Not Fade Away Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ July 27, 2013
Another really good movie, ruined by a sad attempt at an ending. This ending may top all bad endings for me. Otherwise, up to that point it was very enjoyable, with good music, good acting, fun storyline, etc. I would have given it 4 to 4 1/2 stars. David Chase..what were you thinking with this? was that all you could come up with for an ending??
Super Reviewer
August 26, 2012
It is a strange choice to have the main character's little sister narrate the story. Not Fade Away is about a fictional band that never makes it big. As many others have said this movie is filled with cliches, but I think they are overcome by the character driven plot and great classic rock. The young romantic leads played by John Magaro and Bella Heathcote are stand out actors. It is about the connections between 60's rock music, films, tv, and literature really. The movie is successful in capturing the rebellious spirit that inspired many youth of this particular generation. Kids were consuming various media sources. The Rolling Stones, Orson Welles, The Twilight Zone, and college level works of literature influenced their worldviews.
Super Reviewer
½ October 14, 2012
Full disclosure: this unabashed tribute to the allure of rock n' roll is a bit of a shambles, but it's my kind of shambles. Every fame is richly designed and the soundtrack ranks among the most impressive ever compiled. This is a richly human film that I can already see myself watching many times over.
Super Reviewer
½ January 2, 2013
Good idea poorly executed. Chase creates a limp vanilla story out of a period in time that was so dynamic. And if you think he ended The Sopranos piss poorly wait until you see how he wraps this one up. Acting was totally forgetful but the soundtrack was superb courtesy of Steve Van Zant. 2013 gets off to a bad start! (1-2-13)
½ September 15, 2013
Wow! Just awful. One of those two-hours-I'll never-get-back movies. I'm guessing that this film is born from the nostalgia of "The Sopranos" writer-director David Chase. But, the movie just zig zags its way back and forth between the saga of a band that doesn't make the big time and family strife. The production values are very good, but Chase's writing and directing are too scatter shot. Plus, the irritating narrator chick and the WTF ending seal the deal.
February 23, 2014
This could have been great, but, despite the awesome soundtrack, it was mostly boring. Basically, I spent the entire movie either bopping back and forth to the music, or waiting for the next tune so I could get excited again. Some of the acting was pretty wooden, but mostly, I think it was just frustrating to see so many bad decisions and so many people being dicks to other people. Watch it for the music and you'll be good. The original song, "The Twylight Zones - The St. Valentine's Day Massacre" is awesome IMNSHO.
½ December 3, 2013
I'm surprised how this apparently was David Chase's passion project after doing The Sopranos; this is a story we've seen dozens of times in other movies, and nothing really stands out, even though this does feel like a very personal project for Chase. The problem is that he's about 30 years too late to make any of this feel fresh or original. I think the problem is that Chase is writing from a very nostalgic point of his own life, but is very cold directorially, and brings none of the warmth, say, Cameron Crowe brings to Almost Famous. I don't mean to compare the two, that's very unfair really, but I can't help but notice it. And maybe Chase was trying to say something very much different from Almost Famous, but unfortunately I can't tell what that is, and frankly I think its more his fault than mine.
½ October 18, 2013
Really enjoyed this movie; good performances & music. Also made me realize just how much the world of film is going to miss James Gandolfini.
½ July 10, 2013
Pretty bad movie. I don't think the point was shown too well. I expected more. But, the music was good.
May 16, 2013
I think what I liked most about this movie is that it was a pretty realistic portrayal of the vast majority of people who work in the music industry. There's no fast track to success, overnight star crap here. Unfortunately there's also not a whole lot of plot, but despite that I was interested anyway. I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about this since it got a lot of mixed reviews, but besides the fact that it was quite slow moving I enjoyed it. Having said that, I do think it's pretty much a prerequisite that you enjoy music and its history, otherwise you will probably find this film painfully boring.
