Not Fade Away Blu-ray Review
There are the great bands, the idols that sell out concert tours and change the way you feel about life. And then there are the bands that want to be the greats, the ones that spend their first practices playing half-tuned covers and hoping that they too will be rich and famous.
It doesn’t take much for the latter to be born in the 1960s New Jersey shown in NOT FADE AWAY. One night, suburban teen Douglas (John Magaro, Josh Radnor’s LIBERAL ARTS) hears The Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and wonders, in complete amazement, “What’s that?” A few weeks later, The Rolling Stones appear on television and that settles it. Douglas and his friends Gene (Jack Huston, THE TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE) and Wells (Will Brill, KING KELLY) will pick up some instruments and start a band.
Equipped with just the right hairstyles and clothes, they play a few gigs here and there. Using the line “time is on your side” as their mantra, the boys decide to put together a demo to take to record companies. You can imagine how Douglas’ old-school father, Pat (James Gandolfini, maintaining some of Tony Soprano’s tendencies—the part where he eats ice cream on his couch beckons the gangster’s many late-night snackings), feels about the whole thing.
NOT FADE AWAY is the feature debut of David Chase. Chase has been on something of a hiatus since 2007, after he chose Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” as the anthem for one of the defining television moments ever: the final scene of THE SOPRANOS. That show, too, frequently used classic rock on its soundtrack. Here, Chase (with the aid of Steven Van Zandt, who plays guitar for The E Street Band and portrayed Silvio on THE SOPRANOS) uses The Stones, The Beatles, The Rascals, and The Kinks as guiding points in the ups and downs of an aspiring rock band.
There is a lot of name-dropping and clip-showcasing, with countless bits about Vietnam and snippets of everything from THE HOLLYWOOD PALACE to THE TWILIGHT ZONE to BLOW-UP, to remind us time and time again that we’re watching a movie set in the ‘60s.
NOT FADE AWAY captures the teenage need to be something other than what your parents want you to be. But that also turns out to be one of its flaws. When Douglas spouts the line, “You wouldn’t understand being in a band—that’s my true family,” at the dinner table, we know that he believes it more than anything in the world. But it’s also the point (even before the band starts to carry on about magazine shoots and press conferences) that we start hoping for a record producer (here played by Brad Garrett, CBS’s EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND) to knock some proper sense into the boys.
We should be rooting for the band—whatever their name is—to succeed, maybe sell some t-shirts and bumper stickers. But instead, they do everything to prove to us that they were destined for obscurity.
Video: 1.85:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. This high-definition transfer of NOT FADE AWAY has a tremendous level of clarity and definition to it, with wonderful details in the period settings and costumes.
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; French 5.1 Dolby Digital; Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital. Subtitles in English, French and Spanish. While the dialogue is clean and without any detectable disturbances, it’s the soundtrack—with tracks from The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, The Kinks, and more— that really makes this transfer worthwhile.
The Basement Tapes is divided into three sections: The Boys in the Band (13:32), which looks at the origins, the music and the cast; Living in the Sixties (12:26), which details the role the era had in the story; and Hard Art (10:04), which focuses more on the story.
Building the Band (3:06) expands on the casting of NOT FADE AWAY and turning actors into musicians with the help of Steven Van Zandt.
Deleted Scenes (5:33): There are four here, which can be viewed separately or as a whole. They are: “Naming the Band,” “Thanksgiving,” “Eviction,” and “You and Me Gonna Tangle.”