Not Fade Away :: Lunch and a Movie

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Lunch & a Movie Series :: Not Fade Away

A new weekly feature to be added to lyriquediscorde is a movie series that will chronicle a weekly movie choice watched during my lunch hour at work, over two days, usually via Netflix.

These are movies that are both new to me and selected by browsing the cover art and brief synopsis, the way I once picked out a movie to watch at the now extinct video rental store. I’ve been watching movies on Monday and Tuesday at lunch for awhile now and realized that a good portion of the movies are little known/indie/not wide released films that I enjoyed, and may be ones that others would enjoy, too, so why not make it a feature.

I’d love movie recommendations, too. Preferably movies that are available to stream online, as I am watching these on either my phone or tablet, and not via a blu-ray, DVD or media file.

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Not Fade Away (2012)
Written & Directed by David Chase
Watched on Netflix 

Trailer

About the MovieNot Fade Away is a 2012 drama film and the directorial debut of The Sopranos creator David Chase. It was released on December 21, 2012

Brief SynopsisSet in suburban New Jersey in the 1960’s, a group of friends form a rock band and try to make it big.

In his late teens, Douglas Damiano (John Magaro) lives with his father Pat (James Gandolfini), who suffers from mycosis fungoides and is physically rough with Douglas; with his mother Antoinette (Molly Price), who frequently grows hysterical and threatens suicide, and with his sister Evelyn (Meg Guzulescu), the film’s narrator.

Douglas sees his friend Eugene Gaunt (Jack Huston) singing and playing lead guitar for a band in high school and resolves to join the band to earn the affections of a girl named Grace Dietz (Bella Heathcote). Douglas gets his chance when the band’s current drummer is drafted into Vietnam. In the wake of the “British Invasion”, Gene is trying to remodel his band after The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, and he believes Douglas is suited to this style.

Gene is initially the lead singer and guitarist, with Wells on rhythm guitar and Douglas on drums and backup vocals. However, one night at a party Gene accidentally swallows a joint, while trying to smoke it through a toilet paper roll and is unable to sing. Douglas takes over on lead vocals—the band’s members later agree that he is superior to Gene. Gene is eventually asked to leave the band.

Douglas gets involved with Grace after a couple of heart-to-heart conversations. They have their ups and downs, mainly centered on Douglas’ jealousy stemming from his shyness and low self-esteem from his High School years.

We meet Grace’s sister, an intriguing character who gets deeply invested in the counter-culture movement, and eventually ends up being committed to a mental institution by hers and Grace’s parents.

People grow and change. Douglas’ father gets ill, and at one point has a rare moment of his connection with Douglas in which he divulges a secret involving a woman he loves who is not Douglas’ mother, and his ultimate choice to stay in his marriage, forgoing a chance at love.

Douglas and Grace end up moving to Los Angeles, We see a brief glimpse of his new life there, and then the movie ends, in a rather surreal way, with Douglas’ sister, the narrator, breaking the fourth wall and asking the audience a question about war and music.

All in all, it is a coming-of-age in a very distinct era, with rock’n’roll and the Vietnam war as a backdrop, and at times, as plot.

Last Lover Standing

Why I chose it: I am a huge fan of music movies, as well as coming-of-age dramas. I was also interested in James Gandolfini’s role, as well as Jack Huston’s role.

My thoughts in three sentences: An interesting look at the sixties in suburbia through the narrow lens of a family, a son, his dreams, and his band. Too male-centric for a story narrated by a female; I wanted more flushed out characters, most especially with the key females in the story – Grace, Joy and Antoinette. Awesome soundtrack though, as well as some great performances by Gandolfini, Huston (though I would have liked more of his/his character, too) and John Magaro.

Best: I loved the music and the struggles that growing-up and trying to build something with friends create. I really enjoyed the character of Joy, Grace’s sister, and wished they had explored her character more. I enjoyed the moments of growth we saw in the father, James Gandolfini, especially when we saw him step out of his expected role and peel back his surfaces. He was such a sad character, hard to take at times, but at other times I felt tremendous empathy for him.

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Worst: The end. It did not fit to me at all. We had never had any surreal moments. We had voice-over narration, but nothing that seemed to be unrealistic. It felt like it belonged in a different movie and left me feeling unsettled. I also wish they had flushed out Grace more. She was mostly utilized as an object of desire and contention, never letting us see more of who she was, and what her feelings about life, self and her relationships (especially with Douglas and her sister) were. Also, this whole story was narrated by Douglas’ sister, yet you never got to see who she was. I would have liked to have seen that, too. In short, the movie could have used more female characterization.

Rating (out of 5): 3

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