David Chase, in his post-Sopranos
feature filmmaking debut, goes full-on semi-autobiographical, taking us back to New Jersey in the early '60s. His fictive stand-in is Douglas (spunk-filled newcomer John Magaro), a decent kid and aspiring drummer who gets hit with the rock bug when the British Invasion hits our shores. For all its wall-to-wall rock cues and archival performance clips, Not Fade Away
is really a quiet, nostalgic affair. Since Chase has a flair for being subtle when it comes to telling stories chock full of imploding moments, the movie has a somber, Paul Mazursky-esque tone. However, the most amusing thing about this movie is how Chase paints rock 'n' roll as a bigger menace to American society at the time than the Russians.
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While The Sopranos creator still has trouble knowing how to end a story, he does know how to pen a love letter to rock 'n' roll.