THE DVD SHELF: "Citizen Kane," Danny Kaye's "Inspector General" and Carrie Fisher's "Wishful Drinking"

By Steven Suskin
11 Sep 2011

Cover art for "Wishful Drinking"

This month also brings us Carrie Fisher's Wishful Drinking [HBO], based on the one-person show she brought to Studio 54 in the fall of 2009. Fisher has had what can be called an extraordinarily troubled life; she was in the spotlight from birth, thanks to Debbie and Eddie and Liz, and that seems to have been the simple part. She tells of turning on the radio and hearing her ex-husband Paul Simon singing a song in which he complains about her; what's remarkable about this is that in the context of Fisher's life, this sounds normal. Waking up in bed next to a 42-year-old gay Republican operative who happens to be very dead? Just another day in Carrie's world.

A life of media celebrity and severe addiction doesn't necessarily make for 75 minutes of high entertainment, and that's where Ms. Fisher scores. She is forthcoming, certainly, but unpretentious and awfully jolly about the whole thing. "Wishful Drinking" is at once an illuminating picture of the world of Hollywood royalty from which she hails; a discerning discussion of the heights and depths of worldwide celebrity, boosted by her stint as Princess Leia in "Star Wars"; and a candid picture of the struggles of living a public life within a fractured mirror. Special features include three deleted scenes plus "My Alleged Mother," being an "exclusive" interview with Ms. Fisher's alleged mother (AKA Debbie Reynolds).

(Steven Suskin is author of the recently released Updated and Expanded Fourth Edition of "Show Tunes" as well as "The Sound of Broadway Music: A Book of Orchestrators and Orchestrations," "Second Act Trouble" and the "Opening Night on Broadway" books. He also pens's Book Shelf and On the Record columns. He can be reached at


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