Monday, June 11, 2007

... and it's over

I have been a media glutton lately. Observe:

WEDNESDAY - Knocked Up. And if you think my reaction was conflicted, compare it to the spitting ire of the Flick Filosopher.

THURSDAY - An advance free screening of Becoming Jane, essentially Shakespeare in Love-lite with James McAvey as a hotter version of Joseph Fiennes. Where did all these smoking hot British men come from all of a sudden? Back in the day, our selection was limited to the admittedly more-than-acceptable Ewan MacGregor. Now he's jostling for space with Colin Firth, Clive Owen, Daniel Craig, and Glen Hansard from Once, not to mention the whole cast of Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels. Where were they before I got engaged?

FRIDAY - LA Story for Mr. Ben's sake. I fell asleep halfway through since, before we settled in, we'd spent an indefensible amount of time trying to pick out the Perfect Bedset. What this means in practice was that we spent several hours with our ears to the computer screen, waiting to hear the sweet song of the Comforter-Pillow-Sheet-Duvet Combo that would really complete us as a couple.

SATURDAY - Chapter 2 of Angels in America with my viewing posse. I own the DVD so that, when I mention it Kushner's version in conversation and someone hasn't made the 6-hour chunk of time available to subject themselves to it, I can offer it up. (This is also why I own the A&E Pride & Prejudice, Pulp Fiction, and any number of other pieces of Essential Viewing.)

SUNDAY - and the reason I began writing this entry: the final episode, at long last, of the Sopranos, widely recognized as the best television series I've ever watched through my fingers. The fact that I -- with my famously low tolerance for violence -- have found it worthwhile to experience almost a decade of this show should testify to how impressive the acting, pacing, and scripting are, if anyone needs convincing. But you don't, right? You've seen the show, starting from Season 1? Cuz if you haven't, I have the DVDs ...

In a way I'm glad we've gotten the final episode out of the way. I'm the sort of the person that likes to have suspense done with so that I can reread or rewatch and focus on details, not plot. But I did like the finale. Very few people can do suspense as well as David Chase; I nearly fibrillated during that last scene at the diner. When the screen cut to black and a string of curses rose up from the entire East Coast, I felt the same immediate frustration and disappointment I imagine everyone did. But I also think there was something genius about that Brechtian move on DC's part -- calling attention to the medium (how many people thought their cable had gone out?), reminding us that this is just art, that we shouldn't let our emotions overwhelm us.

Also, whether or not you think Tony died in that moment when the screen went black, you have to believe that the best of his life is behind him. He's caught in the same self-destructive, self-obsessed patterns, only now he doesn't have Melfi to help him pan for small shiny bits of insight. He has his wife's and his son's loyalty but only because he bought them; and two of the closest members of his work family are gone forever. Instead of saving babies the way Tony hoped she would as a pediatrician, his daughter will spend her life trying to save mobsters as a lawyer and it's because of Tony. He'll always have to live looking over his shoulder and even if he isn't killed, the specter of Junior lies ahead of him: wasting away toothless in a New Jersey state hospital with no memory of the pride or glory that made "this thing of ours" worth dying for in the first place.

1 comment:

nate said...

That is, quite possibly, the most depressing synopsis of the entire series that I've read yet. And I've read a lot. By big type published people.