Not Fade AwayHD Closed Captioning
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About the Movie
It’s the 1960s and Rock and Roll is changing the world. Inspired by a bold new era and his success in a local band, Douglas (John Magaro) drops out of college to pursue his musical dreams, only to discover the harsh realities of the music industry. Douglas is forced to choose between listening to his father or listening to his heart in a film Rolling Stone calls “A gritty, graceful salute to Rock & Roll”*.
*Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews
- Reviews Counted: 86
- Fresh: 60
- Rotten: 26
- Average Rating: 6.6/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Fresh: By focusing on musicians who are talented but finally not good or persistent enough to succeed in the big time, "Not Fade Away" offers a poignant, alternative, antiheroic history of the big beat.
Fresh: Rock & roll is here to stay. And David Chase gets some well-deserved satisfaction.
Fresh: Well-observed but occasionally disjointed, it's a film that's more about thematic tone, sound and images than it is driven by plot.
Rotten: Alas, Not Fade Away is far less pungent than the period it attempts to evoke.
A MUSIC DRAMA WITH HEART, BUT NOT QUITE ENOUGH DRIVE
David Chase, the creator of HBO's hit mob series "The Sopranos," has finally returned behind the camera with his first foray into feature filmmaking, "Not Fade Away," a music-driven, coming-of-age drama set in 1960s suburbia, at the height of rock and roll's massive popularity. And while it never truly comes close to matching the cultural stylings and thematic drama of the director's previous work, this insightful antiheroic indie film still offers a whole lot to enjoy and admire. It's the story of Douglas (John Magaro), a rebellious young kid from New Jersey on the brink of adulthood who drops out of college in order to pursue his musical dreams of becoming a rock star. Of course, nothing goes as planned on his road to success, and pretty soon, Douglas discovers the harsh realities of the music industry and is forced to choose between listening to his stern father (James Gandolfini) or his heart. Although, to be honest, none of his experiences in the film are particularly revelatory in any way. Douglas and his friends pretty much just chase girls, smoke weed, oppose the Vietnam War, and rebel against their parents for about the majority of the first hour. You know, the usual. It's a bit of a long and tired stretch, but it's carefully executed for the most part, with a few exceptionally strong performances delivered along the way. For one, Magaro brings a surprising amount of depth to this film's antihero, Douglas, who would otherwise probably be an entirely detestable character altogether. He's foolish, selfish, and oftentimes just an all-around jerk to his family and friends, making him particularly difficult to root for most of the time. But as the flick slowly progresses, Magaro lets the divisive character mature on his own until he at least becomes responsible enough to grow from his mistakes. Jack Huston, Bella Heathcote, Molly Price, Meg Guzulescu, and Brad Garrett round out the impressive supporting cast, but in the end, it's Gandolfini who really leaves a lasting impression as Douglas' no-nonsense working-class dad, Pat. The conversations they share together as father and son are both uneasily awkward, emotionally affecting, and even a bit humorous at times. Aside from the acting, this drama works best when it simply "fades away" from the central story taking place and instead intently focuses on the characters and their often consequential actions. This ambitious stray from narrative consistency never really pays off in the long run, but it definitely is a refreshing change of pace. I guess the most problematic issue that the movie ultimately suffers from is its apparent lack of urgency. The story itself feels like an overly earnest and formulaic tale many of us have seen before in other films, and there just aren't enough standout moments in the script to keep viewers consistently invested in the plights of most of the characters. On a brighter note, the classic rock music by such legendary artists as James Brown, The Rolling Stones, and Van Morrison is infectiously catchy and impeccably timeless. At the end of the day, "Not Fade Way" is a solidly crafted and decently enjoyable film for all that it's trying to accomplish: taking us back to the 1960s and reminding us of the classic music genre that influenced an entire generation of young, rebellious teens yearning to break free from the structure of their lives. Packed with nostalgic performances and a killer set of rock songs, the movie does a terrific job of immersing us with remarkable detail into the world of our young teen protagonists. Unfortunately, more often than not, the story feels largely unfocused and the main characters are never quite as poignant, relatable, or deeply rooted in realism as the director attempts to make them out to be. Still, despite its uneven script and infrequent narrative clichés, this is an honest, bittersweet indie flick full of humor, heart, and good, old-fashioned rock and roll. It may not appeal to the most impatient viewers, but it's at least worth a one-time watch for those interested in a coming-of-age tale for the young, burgeoning teen in all of us.
Chase avoided cliche so well on HBO...
with the Sopranos. He must have saved them all for this film. Just awful and lacking in any originality. Ouch.
this movie started out great & almost goes somewhere. then about 2/3 in it falls apart. it's like they just didn't know where to take the story & then the final scene makes u wish u hadn't watched it. too bad. could have been good.