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Friday, May 13, 2016

Jem Reviewed: Episode 8 - Starbright: Rising Star

This is the conclusion of the "Starbright" saga for Jem Reviewed.  As you might remember from last week, Jem and the Holograms had to come back to the movie set they quit to raise money for Ba Nee's eye operation.  And The Misfits did everything to sabotage them.  But when one goes too far, it's Kimber that is at risk of losing her life.

Let's not wait any longer.  Time for Episode 8 - Starbright: Rising Star!

So after Nick...ahem...Dick Mann abandons Kimber to die in a movie set that is blowing up, Jerrica is worried that she will lose her truly outrageous little sister. 

Fortunately, Jeff Wright - who is more of a man than our fearful star of the movie - leaps onto his motorcycle, drives through the explosions, rescues Kimber, and manages to leap out of the path of danger before he and Kimber get seriously hurt. 

Though, Jeff's motorcycle doesn't make it.  Must be an American model.

Although Kimber isn't physically harmed, she is visibly shaken, and Jeff takes her to the first aid trailer for a check-up.  Meanwhile, Dick Mann has the audacity to congratulate Jeff on some killer stunt work, making no mention of Kimber or showing concern for either of them.  Aja grabs a motorcycle helmet, shoves it hard into Dick's gut, and tells him to stick his fat head into that with a sarcastic "hero" tacked onto the end of it.

Yep.  It's official.  I LOVE Aja!

Aja and Shana later stand in front of Jerrica as she transforms into Jem - because when it comes down to delivering the smackdown, Jem certainly has more cojones than Jerrica could even dream of having.  And certainly when it comes to confronting Eric Raymond about what happened to Kimber, Jem will take no prisoners.

Of course, the Misfits refuse to take the blame - even though Clash pretty much gives it away with her stupid cymbal bracelets - and Jem, Aja, and Shana quit the film again, with Jem stating that although her own life is worth falling through papier mache logs, she won't let Kimber be barbecued in the middle of a desert...or something like that.  I assume that Kimber quits by proxy, since she's still recovering from nearly being turned into a french fry.

Rio also quits the project, nearly killing Eric in the process.  Ah, there's quintessential Rio, flexing his muscles and proving how much of a man he is.  Can you tell I'm NOT a Rio fan?

But here's where things get very interesting.  One by one, the film crew - who has taken the brunt of Eric's abuse as well as catering to the spoiled Misfits - walk off the set as well, stating that they can do better than this film.  There are a few holdouts like Georgia the grudge holder and Dick Mann, but most of the crew leaves, causing Eric to struggle to finish the film.

Meanwhile, it looks like Kimber is going to be just fine, and Jeff stays with her to make sure.  Kimber decides that she is going to have to choke down some humble pie and apologize for how badly she treated him, and that she really wants to give him a chance.  Judging by this picture, I think Jeff accepts.

Back at Starlight Mansion, Jerrica is reading Ba Nee a bedtime story, and as you can see from this screenshot, Ba Nee's eyes are getting much worse.  Just another reminder of how depressing this storyline is.  After reading Ba Nee the story, Aja notices that Jerrica is very sad, and Jerrica is sad, given that she doesn't have the money to pay for Ba Nee's operation.  But fear not.  She has a plan.

It's Showtime Synergy once more, and Jem and Aja head downstairs - where most of the film crew waits.  It turns out that Jem has an idea.  They'll make their own film with a limited budget to compete against the Misfits film at the box office.  Great idea!  WHY DIDN'T YOU JUST DO THAT TWO EPISODES AGO?!?

It does have merit.  Anthony Julien mentions that they shot Jem's first video on a shoestring budget.  Yeah, but that first video was "Twilight In Paris", which was shot in Paris.  You shut up, Julien.  Other than that, the ideas are great.  They can film scenes at Starlight Mansion and Starlight Music.  Jem and the Holograms will record all the music.  Danielle DuVoisin will make the costumes.  And amazingly, all of the crew members offer their services for free!  I see the warm fuzzies behind the idea, but don't these people have mortgages?

Whatever.  Starbright lives!  Jem says so.  And let's celebrate with a song!

Only - "Putting It All Together" is a really BAD song!  Even the video lacks creativity.  I mean, they could have used "Gettin' Down To Business" from episode three for this scene and it would have worked.  Oh well, they can't all be winners.

Video arrives late for the meeting and is outside setting up her equipment when Clash pulls up in her car taunting her.  It's also through this exchange that we learn that Clash's real name is Constance Montgomery!  I guess it fits, since she's a constance...ahem...constant pain. 

