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June 19, 2013


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Keith Uhlich

I needed this. Thanks, Glenn.

Matt Blankman

Funny, the scene in the restaurant in NOT FADE AWAY was what I'd been thinking about all night since getting the sad news.
Beautiful stuff, Glenn. Thank you.


NOT FADE AWAY was one of my favorite movies of last year, and you summed up much of why I loved it so much. Thank you, Glenn.

I still can't believe Gandolfini is dead, and I know we have all the great work he left behind (and I have some fond personal memories of him as well, having interacted with him when he was an occasional customer at the video store I used to work at), but it is indeed a great loss.

Christian Ramirez

In between all the hurried up tributes and tweetting war about Gandolfini's passing, gotta thank you for this beautiful and well meaned words. Thank you, Glenn.

Chris L.

Of all the tributes written and still to come for this singular performer, there will surely be none so keenly felt and expressed. I too was baffled by the response Not Fade Away received, with some folks seeming to conflate the meanings of "melancholy" and "maudlin." Thank you for gently pointing out the difference, and maybe prompting a few second looks on a sorrowful day.


The matter-of-fact way he announces that he has cancer probably gave me the biggest laugh/cry of any line-reading in movie history. He was also extraordinary in Killing Me Softly. 2012 turned out to be a great year for the actor. Sad news.

Jeff Hill

Cheers to you, Glenn, for paying tribute to this immensely talented man without resorting to the obvious TS references. Nobody ever inhabited a character as completely as Gandolfini did Tony (especially impressive considering his real offscreen personality), but there was so much more to his life and art that hopefully will be more widely revealed now, all the "Tony Soprano Dead" headlines notwithstanding.....
This news really, really hurts.


Very sad, and -- given that I was watching 'Killing Them Softly' only last night -- kinda unnerving as well.



Towards the end of the movie, when Douglas is leaving for LA, there's another brilliant acting moment from Gandolfini. The son's driving off and the mother says her bit about "mental illness" and Gandolfini stops the car and slips his son the handful of cash. Gandolfini's acting is perfect, the sad look of what could have been as his son leaves.

Also Glenn, I think the look Douglas gives on receiving the money is the beginning of his understanding of where his father is coming from. It's a small look that suggests understanding the father's sense of failure, that, as you say, he experiences for himself at the end of the movie.

John M

Thanks, Glenn.


@Matt Blankman: This scene immediately came to mind as well when I heard the news. Up to that point the film had not impressed me, but that scene was like pulling back a curtain to reveal the whole picture of things.

@billythrilly: That's a spot-on observation, and between those two scenes Chase really doesn't have a movie if Gandolfini isn't in them.

I watched "True Romance" again not long ago. It didn't impress as much as when I watched it initially. (I especially disliked the beating scene with Arquette and Gandolfini due to its brutality.) However, the scene with Gandolfini and Pitt at the apartment showed how powerfully Gandolfini could play a quiet menace. You could see how that performance might have tipped him for the Tony Soprano role.


"But Chase is an artist of expansive brilliance and exquisite sensitivity, perhaps even more sensitivity than the television critics who have built a kind of church on the rock of The Sopranos even know."

It's true. But we don't need to refer to Not Fade Away to get that.

Chase didn't only create a new art form from scratch with The Sopranos. He also made the Citizen Kane of that new art form right out of the gate. No joke.

And with his untimely passing, it's worth noting that Gandolfini ALSO was an artist of expansive brilliance and exquisite sensitivity, just given the large canvas of The Sopranos as our example.


The watching of South Pacific (Bali Ha'i) while the son heads West scene might have been more on the nose than the restaurant scene - but it's the moment from Not Fade Away that stuck with me.

Most people live on a lonely island,
Lost in the middle of a foggy sea.
Most people long for another island,
One where they know they will like to be.

Bali Ha'i may call you,
Any night, any day,
In your heart, you'll hear it call you:
"Come away...Come away."


So sad. A great piece, Glenn, effectively tying with Matt Zoller Seitz for best remembrance of Gandolfini that I've read. His line about Gandolfini the man being the saving grace of Tony the character is spot.

Today I thought of another great Gandolfini performance I haven't heard mentioned recently - Romance And Cigarettes. An imperfect but sorely underrated film, I thought, very much anchored by Gandolfini's unique blend of charisma and deep vulnerability.


@Zach - Thanks for mentioning the Matt Zoller Seitz piece. It's an excellent companion to Glenn's.

Joel Bocko

You and me both, Oliver_C. Weird.

Great tribute, Glenn. And it makes me want to see Not Fade Away, a film that - between my love of Sopranos and of 60s British Invasion/pop culture/social portraits - I should have been very excited about; however I swallowed the "lame follow-up to Sopranos; knee-jerk nostalgia" buzz unthinkingly and never sought it out. Which seems strange to me, given what I know Chase is capable of.

I'd also like to shout out Gandolfini's vocal performance in Where the Wild Things Are, which I found rather moving, and which Tony (Dayoub) reminded me of in his piece.

There's a "tweet war" over Gandolfini's death? Good grief, glad I missed it.


You made me reevaluate the entire film. Thank you.

That Fuzzy Bastard

The performance I keep thinking of is Big Dave in The Man Who Wasn't There. The scene where Big Dave confesses to Ed that he's being blackmailed is an amazing combination of posturing and suffering, that gets deeper the more one realizes the complicated ways that both men are lying.

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