Bright Lights Review!

Jondee here in Hollywood,

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Brights Lights, directed by Alexis Bloom and Fisher Stevens, aired on HBO. Home video plays of Debbie Reynolds and her family including daughter Carrie Fisher as they discuss their lives. She says, “You know you had some good times.” Gonna use first names, not on a first name basis, but I thought it appropriate. On a boat in Venice with her mother, the young Carrie has a gloomy expression until seeing the camera and going into a smile. This goes to Carrie’s house in Los Angeles, getting a soufflé out of the oven as Gary sits on the floor looking at her. She walks over with the dish over to her mother’s house. Debbie goes over some of the movie dresses in her collection. She is getting ready for her show. A solo interview, Carrie talks about worrying about her mother who she says thinks she’s 35. Next, clips of Debbie Reynolds’ films. Connecticut, Debbie is getting ready for her show and says she was only nervous performing for the queen of England. She says, “I’m like the old days.” Debbie gets in her gold dress and walks out to applause. She sings Tammy to the mostly elderly audience. It gets a few audience members to give her a standing ovation. Carrie talks about her mother’s work ethic, she seems happy. Home video of Debbie calling up 15 year old Carrie to sing “Bridge over Trouble Water” at her nightclub act. She admits to giving up singing as an act of rebellion. Debbie tears up at talking about Carrie’s voice. Carrie shows her house and her memorabilia including her ugly children paintings. Home video of her old home and Carrie talks about her brother Todd so we get to his house in Nevada where he playfully greets the crew. His wife, Catherine Hickland, has her pet chicken. Todd shows off the movie posters that show his parents from Singin’ in the Rain, meeting on film, and then divorcing to Butterfield 8. He says Carrie thought Star Wars would be a B movie. Then, there is a Fan Expo signing. Carrie gets her hair ready with a curler. The little girl dressed as Princess Leia is sweet, the guys are creepy, her assistant says she resisted this for years. Finishing signing, she goes back for a Coke, touching up her hair, before going for photo-ops. Carrie resting on a couch before talking afterwards to the camera. “They love her”, she explains about Princess Leia with her cigarette. Todd gets in the KITT car with Catherine saying she was on the Knight Rider show. He says, “My family can overwhelm most people.” Then, he explains about his father, Eddie Fisher, and his success with hit records and 65,000 fan clubs.

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Carrie sitting leans to her mother as she holds her head. Carrie says she’s her mother’s best friend. A clip of Postcards from the Edge. Todd talks about his sister’s drug problem. Home video of pool parties, Todd says they started smoking weed at 15, and Debbie explains the manic depressive diagnosis. 1988, home video of Carrie on the Great Wall, she starts playing Christmas music and dances with everyone. She calls her different moods Pam and Roy. Carrie at her house getting ready with her former babysitter, Constance, who explains how badly Carrie dealt with the divorce. Eddie trying to get away from the paparazzi and Debbie smiling holding her children. They talk about Debbie’s next husband, Harry, whom Carrie says was “a mass of noise.” Home video of that time as kids. Then, Harry’s gambling ends with the foreclosure of their house. They go to Debbie’s house, but she doesn’t want the camera to see her. Constance and Carrie talk about how Debbie likes to show that she is good, but they and Todd say that she is “frail.” He notes how she was always a fan of Hollywood. Debbie’s collection on Oprah. Which leads to her bids on the MGM auctioning of its backlot. He says that her auctions were traumatic. Carrie talks about the rehearsals for Star Wars Seven though her mother is ill. London, Carrie puts her time training, the trainer pours out a Coke, and Carrie pours a can of Coke. She shops in London. Carrie tells a seamstress about her parents. She explains about running into Harrison and Mark.

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The clip from Shampoo. Then, her relationship with Paul Simon, before the arrival of Griffin Dunne. They talk about sex on her bed and Carrie talks about her mother wanting to set up coaching with a guy named Albert. Griffin talks about how she believed in her father every time and was disappointed. Todd sings, “Oh! My Papa”, pretty good too. He notes that he shot himself in the leg which was the only time Eddie connected with him. Todd notes that his father was tired and his doctor gave him crystal meth which he thought was vitamin shots. 2010, Carrie looking over her father in bed, she tells him about being funny to compete with other women. Third auction, Debbie fell, bruising part of her face, she is interviewed with Carrie as Todd joins them. She has second thoughts about selling the Rat Pack outfits. Fisher Stevens is interviewing Debbie when Carrie sneaks in and then the house alarm goes off. You can see her incredible poise, the whole world could be falling down around her, and Debbie Reynolds would not look troubled. Carrie is headed to Vegas for her mother’s performance which is the last minute for her. She talks about Debbie’s mother, Maxine Reynolds, home video to Carrie interviewing Maxine in 1995. She was trying to convince her daughter not to go to show business and brings up that she wanted to be a gym teacher. South Point hotel on the Strip, Debbie says it will be her last show there. Debbie takes her electric wheelchair through the casino. She announces that it is her last weekend in show business. Carrie waits backstage and walks out singing. Todd escorts her off stage. Back home, a phone call, Debbie’s voice is strained. Carrie mentions that a Lifetime Achievement award is given to her mother by SAG. Carrie is discussing the arrangements for her mother and then breaks down crying. Carrie watching Barbara Streisand in Funny Girl as she is getting ready. The Screen Actor Awards, Todd in suit with baseball cap, a glimpse of Billie Lourd, she really isn’t in thie documentary. Debbie gets to the car, she wants to know what is the award she being given. Carrie leads Debbie and then walks on stage to present the award. The family back home, Carrie sings a bit, and the party wraps up. Debbie has Carrie say goodbye to close the doc and says to her, “You know I loved you.” It is apparent that Carrie Fisher put everything out in speaking engagements and in her books. Debbie Reynolds put everything out on stage and screen. They were really inseparable. Five Bright Lights out of Five!

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