Re: James Gandolfini Dead!

For a guy who used to write lengthy recaps of “The Sopranos” I’m really struggling to recap the life of James Gandolfini. I’d like to do him justice, but the news is still surreal to me, so I’m still all over the place. Mi scusi.

After all, my first, and lasting, impression of him was as Tony Soprano. I later went back and collected his movies, because I so admired him in The Sopranos. Admittedly, it was hard for me to break him away from the Tony Soprano character. In “Get Shorty” not once, but twice, John Travolta beats him up, and I’m thinking, “Freakin’ c’mon, Tony Manero/Danny Zuko actually gets the best of Tony Soprano? Fuhgeddaboudit.”

Even though we saw Vito Corleone in a hospital bed after being shot, we never saw him as a weak man. Vito didn’t apologize for his life; he did what he had to do for his family to survive. Gandolfini’s Tony Soprano had to seek counseling in order to function, a huge violation of Vito’s code of not letting someone outside the family what he was thinking . Two months after the show premiered, THE definitive “mob guy,” Robert DeNiro, played Paul Vitti in “Analyze This,” also about a Don who goes to a psychiatrist, but that was obviously played for comic relief.

Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, tough guys, but still typical “mini-Guineas,” guys 5’7” – 5’8”. (All my Italian relatives on my mother’s side, and my NJ in-laws are the same size or a little smaller.) DeNiro and Pacino were convincingly intimidating not by their physicality, but through the force of their will, the no-nonsense look in their eyes. The first thing that stood out to me about Tony Soprano was his size. Being of very similar stature to me (not that that’s a good thing), I identified with him on that level. There was the same intense look in his eyes that DeNiro or Pacino had, but it was backed up by a man who could pick you up and throw you.

Gandolfini may have been surprised that he got the role because he didn’t have your typical leading man, handsome, charismatic look, but Gandolfini was the show. There was a very perverse dichotomy to the Tony Soprano character. At his core, Tony Soprano was a sociopath with a misguided sense of morality. He was a tortured soul, and deserved to be. At the same time, Gandolfini managed to make him sympathetic and very likeable, a guy you rooted for to succeed. The show was so far and above any show I had ever seen before, or since, the only way I could take it all in, was to try to write it down, in order for me to process it.

To his considerable credit, Gandolfini, the man, by all accounts didn’t let all the acclaim and success go to his head. HBO gave him a hefty pay raise for his character, and he cut each of his coworkers a healthy six-figure check gift while their contracts were being renegotiated. He visited our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq and asked for their autographs, considering them the real heroes.
Fade to black. ... r_embedded

Re: James Gandolfini Dead!

Hey Guys, havent posted for a while but still read the old posts quite a lot, heard late last night (uk time) about the big man man and am gutted, its even stranger since in the last few months I have turned a good friend of mine onto the genius that is the Sopranos and we are up to the last few episodes, so it is going to be interesting to to see how James Ganolfini's passing will affect her interpretation of the infamous final episode.

So thank you Mr Gandolfini for the hours of pleasure you have given to us all, you will continue to make us laugh, cry and everything in between for years to come.

Re: James Gandolfini Dead!

After all,I don't know what to say.You guys have already said everything.I feel like I lost a family member.English is not my first language and it's giving me a problem when I write posts here.But I always find the way to say what I think.Well,today is very difficult for me to express what I feel in the heart.So,I'll just say this: Rest in peace big guy,I'll miss you and you will never be forgotten.

Re: James Gandolfini Dead!

So shocked and saddened over this news that has still not sunk in yet. James Gandolfini was a brilliant actor who gave us so much viewing pleasure for so many years, and not just in The Sopranos. His death is so unexpected, so untimely, and so very sad. My heart goes out to his family and friends at this terrible time - his loss is a real tragedy for them and for the world of movies and television. I'll never be able to watch Sopranos reruns quite the same way again. There will never be another like him. RIP James Gandolfini.

Re: James Gandolfini Dead!

mutualdream wrote:I have this in my DVD player. But I can't bring myself to press play.
Same here, but with The Sopranos. I always watch it over and over, so I was mid-series before this, I don't know when I'll be able to bring myself to step back into it with this news. I haven't seen Not Fade Away yet either. It will be so bittersweet. This is an emotional ride I couldn't have imagined, even had I imagined someone very integral to the cast passing away. [Which I never had.] I am shocked at my own reaction. But I see in the news and on the internet, that myself, and this community here, are not the only ones. This is crazy.

Fly, for some reason I felt comfort in the fact that your post, as far as I can see, was the first post about this news.
I too am so overcome to know many long time members have come back here.

I am new, but have lurked for a few years. I have always loved the sense of community here, even with very few members posting.

This site right now is a much needed therapeutic outlet. Thank you again Fly.

Re: James Gandolfini Dead!

FlyMeToTheMoon wrote: I'll never be able to watch Sopranos reruns quite the same way again.
As others have also alluded to, that's how I feel. I haven't watched a full episode in several years now, I watched them so many times for so long. But I'm not sure I COULD watch one right now, and if I could, the fact that the man behind Tony is "gone" would be a constant distraction. Not sure when that will change.
Tony, his spirits crushed after b-lining to the fridge first thing in the morning: "Who ate the last piece of cake?"

Re: James Gandolfini Dead!

scrappie, our posts crossed, but it's not surprising that we were responding to the same thing, wondering how and when we will ever be able to watch another Sopranos episode. I'm sure it will happen, but the context will be forever changed.
Tony, his spirits crushed after b-lining to the fridge first thing in the morning: "Who ate the last piece of cake?"

Re: James Gandolfini Dead!

I started watching The Sopranos after it finished but became a bit addicted to it. I've watched it at least five times all the way through and have been coming here for the last few years, it was only last week that I decided I would actually make an account to see if I could add anything to the episode reviews that you have.

Despite not posting before, I am very familiar with a lot of you and am a big fan of a lot of your analysis and input. Thank all of you for increasing my enjoyment of this wonderful show.

I've never felt so shell-shocked over the passing of a celebrity figure before. This is a man I've never met, and most times I did see him he was playing a character which was not like his own personality.

Still, as others have pointed out, it was Jame Gandolfini's deep humanity that made me keep watching. The man elevated what was already a fantastic story with his great talent and deep emotional intelligence. He made these stories grip me in ways I never thought ever possible, least of all from a TV show. As Chase said in his tribute, he was a genius. A true artist.

It feels like a punch in the gut. For selfish reasons, I can't help but feel robbed of what he would have done next. He made fantastic decisions with the roles he took and he was a man who only lent his talents to those projects he deemed worthy. A fantastic and very credible actor.

I am just so thankful to have seen this artist at work. Despite never knowing him, he brought me so much joy and he truly enhanced my life. As little as it might matter, I will always remember what he gave the world and will hold it dear. My thoughts are with his family.

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