Friday, January 4, 2013

Not Fade Away: Rock On

 It was 1963 and Douglas (John Magaro), an Italian high school kid from New Jersey, dreamed of becoming a rock 'n' roll star like his idols, John, Paul, George and Ringo or Mick, Charlie, Keith, Bill, Brian and Ian.

He had talent. But did he have enough? And did he have the perseverance —the willingness to expend the 90 percent perspiration that comprises any success story?

Not Fade Away, which takes its name from a Buddy Holly song, is a coming-of-age story about both the boy and the music.

The film takes us through the historical events between 1963 and 1968, the tearful (the assassination of John Kennedy) and the tumultuous (the Viet Nam War). To name just two emotionally-charged events. But they play on screen as a background laundry list, stripped of emotion.

And though we see the generation gap at play between Douglas and his dad, Pat (James Gandolfini) the movie fails to capture the angst and thrill of the times that were a'changing.

Nor does it ignite the fire that is rock 'n' roll. Still, it's a likeable and serviceable movie for anyone who fervently wants to believe that rock 'n' roll will never die.

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