Author Topic: Watching (or rewatching) The Sopranos  (Read 4089 times)

magval

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Re: Watching (or rewatching) The Sopranos
« Reply #150 on: July 20, 2020, 06:40:12 AM »
I don't think he had a personality change, I think what happened was we stopped seeing him at work. Entirely. I watched that whole season this week and I don't recall seeing 'bastard Furio' one time the whole 13 episodes.

Not entirely unrealistic for someone to act differently at work than they do in private life, either. The decision to only show us this side of him, well, ultimately it's just a tool to get Carmella to where she needs to be for that showdown in "Whitecaps".

Season 4's definitely the patchiest year of the show to date though. There's a transparency to some of it, there's a few entire episodes that land badly, and an awful lot happens off-screen, like Meadow's personality change and commitment to  school and work, the events that lead to Janice and Bobby becoming an actual couple (one minute she's bringing him lasagne, the next she's at every single meal she eats with his kids and telling him to get over his wife), even the revelation that Carmine doesn't know who Paulie is feels weird - how could someone believe that someone else asked about them all the time, realistically, if they didn't know each other well?

Re: Watching (or rewatching) The Sopranos
« Reply #151 on: July 20, 2020, 01:24:54 PM »
I really like series 4, but all the points you've raised are very valid. I've never thought about the paulie/carmine exchange. And. On reflection seems ridiculous. Paulie although never reaching the status of boss, is a long in the tooth grizzled old school gangster, that's been running with Tony's dad, as far back to the 60s. That carmine would not know who he is at all is daft

Re: Watching (or rewatching) The Sopranos
« Reply #152 on: July 20, 2020, 02:17:09 PM »
I've seen the whole thing maybe 7 times,but don't remember that.  It must have been so ludicrous that my brain wouldn't accept it.

Re: Watching (or rewatching) The Sopranos
« Reply #153 on: July 21, 2020, 09:36:02 AM »
When Paulie says who he is Carmine knows the name doesn't he? Just didn't recognise him? But obviously the point is Johnny is bullshitting.

He's a great character Johnny, in his hideous beige and salmon outfits. When he loses his shit it's a joy to watch. Horrible man but great presence.

Chollis

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Re: Watching (or rewatching) The Sopranos
« Reply #154 on: July 21, 2020, 10:00:08 AM »
When Paulie says who he is Carmine knows the name doesn't he? Just didn't recognise him? But obviously the point is Johnny is bullshitting.

He's a great character Johnny, in his hideous beige and salmon outfits. When he loses his shit it's a joy to watch. Horrible man but great presence.

I thought so too, though it's been a while. I thought it was just Carmine, being both old and senile and not particularly knowing/giving a shit about any of the Jersey mob, which he thought very little of ("glorified crew"). Seemed plausible enough to me, at a push.

Agree about Johnny Sack. Probably been linked before but I love this exchange. "What's next Carmine you get to FUCK HER FOR A MILLION!?" is one of my favourite lines in the show.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vl77IyWcbWU

Re: Watching (or rewatching) The Sopranos
« Reply #155 on: July 22, 2020, 10:35:04 AM »
Could Carmine have not been feigning ignorance in order to put Paulie in his place?

dr_christian_troy

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Re: Watching (or rewatching) The Sopranos
« Reply #156 on: July 22, 2020, 11:23:40 AM »
What would you say was the weakest subplot? I must admit I always struggled with Chris’s Hollywood aspirations. The only saving grace  of the D-Girl episode was that devastating ending with Big Pussy crying in the bathroom.

Re: Watching (or rewatching) The Sopranos
« Reply #157 on: July 22, 2020, 01:39:38 PM »
As well as Alicia Witt nearly melting the screen.

kngen

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Re: Watching (or rewatching) The Sopranos
« Reply #158 on: July 22, 2020, 02:21:08 PM »
What would you say was the weakest subplot? I must admit I always struggled with Chris’s Hollywood aspirations. The only saving grace  of the D-Girl episode was that devastating ending with Big Pussy crying in the bathroom.