½ April 30, 2013
mix 'that thing you do" with 'american grafetti' and 'eddie and the crusers' & new jersey = this one
February 3, 2013
David Chase, the creator of HBO's The Sopranos, steps behind the camera once again with this semi-autobiographical tale about life in 1960's New Jersey that is heavily influenced by rock-n-roll, rock-n-roll, rock-n-roll ... and parents. The writer-director bravely asks audiences to give another New Jersey household with James Gandolfini as head of the family a chance, as he tells his story of his early days in a rock band influenced by the burgeoning American music scene and the British Invasion. Chase's story centers upon his alter-ego Doug (John Magaro - Liberal Arts, The Box), a nerdishly-quiet, middle-class, not-so-popular student whose closest friends are all inspired and empowered by music (much to the dismay of his honest, working class father, Gandolfini). The boys form a band they call "The Twylight Zones" in tribute to the popular-at-the-time Rod Serling anthology series, The Twilight Zone (I said nerdish!). Gene (Jack Huston - 'Boardwalk Empire', Factory Girl) -- a spoiled wealthy boy who is used to getting his way -- assigns himself lead singer and doles out the remaining roles for the band. While the band hopes for big things, many of them never seem to really get it together (it doesn't help that some go off to college) which is evident at one of their first gigs at a fellow friend's party. As Gene suffers an unfortunate accident, Doug steps up to the microphone and surprises nearly everyone with far superior vocal skills (which leads to even more rifts between the band mates as the film progresses). I highly enjoyed this scene as Doug nailed his cover of the Rolling Stones' 1964 version of 'Time Is On My Side' ... also enjoying the moment is upper-class, popular-and-pretty Grace (Bella Heathcote - Dark Shadows, In Time). The film follows the deterioration of the band (Chase found another love in film so this is not a spoiler), the up-and-down relationship of Doug and Grace, and the tumultuous home lives this generation had with their parents as cultures clashed in ways they never had before. The acting on display is all fine and the soundtrack to the film is probably one of the best of the year (if you enjoy retro sound). The film ends up taking on too much and Chase still hasn't figured out how to conclude a story (groan); but most of Not Fade Away is enjoyable.
January 25, 2013
There's no bada-bing Jersey-ness here, despite Sopranos creator David Chase making his feature debut as writer and director, just a palpable appreciation for the spirit of rock and roll. Chase came of age in suburban New Jersey in the 1960's, taking in the sounds of the British invasion and performing covers of Buddy Holly and Rolling Stones classics in his garage, just like Douglas (John Magaro), the focus of Not Fade Away. Chase never really went beyond his garage with music, but here restless suburban teen Douglas does. And though Chase did not, rock and roll opened his mind to many possibilities in politics, tv, film et. al., leading him to trek west to L.A. as a television writer and producer, and become the man who made the Garden State the provocative center of his signature series. And his undying love for the music fills very frame of this wonderful debut.

Douglas and his mates, Eugene (the great Jack Huston of HBO's Boardwalk Empire) and Wells (Will Brill) face off for the attentions of Grace (Bella Heathcote, beautiful and based on Chase's sweetheart, Denise, and they're still married), all the while touchingly, and sometimes hilariously, making preparations for what they see as impending fame, but it never comes. While home from college, Douglas clashes with his square father (played by a superb James Gandolfini) who despises his hair and choice in shoes. While at a restaurant later, Dad lets spill a an affair and possible terminal illness, and that's when father and son make a riveting connection in the film's best scene. Chase is a natural with actors. Things stall when Not Fade Away has too much going on, and sometimes one subplot over takes another when it shouldn't. Chase is so determined to pack in so many personal moments the film begins to feel episodic, to its detriment. The music choices are top notch of course, courtesy of Steven Van Zandt of the E Street Band. A wonderful scene has Douglas and Grace watching Michelangelo Antonioni's masterpiece Blow Up and Douglas complain about the absence of music in a scene set in a park. 'The trees are the music,' Grace tells him. Grace gets it. It's the notes and secrets that lie between words and spaces and music that makes art live and breathe. Chase knows this too. His excellent, potent debut. With Not Fade Away, the title taken from a Buddy Holly classic, Chase shows, at 67, he's got a bright future in film. He's a filmmaker worth following anywhere.
½ January 11, 2013
The music is great and it's always nice to visit the 60s but nothing really happens and we never really get close enough to any of the characters to really pull for them.
½ January 6, 2013
What should and could've been a nice coming to age story turns into a confused pile of unneeded side plots, characters, a.. you know I could go on about how strange and out of place this film is, but in the end.. don't waste your time.
½ November 29, 2012
David Chase (the creator of the Soprano's) dives into film making and comes up a tad short. The era and music (late 60's) are very well represented as is the clash of cultures and generations. I thought this movie was heading somewhere when it suddenly stopped, in one of the more bizarre final scenes I've come across. It feels like this could have been an HBO mini-series but the final 2 episodes are missing.
January 4, 2013
There's family drama connected to national drama that happens in the 60's. If you love music from the 60's you will enjoy this. Not a movie that I would recommend. In theatres now.
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