I love it when I go to see a movie with low expectations and I leave with a smile on my face after being surprised by a really good movie! “Not Fade Away” is one of those movies! Set in the early 1960’s, it tells the story of a wannabe rock band from New Jersey, one of many that saw themselves as the next Rolling Stones or Beatles, which were pervasive back in that time. The nation saw the assassination of President John F Kennedy, the British invasion of the Beatles, and the political civil rights uproar by the African Americans lead by Doctor Martin Luther King who was also murdered by a crazed assassin.Douglas, played by John Magaro, sees the new band, The Rolling Stones on television and decides, with his friend Eugene (played by Jack Huston) to start a band and make it big. James Gandolfini (Killing Them Softly), better known as Tony Soprano stars as Magaro’s father, and is a typical set-in-his-ways 1960’s working father who owns a small struggling hardware store, is unhappy in his marriage, and doesn’t even try to understand his long-haired, out-of-touch-with-reality hippy son who wants to make music instead of going to college to make something of himself.
“Not Fade Away” is rife with nostalgic songs which baby boomers will delight in hearing. The music is one of the best parts of the movie due primarily to the involvement of co-producer Steve Van Zant from the E Street Band.The band in the movie starts out as most of the bands during that time did, playing covers of the popular rock and roll songs of the day, until they finally began to write their own original songs towards the end of the movie. As they make their journey from high school band to singing in clubs and making their first demo recording, the boys go through the gamut of growing up in that era, dealing with the Vietnam War, the draft, civil rights issues, drugs, sex, and of course, the influence of Rock and Roll from hair styles to fashion trends. The authenticity of the era is reinforced through the use of spot-on fashion, automobiles, radio and television broadcasts, event references right down to the dialogue and generational differences between the older generation such as Douglas’ stay at home, ironing her clothes and cooking the meals mother, played by Molly Price or his Aunt Josie played by Lisa Lampanelli. Writer, Producer, Director David Chase (also known for The Sopranos) quietly takes you on a journey back to a time full of strife and political upheaval which we now refer to as “the good old days”.
“Not Fade Away” is a song first performed by Buddy Holly, but then done by the Rolling Stones as an upbeat rock and roll song as they were starting their meteoric climb to stardom. Some bands “made it” and some didn’t. Will Douglas and his band of high school friends make it? “Not Fade Away” opens in theaters on December 21st so you can go see for yourself!
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