Not Fade Away
James Gandolfini, Bella Heathcote, John Magaro, Jack Huston
For his first post-Sopranos project, writer director David Chase returns to his roots, telling a largely autobiographical story about some high school pals who are “starting a band like the Stones,” in midsixties suburban New Jersey. The British Invasion–era Beatles and Stones tunes sound as alive as ever, and the movie expertly captures their impact on the cozy suburbs of America. Anyone who’s ever roughed out songs in a noisy garage will appreciate the scenes of the local band on the rise, and the clashes between Gandolfini’s fed-up dad and his rocker son are played for affectionate laughs. (Dad: “Look at him: High heels.” Son: “They’re Cuban heels.”) Meanwhile, the fresh-faced Heathcote works her muselike magic from the sidelines. Chase’s smartly observed gem is one of the year’s nicest surprises.