Luckily, the actress that plays Clash is anything but.  In today's piece of Jem Trivia, I reveal that Clash is voiced by Cathy Cavadini - who also voices Blossom on "The Powerpuff Girls"!

And, of course, Chatterbox Video lets Clash know that Jem is doing her own movie.  Naturally, the Misfits get wind of Jem's latest move, and they are none too pleased by it.  But Pizzazz has a plan.  She convinces Georgia to give Clash a makeover so that she can sneak onto the set of Jem's movie to sabotage it.  Georgia starts to show some hesitation, but Pizzazz threatens her.  And this is the person that Georgia wants to DEFEND?

Whatever the case, Georgia transforms Clash into Debbie Gibson, and I have to say that I can see why Georgia is a make-up artist.  She really made Clash unrecognizable.

Lindsey Pearce comes to Starlight Music to get some news on the Jem Project, and Howard Sands confirms that the film has a small budget, but a lot of heart.  Rio blabbers on about how he's the leading man of the film because his ego needs massaging.  Kimber and Aja reiterate the fact that nobody on the crew is taking a salary.  And Jerrica reveals that the soundtrack album for the movie will be released soon with all proceeds going towards the Starlight Girls - because if she mentioned that she was getting the money for Ba Nee, she'd have eleven other girls seething.

It seems like Project: Starbright is going very well.  I wonder how the Misfits movie is doing?

Well, at that moment, director Eric Raymond is absolutely angered at the fact that Pizzazz has brought on several orangutans and other creatures for the film shoot.  Okay, so far the Misfits movie contains a scene in outer space, a Mad Max inspired terrain, a Las Vegas casino, and now a jungle.  This movie sounds more bizarre than "Spice World".

But, I suppose the Misfits needed all those animals for their next video, which is coming on in T-minus 5, 4, 3...

I think it's funny that the Misfits released a song called "Welcome to the Jungle" a full year before Guns 'N Roses released their version.  But I must say, I do enjoy this one.  That's to the credit of Ellen Bernfield, who does Pizzazz's vocals.  She really delivers in this song.

Unfortunately, Dick Mann doesn't really deliver in his performance.  After getting spooked by a lion, Dick freaks out and throws Pizzazz into a lagoon, making her scream loudly and whatever remaining crew is at the movie burst into laughter.  Dick Mann takes out his frustration on Eric Raymond and whines that he was supposed to be the star of the show with JEM, and quits the film.  Oh, I wish Nelson Muntz was around with a Ha-Ha right about now.

Clash successfully infiltrates the soundstage of the Starbright Movie and does some minor sabotage, such as stealing costumes, lighting equipment, etc.  But when she overhears a conversation between Jeff and Video about the video tape of Jem's accident, Clash knows that she must get that tape back at all costs.

Back at the Misfits set, it seems as though the Misfits have become even more obnoxious, and their terrible attitudes are causing more staff members to flee.  Even Georgia has seen the band's true colours, and she walks off the set as well!

And, where does Georgia go?  Crawling back to the Starbright set and begging Jem and the others to forgive her for how badly she treated them.  Now, given Georgia's bad attitude, I wouldn't blame Jem for telling her to go fly a kite.  But Jem decides that Georgia is worth keeping around, and tells her that she's more than welcome to help.

The first thing Georgia does to help is out Clash!  When Georgia notices that Clash is stealing the videotape of Jem's accident from Video's camera bag. she recognizes her handiwork a mile away!  Furthermore, the rest of the crew have noticed the things that are missing, and Jem and the Holograms put two and two together.

Clash runs outside, hops into her car and thus launches the second high speed car chase of the series just eight episodes in.  Clash drives like a maniac, and she almost succeeds in killing Jem and the others by having them nearly get into an accident. 

But Jem realizes that she has a supercomputer on her side, and with help of the JemStar earrings, she projects a hologram of a fallen oak tree across the street that Clash is on, which causes her to spin out of control.  Nice idea for stopping the car, but I'm just saying that had she flipped the car and died, Jem would technically be charged with manslaughter at the very least.

But let's not think about that.  Clash is apprehended, the stuff is recovered, and Jeff rushes the tape to the movie unions.  Gee, I wonder how Pizzazz will react to this news?

I'm guessing not well.

It's time for the final scene to be shot for the Starbright Movie, and it's essentially a love scene between Jem and Rio.  It's a great display of walls of flowers, Jem's acting, and Rio's jealousy.  They have a minor argument in character, and nearly meet for their on-screen kiss when...

