"Too Uncool for School"
NOT FADE AWAY is the first feature movie written and directed by David Chase, creator of the seminal HBO series THE SOPRANOS and a producer on the acclaimed ROCKFORD FILES series in the 1970s starring James Garner. NOT FADE AWAY is the semi-autobiographical drama of a garage rock n roll band singer who faces conflicts with his father, family and girlfriend as his first glimmers of success affect his life choices. It has a strong Romantic worldview, with strong scenes of substance abuse by teenagers, slightly tempered by a positive, touching resolution of the father-son conflict.
Douglas is a largely naïve high school student in New Jersey during the Mid 1960s. Douglas plays the drums and is in awe of the Rolling Stones as they achieve their first American mass success. Although he’s started his own rock band practicing in his family’s garage, Douglas maintains plans to join the Army after high school for college funds. His blue-collar father, Pat, approves this plan.
However, Douglas discovers he has a better singing voice than a friend who started as the lead singer. He takes over and the band starts drawing attention. Achieving this new attention and respect, Douglas must deal with the jealousy from others that arises. He also has difficulties dealing with the complexities of his first serious romantic, sexual relationship. When he goes away to college, Douglas finds himself drifting into the decade’s longhair and peace movement.
All this causes great disappointment in his father Pat, especially when Douglas announces he’s quitting college to pursue rock and roll full time. [SPOILERS FOLLOW] However, when Pat sees his son has a hit on the radio and a real chance to succeed in Los Angeles, he accedes to his son’s dream. Pat reconciles with his son and even gives him some cash to start anew with his girlfriend in L.A.
NOT FADE AWAY should be a lot more exciting or interesting than it is. Especially considering it was written and directed by the acclaimed TV writer and producer David Chase (THE SOPRANOS, I’LL FLY AWAY, THE ROCKFORD FILES). Chase makes NOT FADE AWAY too languorous in its pacing. He focuses more on emotional moments and thoughtful interludes rather than plot. Movies are different than TV drama in that way. The movie’s even bigger weakness is that the main band it’s trying to depict isn’t really very good. This band probably would never draw the kind of strong buzz that they do in the context of the movie’s storyline. The actors do a fine job, but the story is too predictable. This makes it hard to truly root for their characters.
NOT FADE AWAY has a very strong Romantic worldview with a politically correct tone. There’s also abundant foul language, unacceptably strong (though perhaps historically accurate) scenes of substance abuse by teenagers and young adults, and brief but crude sexual content. NOT FADE AWAY probably will fade from everyone’s memory more quickly and easily than the filmmakers wanted.
(RoRoRo, B, C, PCPC, LLL, V, SS, N, AAA, DDD, MM) Very strong Romantic worldview of a wannabe rock and roll singer in the 1960s who faces conflicts with his father, family and girlfriend as his first glimmers of success affect his life choices, slightly tempered by its positive moral, redemptive resolution of father-son conflict that provides a somewhat touching ending, plus a politically correct left-leaning tone in the movie’s approach to 1960s history, which fits the overall Romantic worldview; about 89 obscenities and seven profanities; some violence with blood, especially when man is thrown against tree during motorcycle crash, two men argue and fight with one man getting a nosebleed, band member gets hit in head from a thrown can during concert but doesn’t seem really hurt, man with baseball bat beats large rat offscreen; depicted fornication on couch partially obscured, teenage couples are seen sexually touching each other at a wild party with one couple in particular lined up against a wall with the boy putting his hand up a girl’s shirt; upper male nudity and people in bathing suits with female cleavage but nothing explicit; heavy alcohol use in a couple scenes, especially involving teens getting drunk and wild at parties; casual pot smoking scattered throughout, done mostly by teenage and college-age youth, and one brief scene shows person snorting cocaine while another is drinking a liquid laced with psychedelic mushrooms; and, strong miscellaneous immorality includes youthful rebellion, family arguments between the main character and his parents, protagonist shows much disrespect to his father as they don’t understand each other’s life perspectives but they reconcile at the end as father helps son with money to make his move to Los Angeles to pursue rock stardom.
NOT FADE AWAY is the first feature movie by David Chase. Chase created the seminal HBO series THE SOPRANOS and helped produce the popular ROCKFORD FILES series starring James Garner. NOT FADE AWAY is a semi-autobiographical drama about Douglas, a wannabe rock and roll band singer in the 1960s. Douglas faces conflicts with his father, family and girlfriend as his first glimmers of success affect his life choices. When he goes away to college, he finds himself drifting into the decade’s longhair peace movement. Douglas quits college to try to become successful in the music scene in Los Angeles. This upsets his father.
NOT FADE AWAY should be more interesting than it is. The pace is too slow, despite the rock songs. The movie focuses more on emotional moments and thoughtful interludes rather than plot. Also, parts of the story are predictable. NOT FADE AWAY has a very strong Romantic, Non-Christian worldview. There’s also abundant foul language, unacceptably strong scenes of substance abuse by teenagers and young adults and brief but crude sexual content. NOT FADE AWAY probably will fade quickly from memory.