In what feels like episodic television as opposed to a feature length film, Not Fade Away doesn’t break ground in either the coming of age genre nor the retelling of the pivotal events of the 1960s type movies that pop up every few years. This directorial debut by David Chase of The Sopranos fame utilizes a greatest hits of ’60s terminology that seems forced out of the actors mouths, be it them talking about haircuts or Vietnam. There’s even the embodiment of the sad, suburban housewife who spouts statements like “I want to kill myself” and “I could just slit my wrists” in the heat of an argument.
As a musician, I appreciated some of the talk about guitar tones and the naive arrogance of a young band thinking it’s not if but when they’re going to make it. One of the stronger parts of Not Fade Away is showing that solely imitating the greats won’t bring along success. A music industry executive counters that by saying that it’s ten percent creativity and ninety percent perseverance, but as Chase intersperses actual recordings with the band trying to ape them, it shows a pretty finite separation in execution.