...oh, sweet Jesus...what is DICK MANN doing there?  Okay, I can maybe tolerate the Holograms giving Georgia another shot, but if Jem gives him another shot, this movie just may as well be shelved.  Even Rio threatens to quit the film if Dick comes back, which tells me that sometimes Rio can be just as much of a dick as he is. 

Ah, but fear not.  Jem has a plan.  Taking lessons from Aja about how to hit someone where it hurts, Jem simultaneously strokes his ego while stabbing it at the same time.  First she offers him a bit part, which makes him seethe.  And then when she announces that he will be working for free like everybody else, that makes Dick Mann prove how much of a dick he really is, and he storms off like a petulant child.  And somewhere on the radio, Steam is singing "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye".

Actually, that sounds like a good idea.  The scene concludes with Jem and Rio kissing, wrapping up the shoot as well as the video for the wonderful song, "People Who Care". 

"People Who Care" is really the first ballad that Jem and the Holograms have done...and while it does come across as a little's quite a nice song.  I like it.

That's a wrap, everyone!

And, contrary to what this screenshot implies, Ashley doesn't become a lesbian.  I think it's supposed to be a's just badly drawn.

Meanwhile, Pizzazz is lying on a sofa musing about how wonderful it is to be rich, famous, and gorgeous, and at first I'm thinking that this is just a normal day for Pizzazz...but it's actually a scene for their film.  Nice to see their modesty translating onto the big screen!

But their scene is interrupted by a group of people from the director's guild, acting guild, stuntman union, and some other Hollywood groups.  I don't know what they are, as I'm quite distracted by that one guy's mustache.  I mean, seriously...I've never seen one quite like it!  And because of all of the violations that were captured by Video's camera, the unions have put a stop to all filming!  Eric is notably upset, but the rest of the Misfits don't seem to really care.  Pizzazz was getting tired of the work anyway, and boasts that they have enough footage anyway.  Oh, I just love it when you can sense disaster right away!

Not even Harvey Gabor seems to take pride in his daughter's moves.  Furious by the fact that the film's budget has ballooned and appalled by the way that the staff members were treated by them, Harvey Gabor sells the studio out from Pizzazz's control and makes Howard Sands the new studio head.  Cue the temper tantrums from the Misfits!

Ba Nee's operation is up next, and we learn just how serious the situation is.  There's the possibility that Ba Nee's surgery won't work - which is bad enough - but Jerrica was forced to put up Starlight Mansion as collateral for the surgery!  If they don't get the money raised by a specific time, Jerrica could lose Starlight Mansion, which means that the Starlight Girls will be homeless.  Again.

And now, here we are.  The premieres of both "Starbright" and "The Misfits Make It Big"!  Although Shana is concerned at the large line outside of the Misfits movie, Kimber is more optimistic. 

The Misfits arrive in a limo for their premiere, and their fans want them to give them autographs.  Stormer at least attempts to try and get back, but Pizzazz and Roxy act like diva snobs. 

It appears as though the running time for the Misfits movie is slightly shorter than Starbright, and the fans that are still in line for the second showing of the film are eager to know what it was like.

To nobody's surprise, the moviegoers hated the Misfits film.  They said it was awful, it stunk, there was no Jem.  Part of me really wanted Hasbro to release versions of both films so that we could have a say in which film was better.   And, also I want to see just how much of a trainwreck the Misfits movie was!

Meanwhile, the people who saw Starbright loved the movie.  They really loved it!  They love it so much, they want to see it again!  And so do the people across the street at the Misfits movie!

To the shock of Pizzazz, Roxy, and Stormer, everyone runs over to the Starbright movie, and Jem and the others celebrate happily!  At this rate, I'd say that the girls should easily have the quarter of a million dollars to pay for Ba Nee's surgery.

See?  What did I tell you?

And, this episode ends with Jerrica treating Ba Nee to a special screening of Starbright at Starlight Mansion - a movie that Ba Nee remarks is the best thing she's ever seen.  I'm guessing this takes place weeks after Ba Nee's surgery.  At least, I assume, anyway.

So, what have we learned?  You can have a big box office movie without spending a bundle.  People will stand by you if you treat them with respect.  And, never use papier mache to make a log.  Seriously, this three-parter is absolutely well done, and I can see why so many fans list these episodes as their favourites.

Next week, the girls take part in a World Hunger Shindig.  And the Misfits want to satisfy their hunger by honing in on the action.  Maybe they just need a Snickers bar...

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