FlyOnMelfisWall wrote:Definitely, AJColossal. I just don't think it's possible that anything else he does will have the kind of "lightning strike" appeal of the Sopranos because that phenomenon was a classic example of all kinds of factors -- many well beyond Chase's or anyone else's control -- coalescing to unite public interest with creative interests and corporate financial interests.
That won't be the case with either of these next two projects, although I'm sure there will be a lot of critical attention given to them because of the reputation Chase established among the "cognoscenti" as a true and consummate artist. I would expect very modest box office success (i.e., profitability) for the film, partly because it will be a fairly low budget movie by today's standards. But I can't imagine Chase doing anything that isn't at least mildly interesting to the core fans that appreciated all the subtleties in humor, character development, and film-making that Chase brought to the Sopranos.
Couldn't have put it better, AJ & Fly! And having just gottten the DVD and seeing it yesterday (twice with plans to see it again very soon) it's to be as expected from those who know what kind of artist he truly is - Brilliant yet certainly not mainstream-friendly. $20 million to make yet only has yielded about $600K so far. It was barely in any theatres when it was released just before Christmas and the theaters it was shown in seemed to pull it out before the New Year already. Can only hope that DVD sales cut the losses. Pretty obvious the passion Chase has for music. It only makes sense his film debut has him giving his semi-autobiographical take on how that very passion of his was shaped growing up in North Jersey in the '60s. Chase chooses the most sensible starting point for the film - just weeks after JFK's assassination on the eve of the British Invasion (actually, I think first 2 or 3 scenes are set in '62, sorry) - and takes the still-in-high-school lead character, Doug, his drumset, and the band that he'll very soon join, into the 'times-a-changin' journey ahead ending off at about a year past the Summer of Love. A scene that has Doug asking his girlfriend in a movie theatre why the independent film they're seeing doesn't have an orchestra to alert the viewer with her response being that "the trees are the music" is an obvious nod to Chase's approach as an artist.
James Gandolfini plays the role as Doug's father. Safe to say the character is Tony Soprano if he was born 40 years earlier but as a 'working-stiff' instead. Like T, he also never left North Jersey and is quite a ball-breaker to his son quite like he was to AJ, giving him a hard time upon he coming home from college for the first time sporting a Dylan mop saying (more than just once in the film) he looks like he just came off the boat at Ellis Island amongst other one-liners reminiscent of the ones directed at AJ. There also is a scene, quite touching by the way, where he's eating ice cream on his living room couch while watching an old movie, South Pacific ('Bali Ha'i' playing). Molly Price's performance as the hysterical mother always talking suicide begs one at ask why she herself never had a role on the Sopranos.
Stevie Van Zandt's collaboration with Chase as music supervisor and exec producer is quite vital to this period-piece. A key example, to me, is a two-scene sequence with Left Banke's 'Pretty Ballerina' backdropping the former, Mother Earth's 'Down So Low' the latter - my favorite sequence of the entire film. Van Zandt also writes a song for the film, 'The St Valentine's Day Massacre', serving as an original song written by Doug which he and the band end up performing.
Robert Funaro ('Eugene') sporting a mustache actually and Louis Mustillo ('Sal Vitro') are two Sopranos guys playing bit roles each as uncles of Doug's with Christopher McDonald playing a slightly bigger role than both as the father of Doug's girlfriend. You're right, Corky. Chris McDonald is quite underrated being good in even the bad roles he's in. A shame he didn't have a much bigger role in Sopranos other than that very brief appaearance (a single episode, one diner scene, I believe) as one of Christopher's rehab partners. Jack Huston from Boardwalk Empire plays a role as a key member in the band that Doug joins.
I'm sure nobody on these boards will be disappointed with 'Not Fade Away', especially if you don't go into it expecting a 'smooth', 'easy' viewing. A film I can compare this with - a counter-point perhaps - is one that was released at the same time as this one back in December and by another big name, Judd Apatow. That film being 'This is 40'. Over 2 hours, actually, this film also doesn't play by 'the rules'. Same can be said for his 'Funny People' as well. Brilliant works, just not commercially appealing nor at all tries to be. Just like Chase will likely never hit paydirt like he did with Sopranos again (unless he does a prequel which I do think, actually, will lore the ma$$es back in) looks like Apatow will never have a '40 Year Old Virgin' again either. And that's fine with me.