NOT FADE AWAY
(directed by David Chase, 2012)
***+ (out of 5)
> Though it barely registered at the box office, this David Chase film (the genius behind The Sopranos), was a total delight to watch. I was glad to see this great talent step outside of the gangster genre, with a warm film about the rise and fall of one of the hundreds of thousands of American rock ’n’ roll bands that never break through to success.
. It’s a family story really, a coming-of-age tale about the societal pressures that divide a “straight” father and a “counterculture” son. It should come as a surprise to no one that the father is wonderfully played by Mr. Chase’s familiar leading man James Gandolfini, in a warm, human performance that makes one miss his talent woefully. The unfamiliar young man playing his rebellious son (John Magaro in his first big, breakout role), just got better and better as his character grew and developed. The soundtrack is slammin’ under the musical direction of the sublime Stevie van Zandt- familiar as ‘Paulie’ of The Sopranos and as the long-time guitarist in Bruce Springsteen’s E Street band. (Also present in the soundtrack: fellow band member drummer-drummer extraordinaire Max Weinberg.)
. NOT FADE AWAY is a fine slice-of-life film with real heart and a great sense of time and place: New Jersey in the early 1960’s. The influence of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones permeates every frame of the film, infusing it with an energy that is irresistible. (A personal high spot for me: the main character goes browsing for vinyl LP’s in a “Wallach’s Music City” record shop. I bought my very first record in such a store: the original Veejay pressing of Meet the Beatles. Sure wish I had it now! If the package is in good condition, such copies are worth a fortune now!)
. Sweet, toe-tapping nostalgia, this.
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