Not Fade Away

When a critic goes to see an advanced screening there is almost always a representative from the studio present to get their feedback. Critics are expected to give something more than “Good” or “Bad”. Once in a while there is a movie that is so deep that it’s difficult to adequately express how one feels about the movie. “The Sopranos” creator David Chase’s new movie, “Not Fade Away” is one such movie.

To even explain the plot of “Not Fade Away” is not easy, but basically it is about a group of friends from New Jersey who form a rock band and try to make it big during the 1960s. The lead singer of the band, Douglas (John Magaro) must also deal with issues within his family and personal life.

This is David Chase’s first offering since “The Sopranos” ended and it’s a very impressive outing. He’s written a script with rich characters, sharp dialogue, well connected scenes and makes good use of such devices like foreshadowing. “Not Fade Away” also features probably one of the best soundtracks since “Almost Famous”.


“Not Fade Away” is a deeply layered movie that will likely put off as many moviegoers as it intrigues. There are many points in the movie where you are unsure what direction it is trying to take. The movie takes place over the course of many years, but no titles appear to let you know time has passed. It is usually done by showing different holiday times. It can be Christmas in one scene and Thanksgiving is coming up in the next, so you know 11 months have passed. It’s actually comforting to see a director acknowledge that his audience is filled with intelligent people who don’t need everything explained to them.

David Chase shows he has skills both as an actor’s director and as a technical one. He does little things like have a close-up on one character’s ear while they are listening to a piece of music. There are great performances from all the actors, many of whom are no names you will probably recognize, and it shows he has an eye for talent. The biggest name in the movie probably belongs to James Gandolfini who plays Douglas’ father and suffers though his own personal demons in the movie.

If you read David Chase’s biography on IMDb you will discover that “Not Fade Away” must have been somewhat autobiographical. He too formed a band and was the drummer while growing up in New Jersey. At one point in the movie Douglas considers going to film school, so maybe “he”, Douglas, is the one who made this movie. It is rated R for pervasive language, some drug use, smoking and sexual content.