her mother at the SAG rehearsal; and even though it was painful to watch, the scene Carrie has with her father.  She is still that little girl, happy to get whatever crumbs her father will throw her way.

I found this to be heartbreaking. She's still mentioning Elizabeth Taylor and competing with her memory. It couldn't be more clear how his leaving their family hurt and devastated her, but he's so old and out of it that he can't really be a comfort to her. Eddie was the one who made the selfish decision, but in that scene it felt like Carrie was the one still suffering the consequences of that choice rather than Eddie. There was also the moment where she tells him that she loves him and he doesn't use the word love in return. I think he said something about being crazy about her, which is sweet but IMO not quite the same. 

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I found this to be heartbreaking. She's still mentioning Elizabeth Taylor and competing with her memory. It couldn't be more clear how his leaving their family hurt and devastated her, but he's so old and out of it that he can't really be a comfort to her. Eddie was the one who made the selfish decision, but in that scene it felt like Carrie was the one still suffering the consequences of that choice rather than Eddie.

I think some of this was just Carrie playing for the cameras.  I mean, Eddie seemed pretty out of it and it was strange to me she'd be bringing all this up with him when he barely seemed able to speak in a coherent fashion, unless it was being done strictly to have them discussing it on camera. 

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When Carrie and Todd describe their childhood, they make it sound unconventional and a little peculiar. I'm not sure that Debbie's lifestyle kept them 'focused' exactly. Sure, they weren't 'born in a trunk' but there was still something a little frenetic and madcap about their upbringing, where I'd say that Debbie played a hand in the 'all over the place' vibe that Carrie (and Todd and his current wife) give off. 

I meant more that Debbie seemed to have her life more together than Carrie did.  Even when she had financial problems, bad marriages or career lulls, she stayed focused on working.   

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The reason why Debbie was able to focus on the work is she was trained by the studios to act that way at all times. Carrie grew up in the 60's and 70's which was a very different time of experimentation and that coupled with her bipolar disorder made Carrie's life very chaotic. I wish she'd been diagnosed earlier in life because maybe then she wouldn't have done drugs and ruined her body.

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On 1/9/2017 at 9:37 AM, kathe5133 said:

Yes!  I think it was an attempt to make her lips look fuller.  She did it in all photos. 

She had dentures.  I can by the way she looked and spoke.  Yes, dentures give you a mouthful of straight, white teeth, but the jaw bone is meant to hold teeth.  When those teeth are gone, the jaw bone begins to degrade, and that's why you see a lot of shrunken mouths on the elderly.  Same thing happens to those who lose all their teeth young.  The shape of the mouth starts to change. 

It was not a becoming look for her.

My mom worked for a dentist and always noticed and commented on people's teeth, therefore I also do the same, and what you say makes sense, although I hadn't thought of it.  Debbie had elaborate make-up and perhaps some cosmetic work done, as well as a carefully tended wig, and there were quite a few scenes where Carrie looked older or at least the same age, and now I think perhaps the teeth/jaw added to that.  

As for the inconsistent focus of the film, I think it has to do with the topic changing as they filmed.  Carrie commissioned it to memorialize her mother's last days of performing, but along the way, the makers realized they had something else as well, namely, the fascinating relationship between the two women. (This from an interview I read, in the LA Times, I believe.) So it makes sense that it feels a bit bifurcated because it really was.  To me, it was genius to see what they were getting and go with it, and the result - a bit woolly, a bit outrageous, a bit all-over-there - was a mirror of their subjects' lives.  

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The part that finally got me was Carrie breaking down crying as she was planning Debbie's appearance for her Lifetime Achievement Award and making sure she was going to be as comfortable as possible because her mother was feeling so ill.

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19 hours ago, txhorns79 said:

I'd agree.  It was interesting to watch, but very unfocused.

Fischer Stevens is a terrible director.  Given the source material, this documentary could have been amazing. 

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On 1/8/2017 at 10:16 AM, kathe5133 said:

How sad to see all the empty seats at the venue where she was performing.

This is the "glass half empty or half full situation". I was actually relieved there was a lot of people who did come. Sure the venues weren't packed but there were still plenty people who adore her and came to see her. I didn't find it pitiful at all.

 

On 1/8/2017 at 8:18 AM, Thalia said:

The first time they showed Carrie sing, when she was 13, I frankly thought she was terrible and I thought Debbie was speaking out of mother love when she said Carrie had a gorgeous voice.

I disagree. My jaw dropped at how good she sounded. Mainly because she sounded like an adult at 15, but and am glad even when her speaking voice changed dramatically in later years she could still sing.

 

On 1/9/2017 at 0:02 PM, Stuffy said:

At first I thought it was crass to charge $70 for an autograph, but then I thought if she did it for nothing, she'd be there for days.

Also a lot of people who get celebrity autographs for free do it to sell them on Ebay for hundreds of dollars. Chances are if a person is going to pay $70 dollars for an autograph they really want it.

As a Star Wars fan I'm glad finally attending these conventions to she realized how much the character of Leia meant to people because I know she resented being associated being known as Princess Leia for years.

Interview with Fisher Stevens(either he has a big head or a really skinny neck):

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I've seen so many documentaries that shift back and forth. If there is no narrator ("Carrier Fisher next did Star Wars," "Then Debbie married Eddie Fisher") that's usually what happens. I didn't mind the structure, I thought it works.
 

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