Vito's Big Gay New England Getaway. Not necessarily the plot itself (although it did seem to be an excuse to tread water for a bit while they retooled the story arc and extend it to another series), but Vito scoring with the Hottest Gay Fireman in the Village stretched credulity well past breaking point. Also, some weird directorial choices, like hearing his internal monologue at points. Don't think that ever happened before in The Sopranos. Seems a weird time to break style, and for such a comparatively weak storyline. I didn't mind the aspect of him finding his idyll, having to abandon it, and come crashing back to earth by whacking the fussy, by-the-book motorist on the way back to NY. But it could really have been sketched out a bit better.

neveragain

  • like those swamp tar pits that bubble and go Gloop
Re: Watching (or rewatching) The Sopranos
« Reply #159 on: July 22, 2020, 07:22:59 PM »
I love it but it's absolutely different to the rest of the show.

Re: Watching (or rewatching) The Sopranos
« Reply #160 on: July 22, 2020, 07:31:25 PM »
I liked Vito's gay storyline, you're kind of rooting for him until he kills that guy in cold blood.

What was weird to me was Paulie saving the portrait of Tony and then getting it retouched so he looked like Napoleon. I felt bad for him as well when Tony flipped a lid at it.

One thing my gf didn't like in particular when she watched it was when Melfie got violently attacked in the parking lot, and then... it kinda went nowhere. But she wasn't a big fan. It never bothered me. I guess Melfie not telling Tony about it was just showing her moral fortitude and professionalism.

dr_christian_troy

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Re: Watching (or rewatching) The Sopranos
« Reply #161 on: July 22, 2020, 07:32:21 PM »
Also, some weird directorial choices

Like that weird freeze edit from director Mike Figgis in Cold Cuts.

From Twitter in 2013:

Question: Mike, watched "Cold Cuts" last night. What was the reasoning for Carmela's slowed walk, freeze & then wipe transition?
Figgis: Yeah, oddly out of sync with the overall editing style

...and that's all we know.

https://twitter.com/TheMikeFiggis/status/409079090092589056

dr_christian_troy

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Re: Watching (or rewatching) The Sopranos
« Reply #162 on: July 22, 2020, 07:33:58 PM »
One thing my gf didn't like in particular when she watched it was when Melfie got violently attacked in the parking lot, and then... it kinda went nowhere. But she wasn't a big fan. It never bothered me. I guess Melfie not telling Tony about it was just showing her moral fortitude and professionalism.

It's a hard scene to watch, but in terms of where it went, I think it was relevant to the narrative in terms of the strength of Melfi having the choice to set Tony on the rapist, and then choosing to "do the right thing" and not to.

Re: Watching (or rewatching) The Sopranos
« Reply #163 on: July 22, 2020, 08:19:33 PM »
Yeah, it didn’t go ‘nowhere’ at all. That ‘No’ she gives Tony is one of the show’s most powerful moments.

Re: Watching (or rewatching) The Sopranos
« Reply #164 on: July 22, 2020, 08:58:36 PM »
no never really liked Chris' Hollywood stuff. Got that coming up soon on my rewatch. I find the scenes at Meadow's university for the rich fairly dull too.

Yeah, it didn’t go ‘nowhere’ at all. That ‘No’ she gives Tony is one of the show’s most powerful moments.

Yes.

dr_christian_troy

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Re: Watching (or rewatching) The Sopranos
« Reply #165 on: July 22, 2020, 09:09:52 PM »
no never really liked Chris' Hollywood stuff. Got that coming up soon on my rewatch. I find the scenes at Meadow's university for the rich fairly dull too.

Although the episode University, with the parallel of Meadow’s story and Tracee’s story...wow.

Re: Watching (or rewatching) The Sopranos
« Reply #166 on: July 22, 2020, 09:59:23 PM »
Yeah, it didn’t go ‘nowhere’ at all. That ‘No’ she gives Tony is one of the show’s most powerful moments.

I don't disagree; I think my gf was expecting that storyline to lead a little bit further than it did. I can kinda appreciate her POV too, like on Game of Thrones or Oz (her favourite show), everything is always escalating.

I suppose that's what makes the murder of Adriana so shocking. Quite often, shocking storylines don't have shocking payoffs.

Re: Watching (or rewatching) The Sopranos
« Reply #167 on: July 31, 2020, 05:39:28 PM »
it looks like the 'Chase said that Tony was whacked' narrative is more clickbait than anything

https://eu.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/tv/2020/06/11/sopranos-creator-talks-controversial-final-scene-did-tony-die/5347511002/

'accidentally' doesn't mean anything in that context.

Not only has he referred to it as "the death scene" as someone else mentioned, but he's repeatedly stated, more or less, that the idea is to give the viewer the feeling of suddenly dying. The shot choice and editing is designed to place the viewer in Tony's POV.

