N.Y. Times columnist Maureen Dowd is calling Sopranos creator David Chase “an apocalyptic tease” and claiming that last Sunday night he “gave us a gimmicky and unsatisfying film-school-style blackout for an end to his mob saga, a stunt one notch above ‘it was all a dream.’ It was the TV equivalent of one of those design-your-own-mug places.
“Even though I loved the first few years of The Sopranos, Chase always struck me as passive-aggressive,” she opines. “The more fans obsessed on his show, the longer his hiatuses would grow and the slower his narrative velocity moved. His ending was equally perverse, throwing the ball contemptuously back at his fans after manipulating them and teasing them for an hour with red herrings — and a ginger cat.
“Surely, after eight years with this family, we deserved some revelation better than ‘life goes on…or not.'”
“New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton maintains a solid lead at 33%, followed by Illinois Sen. Barack Obama at 22%. [And] yet despite Clinton’s lead, Obama is the strongest Democrat in hypothetical match-ups with Republicans in the general election, running even or well ahead of the GOP’s top contenders. Obama would defeat Giuliani, 46% to 41%, the poll found. Clinton, in a showing that could spark concerns among some Democrats, does not fare as well. Against Giuliani, the poll found she would lose by 10 percentage points.” — from Michael Finnegan‘s L.A. Times story about a recent Times/Bloomberg poll.
“The 11.9 million viewers who watched last Sunday’s The Sopranos finale brought HBO to the edge of an historic feat: a show on a pay cable network available in about 30 million homes was more popular last week than all but one show on the far larger world of broadcast television. Nielsen Media Research reports that only the premiere of NBC’s America’s Got Talent, with 13 million viewers, did better. ABC, CBS and Fox are all available in 111 million homes for no extra charge, and nothing they aired last week did better than The Sopranos.” — from an AP report on Breitbart.com.
Here we go with a trailer for The Invasion (Warner Bros,. 8.17), the latest revisiting of the old saw about emotionally barren ghouls taking over our bodies and souls after we fall asleep. Nicole Kidman is the central protagonist (i.e., analagous to Kevin McCarthy‘s role in Invasion of the Body Snatchers). Strange that pic seems to be using the Columbia Space Shuttle disintegration as a plot point, but whatever. Reports claim that the version shot by director Oliver Hirschbiegel (Downfall) didn’t sufficiently excite producer Joel Silver and/or the Warner Bros. suits, and he was pushed aside as a result.
Sometime recently (i.e., apparently after Sunday night’s Sopranos finale, which indicates yesterday), the Newark Star Ledger‘s Alan Sepinwall spoke to Sopranos creator David Chase in France, “where he’s fled to avoid ‘all the Monday morning quarterbacking’ about the show’s finale.”
Following this interview, Sepinwall writes, “Chase intends to go into radio silence, letting the work — especially the controversial final scene — speak for itself.
Except it doesn’t speak for itself. Not in any commonly decipherable sort of way. If it did there wouldn’t be so many thousands of people arguing what happened in that last scene. So let’s call a spade a spade: Chase is a gifted filmmaker who talks like a straight-shooter when in fact he’s an artful dodger and a bit of a film-flammer. (No offense, Chase, if you’re reading this.)
There is, however, one possible major “tell” in Sepinwall’s piece. Chase says one problem in doing a movie version is that “over the last season Chase [as] killed so many key characters.” Chase, says Sepinwall, “has toyed with the idea of ‘going back to a day in 2006 that you didn’t see, but then (Tony’s children) would be older than they were then and you would know that Tony doesn’t get killed. It’s got problems.”
Is Chase saying what I think he’s saying — that Tony “doesn’t get killed” and therefore wasn’t killed two nights ago?
“‘I have no interest in explaining, defending, reinterpreting, or adding to what is there,’ Chase says of the final scene.
“‘No one was trying to be audacious, honest to God,’ Chase adds. ‘We did what we thought we had to do. No one was trying to blow people’s minds, or thinking, ‘Wow, this’ll piss them off.’ People get the impression that you’re trying to fuck with them and it’s not true. You’re trying to entertain them.’
In Sunday night’s final scene, Tony Soprano waited at a Bloomfield ice cream parlor for his family to arrive, one by one. What was a seemingly benign family outing was shot and cut as the preamble to a tragedy, with Tony suspiciously eyeing one patron after another, the camera dwelling a little too long on Meadow’s parallel parking and a man in a Members Only jacket’s walk to the men’s room.
Just as the tension had been ratched up to unbearable levels, the series cut to black in mid-scene (and mid-song) with no resolution.
“‘Anybody who wants to watch it, it’s all there,’ says Chase, 61, who based the series in general (and Tony’s relationship with mother Livia specifically) on his North Caldwell childhood.
“Some fans have already assumed that the ambiguous ending was Chase setting up the oft-rumored Sopranos movie, but that doesn’t seem to be in the cards.
“‘I don’t think about (a movie) much,’ he says. ‘I never say never. An idea could pop into my head where I would go, ‘Wow, that would make a great movie,’ but I doubt it.
“I’m not being coy,” he adds. “If something appeared that really made a good Sopranos movie and you could invest in it and everybody else wanted to do it, I would do it. But I think we’ve kind of said it and done it.”