DVD Review: Not Fade Away

STUDIO: Paramount | DIRECTOR: David Chase | CAST: James Gandolfini, Brad Garrett, Christopher McDonald, Molly Price, John Magaro, Jack Huston, Will Brill
BLU-RAY & DVD RELEASE DATE: 4/30/2013 | PRICE: DVD $19.99, Blu-ray $29.99
BONUSES: deleted scenes, “The Basement Tapes,” featurette
SPECS: R | 112 min. | Drama | 1.78:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital 5.1/DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 | English, French and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

 

 

A dream project for writer/director David Chase, creator of The Sopranos, the film drama Not Fade Away, his firest feature film, is a coming-of-age saga set in North Jersey in the mid-1960s.

Not Fade Away movie scene

Rock'n'roll lives in Not Fade Away.

The movie focuses on Douglas (John Magaro, My Soul to Take), a teen obsessed with music by Bo Diddley and British invaders The Rolling Stones and The Kinks. Magaro seeks a rock-and-roll lifestyle and career with bandmates Gene (Jack Huston, TV’s Boardwalk Empire) and Wells (Will Brill, King Kelly). Along the way, Douglas gets into dust-ups with his disciplinarian father (James Gandolfini) and a relationship with a pretty classmate (Bella Heathcote, Dark Shadows), both of which also play important parts in his anecdotal, sometimes humorous/sometimes poignant adventures.

But it’s the music—both in terms of the film and the characters—that really counts. E Street Band perennial and Sopranos co-star Steven Van Zandt served as executive producer and music supervisor  and for the soundtrack he’s culled an eclectic mix of off-the-cuff rock numbers from the likes of the Stones, Moody Blues, James Brown, Van Morison and The Rascals.

With a rambling story and more focus on mood and characters than on plot, it’s no surprise that Not Fade Away faded from theaters quickly. But those curious about the next move from Chase, the period the film depicts, or the power of rock music will find that this one works its musical magic in unusual, subtle ways.

Among the bonus features is “The Basement Tapes,” a three-piece making-of featurette that clocks in at approximately 30 minutes. Broken down into a trio of  “tracks”—“The Boys in the Band,” “Living in the Sixties,” and “Hard Art,” the supplement covers the film’s origins as per Chase, the musical training the actors undertook for their roles, the physical production and the film’s era and music and the influence of the period of the film.

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About Irv

Irv Slifkin has been reviewing movies since before he got kicked off of his high school radio station for panning The Towering Inferno in 1974. He has written the books VideoHound’s Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films of the Psychedelic Era and Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies, and has contributed film reportage and reviews to such outlets as Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Video Business magazine and National Public Radio.