Joanie and I went to see "Not Fade Away" last night.
First, small movie. It's pretty obviously David Chase's autobiography, as the lead character ends up in film school in Los Angeles.
Second, not much happens. I mean, dramatically. There's a story, but the payoff at the end is more a whimper than a scream.
Third, David Chase nails New Jersey in the 60s (although Joan and I disagreed slightly as to when long hair appeared in high schools). I know Chase nailed it because I lived it.
Considering all the murder and mayhem you get to see in the movies these days (and what you saw in "The Sopranos") all you get in this movie is a bloody nose. Sex? Once, a couple of teens on a couch. What you do get a lot of are kids in rock bands that never are going to make it.
James Gandolfini plays the lead character's dad, and while he was great in that little part, I'm afraid he will forever be cursed by his affiliation with "The Sopranos".
In my earlier post I mentioned my concern that Chase's movie was going to be too much like the screenplay I've been working on. His is a coming of age film. My screenplay, while there are some similarities, is more a coming-of-middle-age story. So I'm not so worried now.
I guess, cutting to the Chase, if you grew up in New Jersey in the sixties or were ever involved in a rock band back then you'll probably enjoy it at a matinee or with the geezer discount. Or on Netflix.
If we get through our busy schedules and find a place nearby Joanie and I are thinking about going to the movies to see "Not Fade Away".
I have a personal interest in wanting to see it. A few years ago when my lifetime friend Lou was laid off we started working on a screenplay, "Barband", which, from what I know about the movie, turns out to be roughly the same kind of story that "Barband" is, although set in the late 70s and 80s as opposed to the 60s.
Like I say, it was initially going to be a joint effort by the two of us, although Lou soon got rehired and it mostly fell to me to do the writing. We sketched out plotlines, even collaborated on a song for it. It basically was about some guys who had a band, had a dream about success in the business, watched the dream get squashed, and then got on with their lives. I am a music head anyway, so some of the stuff was already there, it wasn't so much research as memory. I tracked down the guitar player for a San Francisco punk band, The Mutants, and bought him a lunch and chatted for a couple of hours about the business of the time. I also got a couple of stories that got transmogrified and were insinuated into the story.
My move to Portland has put the project on hold, and the holes in the screenplay that needed filling were there for months before my migration began. And as we know, inaction in creative endeavors may give the opportunity to someone else.
Not that David Chase didn't already have a head start in the business. The curious thing is that I was inspired to attempt a screenplay after watching The Sopranos, especially watching the episodes where the writers or directors of the episode gave commentary. While I was actively writing it I began framing scenes, imagining how the actors would behave, how the dialogue would flow. Chase would have been the guy I'd deliver the script to if I had my way.
Whether or not I go back to it and finish really depends on how I feel about "Not Fade Away". If it's too much like what I've already written, then what's the point? But maybe it isn't.
In case you haven't seen them, here are a couple of songs that would have been included in "Barband" among the many I've posted on You Tube.
"Cattle Mutilation" was one of the songs that the band, The Bad Brakes, played in their sets. Most of the movie takes place in 1980 and the bar band transitions into a punk band, and "Cattle Mutilation", which was topical back then, was one of their songs.
Another song in the screenplay is an agit-prop punk song, "Something For Nothing". Both "Cattle Mutilation" and "Something For Nothing" were bedroom recordings made around thirty years ago so please excuse the quality.
Also, "Love Propels Me (Love Theme from Barband). It became the music for the closing credits because I couldn't come up with lyrics. It's in 5/4 time, so it's a little awkward for a pop song, but maybe not for the credits, although people might find themselves tripping as they walk out of a dark theater.
Anyway, I'll be watching "Not Fade Away" with my keen artistic eye.
Coincidentally, in my screenplay the drummer in the band, long after the band breaks up, decides to go on a quest to Africa to find Ginger Baker, drummer for the rock band Cream. I discovered that someone in the last couple of months released a documentary about going to Africa to find Ginger Baker. Hmmm.
This is a review of a bad science fiction movie which I recently saw on DVD. It's amazing that Hollywood can spend so much money on special effects and still do the same corny stuff that was done in fifties sci-fi movies (the reanimated head, for ex). Then again, Arnold Schwarzeneggar, after two terms as Governor of California, is back to remaking yet another version of "High Noon" with superior armaments.
In any case, if you need to know why you didn't see "Prometheus" then this clip will not only tell you, it will count the ways.