So I remember in 2008 I had run into some trouble on the job front...(never work for friends people, money is worse than any drug out there...corrupts the greatest people ever to the core) and I had some time off. I took up photography hard core and for the first month or so I was pretty badly depressed. So what did I do you ask?
I watched HBO's "The Sopranos" from beginning to end. Took about 10 days.
Let me tell you something.
That show started this whole Golden Age Of Television thing happening now. TV has been around for a while. It wasn't simply TV. these were films. Each episode was a film, especially as the seasons progressed and David Chase knew he wasn't going anywhere, they would let him tell his story. He introduced the world to a different I kind of Lonf-Format story telling...taking a story...and instead of stretching it out over 2 or three hours...letting it breath for 100+ hours of Television. The benefit of that was obvious, you invested in these characters more than you possibly could have in a short time frame. You became emotionally attached to them, the writers then the actors began to make them real...they breathed life into them. The feeling of family was so incredibly tangible by the third season, so developed. It is that type of long format storytelling...taking a story and stretching it out for 6 seasons worth of television...that made shows like "Breaking Bad" possible. Especially in that the creators delivered us a morally sideways protagonist that we loved. Loved as he killed and lied and cheated and hurt people. And through it all, great writing and direction and acting, we could relate and love these characters (God Damn I love TV).
Anyway...I need to save this all for a different post/article/rant, can't stick The Sopranos in a paragraph.
The reason I bring this up is because 2 actors specifically just floored me. Edie Falco. Dear Lord. She's a queen. A fucking queen. And James. God rest his soul. James Gandolfini.
No matter how vile Tony Soprano got, it was the soul of James we saw underneath it all and fell in love with.
I never met him, and unfortunately now I never will. But after watching all these episodes through again during a trying period in my life, I felt so much better.
Then I saw "Where The Wild Things Are" James plays Carol. I watched this within 2 weeks of finishing The Sopranos. You never see his face, he is in a massive costume...you only hear his voice and see his body movements...and still...he performs the hell out of this character and breathes such emotional life into him. A vulnerable, fragile, loyal and slightly bi-polar character...but a loving teddy bear of a character none the less. It's James in there, and that is to say nothing of the other actors and even the kid (casting the wrong kid can fuck up a movie worse than a hurricane destroying all the sets can) was great.
I took quite a lot from the film, watching it twice within the first day I saw it. Then I heard about all the issues that occurred on set during production, problems with the costumes, having to CGI the eyes in to the costumes, studio didn't like the cut of the film Spike Jonez submitted and they made him drastically recut then film causing the release to be delayed for years.
Either way, I fell in love with it. Hard. If you haven't seen it and you are as sensitive as I am, do it.
God bless James Gandolfini, God bless his family.
THE SOPRANOS | CHRISTOPHER'S INTERVENTION:
Where The Wild Things Are Key-Art