Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Friday, 04 January 2013 01:00

‘Not Fade Away’ does, lacking development and energy

‘Not Fade Away’ does, lacking development and energy
Written by Diane Carson
Rate this item
(0 votes)

About this Media...

  • Director: David Chase
  • Dates: January 4, 2013

The title “Not Fade Away” for director David Chase’s affectionate reminiscence of 1960s music notes that bands and individuals come and go but great music will “Not Fade Away.” It thereby references Buddy Holly and The Rolling Stones, a perfect setup for a celebration of rock and roll: its evolution and its impact on a generation.

Set in suburban New Jersey, the film begins with a voiceover narrator who identifies herself as the sister of Douglas, an aspiring musician in a band that, like so many others, “you never heard of” because they never made it. Told in flashback, the story thereby throws away possible suspense about the band’s success or failure. Secondly, the sister interjects voiceover observations several times throughout the film, hovers on the edge of many scenes, but never materializes as a central or needed character. Further weakening the story, an episodic approach short circuits scene after scene, rushing pointlessly to the next event while viewer identification dissipates without development of action.

A labor of love for music producer Steven Van Zandt and director David Chase, it is particularly disappointing to watch momentum fail to build. Chase certainly knows how to develop characters, as proved over and over in “The Sopranos,” and he ends this film with another dynamite conclusion. To ridiculously understate the case, Van Zandt, a founder with Springsteen of the E Street Band, knows music. But though “Not Fade Away” pays homage to the songs, the families, and the social constructs of those times, the picture lacks energy, even as the rich backdrop of cultural references and watershed events unfolds at a measured pace—President Kennedy shot, the Vietnam War, the Beatles and The Rolling Stones, landmark movies like “Blow-Up,” television series including “The Twilight Zone,” and more.

As the likable Douglas, John Magaro builds a lackluster teenager into one who gains confidence but still remains too introspective to spark viewer excitement. James Gandolfini plays a stereotypically conservative, disapproving father. Molly Price is a most often silent mother submissive to the point of dreariness, and the other three band members come across as characteristically self-absorbed. Van Zandt has said he had to have them play worse than they were, their having learned fast. But “Not Fade Away” remains too kaleidoscopic and works best only to evoke our own memories.

Sponsor Message

Become a Sponsor

Find KDHX Online

KDHX on Instagram
KDHX on YouTube
KDHX on SoundCloud
KDHX on Facebook
KDHX on Twitter
KDHX on flickr

KDHX Recommends


CaveofswordS presents the St. Louis Music Video Showcase

CaveofswordS presents the St. Louis Music Video Showcase CaveofswordS presents the St. Louis Music Video Showcase featuring 40 music videos from local bands. The evening will benefit KDHX, an organization that has done so much to support the local music community.


Brunch at the Stage: Cree Rider Acoustic Duo

KDHX is now curating a Saturday brunch series at the Stage with live music from local musicians and delicious, locally-sourced food and drinks from the Magnolia Café. Brunch at the Stage takes place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m....


Discovery Series Presents Roll, Jordan, Roll: The Legacy of Louis Jordan, Father...

Author and musician Stephen Koch* takes us on a journey chronicling music innovator Louis Jordan -- known for 50 top ten hits such as "Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens," "Choo Choo Ch'Boogie," "Baby,...

Online Users

1 user and 13114 guests online
Sign in with Facebook


Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook