Friday, January 4, 2013

Not Fade Away

Not Fade Away, James Gandolfini, John Magaro, the '60s

Not Fade Away is the first film from David Chase, who created and produced the acclaimed TV series The Sopranos. The film follows Doug (John Magaro) as he moves from suburban New Jersey to New York City with dreams of starting a band with his friends. The film takes place in the 1960s, during the height of a rock-and-roll period filled with new acts like The Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Although the movie has a great soundtrack, it tends to jump and use quick transitions, and in the process it becomes more lackluster than unique.

Doug (Magaro) graduates from high school and starts a band with some of his friends. His father (James Gandolfini) disapproves of the band, but as long as Doug goes to college, he's fine with it - for now. Doug comes back from his first semester of college looking like "someone off the boat," as his father repeatedly calls him, and he wants to record a demo with the band and try to make the band his main source of income, dropping out of college in the process. He eventually hooks up with Grace (Bella Heathcote), a girl he had a crush on in high school, and they dream of moving to L.A. and trying to succeed there. Doug's parents discourage this dream, as they don't think it will amount to anything, but Doug wants to at least try and make the band work.

John Magaro (Doug) played a school shooter in a 2007 indie movie called The Life Before Her Eyes, based on a book that one of my college professors wrote - if you haven't seen it, definitely seek it out, because it's fantastic - and I was curious to see if I would "buy" him as a rock star hopeful. However, he does well in this role. James Gandolfini, probably the most famous in the movie, is good as well, as Doug's father and someone of the more "old school" persuasion.

Maybe see this film. If you like the music of the '60s and want to experience a bit of nostalgia, you may enjoy Not Fade Away  The soundtrack is solid, but I found the rest of the movie to be lacking in parts, and I didn't like how the film often cut to new scenes without wrapping up what was going on in the previous scene; the ending is definitely an example of this as well. The cast did well with what they were given, and the movie does tell a complete story from beginning to end, for the most part, but I would have liked to have had more closure at the end and also more of a solid plot overall.

Not Fade Away is in theaters today, January 4th, and is rated R with a runtime of 112 minutes. 3 stars out of 5.

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