When season 6A began production it was intended to be the final season - it was already filming when the order for new episodes was agreed. That's why it starts so strong up to and including the wedding of Johnny Sack's daughter, and then suddenly gets padded out with the Vito story and AJ's relationship woes, and ends with a whimper. You can see evidence for this in a copy and paste scene that happens in both 6A and 6B - Agent Harris going to the Pork Store to tell Tony that Phil is planning to have him killed. Harris more or less says in 6B "remember when we did this scene last season but then nothing happened? It actually will this time." I also think Bobby's love of trains being established in the opening montage of 6A was only there because they had his death scene in mind for that year, as it is otherwise completely irrelevant and if I'm recalling correctly never mentioned again until The Blue Comet.

The point being that all of those opening 6A episodes are about death - the seven souls montage that ends with Tony digging a big hole; Adriana's visitations; Junior trying to kill someone he already killed in season one; the one minor character who keels over in the FBI car; the guy who hangs himself - all these happen in the first episode.

While Tony is in hospital, there's a scene where Vito and I think Paulie speak to Carmella and to her face they kind of imply that if Tony dies they'll look after her. This is after a scene where the two of them were debating whether or not to split some cash with her as Tony might die anyway and they could get away with keeping all of it. As they get in the hospital lift Carmella turns around and catches how gutted they look - the implication being that she's caught how they really feel about providing for her versus the fake show they just put on. I think this is an important scene to point out because it highlights who these characters are and what Chase thinks of them - they are sociopaths and animals with disregard for anyone but themselves, and any kind of mafia code of honour they claim to live by is a complete sham. That idea of their code being a load of bollocks is prevalent throughout the series but I think it was placed here quite specifically to let you see that whether Tony lives or dies only matters to his "family" only so far as it might benefit them either way,  and that goes some way to undermining arguments about who would have the motive to kill him in the final episode. No one outside of Christopher and Tony could know what reason Tony would have to kill Ralph, not really, as the public image of their relationship was that they'd patched things up. That in some ways correlates with Tony and Butchie.

So as I said it got padded with the Vito story line and went off the rails a bit, but 6B picks up with a similar momentum to the first few episodes of 6A - almost every episode is about a death or near death caused directly or indirectly by Tony: he considers killing Hesh to avoid paying him back; he considers killing Paulie for being annoying; the whole episode about Christopher. I interpret that as Chase making the point as clear as he can make it that there's not somehow something more glamorous or honourable about the type of criminal he is - he's no better than any other serial killer.  My theory about the Vito story is that it would originally have been a single episode - another person sold out by Tony and dying as a result.

I think that if season 6 hadn't been split the way it had been, the obvious momentum to that final scene and the outcome of it would appear a lot less ambiguous. There's a quite obvious surface level story there that Tony is offered another chance at life and redemption in limbo, lasts about one week as a better person then ultimately pays the price for refusing to change. There is ambiguity on what the final scene means, in terms of why it matters, how it relates to the rest of that episode, what it's saying about the characters - what it means that Tony has forgotten his own advice about enjoying the good times etc. But any interpretation of Tony surviving past the cut to black is ignoring a shit load of context, as well as the major theme of the season.

As for who did it and why - I think the interpretation that Patsy sold Tony out is a sound one. He went to shoot Tony in the season 3 opener, still holding a grudge over his brother. There's another episode where he rants about being passed over for captain in favour of Christopher. His son is engaged to Meadow and he still gets passed over for captain in favour of Paulie, who doesn't even want the job.

There's also still incentive for Butchie to be involved - would any of the NY families care if the boss of NJ got killed, after he just killed an NY boss in front of his family and got his head crushed? I also don't buy that Butchie's peace offering to Tony was anything but a con from the start - he gets rid of Phil for him, potentially elevating Butchie to boss, while Butchie gets to deny all knowledge and easily kill Tony after coming out of hiding.

neveragain

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Re: Watching (or rewatching) The Sopranos
« Reply #168 on: July 31, 2020, 06:10:23 PM »
Great post. Butchie's such an evil looking little git (resembling some school bullies of mine actually), I'm certain he'd be involved. Patsy too, it's his time.

Or Artie, for a laugh.

chveik

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Re: Watching (or rewatching) The Sopranos
« Reply #169 on: July 31, 2020, 09:06:51 PM »
But any interpretation of Tony surviving past the cut to black is ignoring a shit load of context, as well as the major theme of the season.

NOT MY FUCKING POINT

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