Re: Blockbuster fight & sympathy for AJ

#41
Fly, I totally agree with your assessment of AJ. I myself have been a little taken aback as to why so many are so vicious of AJ. Sure, at times he is an ass, but he is as you described, and I felt immensely sorry for him during the scene when he was very enthusiastic about investing into that sports drink, yet when they were only interested in his father he was rejected. It was like he didn't even warrant existence. He got in the club because of his father, his friends because of his father, the girls because of his father, etc.

He is fundamentally a good boy, who is trying to adapt to this mob world that he isn't compatible with. I do feel really sorry for his character, and would rather he end up in a good life and Tony go to hell then him dying and Tony finding redemption...

Come to think of it, the Tony/AJ arc is a storyline I am immensely interested in. How did Tony raise his heir when he was so faulty himself? How will he save AJ, his only son?

If I know Chase, he isn't going to let AJ go the Jackie Jr. route. That would be a retread, and did he learn nothing from Jackie Jr? <img src=http://www.ezboard.com/images/emoticons/wink.gif ALT=";)">

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Re: Blockbuster fight & sympathy for AJ

#43
I also agree with FOMW about those ragging on AJ. I often see a lot of parallels between my father and Tony Soprano (not the mafia part, but the depression, "sad-clown" aspects) and have been self-shocked in the past seeing interaction between Tony and AJ mirror my own relationship with my father. That said, even though AJ is kinda of "punk kid", I think there are a lot of fathers (and sons) that can identify with the personality of AJ and what a struggle it is for Tony to raise him to do good knowing he (Tony) has done so much bad.

I think the knife scene in BlockBuster was to also re-emphasize the fact that AJ has a hard time differentiating between fact and fiction. He gets some caught up in movies and what not that he misses the fact that this is supposed to be entertainment. Right now, Tony is also doing his own differentiating between two sides. Tony commented about killing Vito that "some people like having the drama while others want to whack anybody" (relating to the parts most people love to see in mob entertainment - especially this one), while it's Tony who must face the facts (and consequences) of killing someone and living with not only "taking care of his wife and family" but also the guilt and shame of knowing what you did was wrong.

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Re: Blockbuster fight & sympathy for AJ

#44
Yes, I saw the knife business at Blockbuster's as AJ's continued confusion of reality and fantasy. The movie he and his friend were watching was 'The Hunted,' and if I remember correctly, a character in that film trains another on how to kill.

I watched again this ep again and paid particular attention to the Tony and AJ scene. I ended up transcribing the whole thing because I loved the dialogue so much:

Tony: Stupid fuckin' moron. You realize what could have happened to you? if we didn't have connections? Some cop goes by the book and they charge you with attempted murder. You hear me? Attempted murder. Then what? Then what?

AJ: Junior shot you! You just gonna let him fuckin get away with it?!

T: I told you that's MY business, not yours. And what did you do? Nothing. Zero. A big fuckin jerkoff.

AJ: Fuck you!

T: Why you little... break your fuckin neck. [AJ crying] Stop crying. Stop crying.... I guess your heart was in the right place, AJ. But it's wrong. Come on.

AJ: What?!

T: It's not in your nature.

AJ: You don't know me. You don't know anything about me.

T: You're a nice guy, and that'a a GOOD thing, for christsakes.

AJ: Bullshit.

T: I mean it. You're a good guy. I'm very grateful.

AJ: Well you're a fucking hypocrit. Like everytime we watch Godfather, when Michael Corleone shoots those guys in the restaurant, those assholes who tried to kill his dad -- You sit there with your fuckin bowl of ice cream and you say it's your favorite scene of all time.

T: Jesus Christ, AJ. You make me wanna cry. It's a movie. You gotta grow up. You're not a kid anymore. You gotta grow up.

[AJ vomits/dry heaves]

When I first watched this, I thought Tony's lines -- "And what did you do? Nothing. Zero. A big fuckin jerkoff." -- were referring to AJ's behavior while Tony was in a coma. When I rewatched I thought he was talking about the botched assassination of Junior. I now think it was left deliberately ambiguous so we could take it either way and, more importantly, so Tony could intend it either way. Maybe he was really referring to how AJ acted while T was in a coma, but subconsciously he was disappointed that AJ f'd up the murder.

It's amazing to see how Tony changes within this short scene. First he's mad at AJ for getting into trouble, then he chastises him for being a jerkoff. But he sees his son in tears (telling him to stop, and maybe telling HIMSELF not to cry), and he, almost imperceptively, makes an about-face, softens up. He tells AJ that his heart is in the right place and that what he tried to do was wrong. AJ is aghast, but Tony continues to affirm that AJ is a good person AND that it's good to be good. He thanks AJ for thinking he was doing the right thing.

I never got the feeling that Tony was going thru the motions, that he was trying to convince himself that AJ was good or that it's better to be morally upright. I believe he really feels that way. True, he still has lapses (like with Julianna), but he truly has changed significantly.

He knows that people are inherently good. (Is that a Buddhist principle?) He believes in AJ's goodness and wants to encourage that.

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Re: The confrontation between AJ and Tony

#45
really enjoy reading the comments in this thread.

I just saw the full episode tonight ( i was interrupted on sunday and only saw the last 20 minutes) it's amazing how much you lose without seeing the full episode. I thought I got the general gist of what happened because I saw the AJ-Tony scene, but now that I saw the buildup - I view it quite differently. (i totally take back my earlier suggestion that AJ maybe is simply a sociopath)

one thing that struck me was Elliott asking Melfi if Tony had cried or reported any crying --- and then later Tony screaming at AJ not to cry - and then of course, Tony just seconds later saying AJ made him want to cry ... (with Junior as the backdrop of both scenes)

AJ the 'double,' in spite of his current confusion and angst, really does seem to be serving as a kind of guide for Tony, mirroring what he can't or won't see in himself. IMHO Tony isn't repulsed by AJ's crying, puking - he's terrified of it.

in the main thread, DarnedGoodCoffee noted, quite correctly IMO, how AJ is a true innocent. so in that sense he's there as a constant reminder to Tony of his own lost innocence.

does Tony, figuratively speaking, allow AJ to see him cut off a guy's finger? or does he go a different route, one that forces him to seriously confront his own conflicted feelings about his lifestyle? or does he keep trying to have it both ways ? a path that I'm afraid is most likely and will lead to tragedy and continue the cycle of panic attacks, despair in the Soprano bloodline

finally, sorry in advance if this sounds corny or pretentious -but there's been a lot of buddhist references this season and the scene between Tony and AJ reminded of how -- IMHO -- it's sometimes much harder in life to take the perceived 'soft'' or 'weak' route (like cry or reach out or remain passive) than the 'hard' more aggressive/violent route (shutting down)

AJ as teacher, grasshopper. <img src=http://www.ezboard.com/images/emoticons/smile.gif ALT=":)">


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Re: The confrontation between AJ and Tony

#46
<hr />I just watched the scene between Tony and AJ in the parking lot and may have gained a new insight. It was immediately after Tony tells AJ, "You have to grow up" that AJ doubled over and got sick. What's the significance?

The writers of this scene must have gone over this sequence many, many times. From first draft to the final shooting script, I would guess that the writers together with D. Chase refined and rewrote this scene many times to get it into the exact shape they want.

I think AJ is terrified of growing up and/or refuses to accept the responsibilities of growing up. He has always considered himself a kid and desperately refuses to face the possibility of life as an adult. Have you ever heard him express his vision for life as a grown up? I think he insists on living his life exactly as he lives it now. He has no interest in planning for life outside his family home. To some extent, he is happy with the way things are now and refuses to consider living any other way. The thought terrifies him. Too bad they never showed him acting in a school production of Peter Pan.

If this is correct, AJ is doomed to living for a while in this fantasy land where he dumps his dirty clothes on the floor of his room and they magically appear a few days later as clean clothes hanging in his closet or neatly arranged in his drawer.

So, perhaps he's caught in a kind of dilemma. If he can't live as Tony Soprano's son, what does he think is his identity?

Two things cause him to have physical attacks - facing the reality that he must grow up and that he has no identity aside from being Tony's son. If he does grow up, who will he be? As life inevitably forces him to move out and grow up, he will have to try to do something to establish his own identity. Unfortunately, barring some kind of miracle. it is most likely going to be something else like the stunt with Junior.

</p>Edited by: <A HREF=http://p098.ezboard.com/bthechaselounge.showUserPublicProfile?gid=splishak>Splishak</A> at: 5/3/06 4:12 am

Re: The confrontation between AJ and Tony

#47
All I say is that scene between AJ and those two guys pitching their gatorade, and AJ thinking he's got a shot but they don't give a shit about him only his dad. Man, I feel so bad for that character cause of his crushed face afterwards. Nobody regards him as anything ("You have been a cross to bear"). Heads up to Robert Iller, doing some great work this season (and in the whole series, as his character realistically acts similar and grows accordingly at the same time)...

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Re: The confrontation between AJ and Tony

#48
at this point i could definitely see AJ killing himself because he doesnt feel like he has anywhere to run. but maybe more in that cry for help way that accidently works...

i fear for the end of this season. it keeps reminding me somehow of a clockwork orange where we see an individual become basically reformed and then get the ever loving shit beaten out of him by life and other people, forcing him to return to his old ways.

how much can the new tony take before the old tony is forced out of retirement to kick some ass? the death of a son? hmm..

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