I dunno if I ever said on this BLOG, but I am currently collecting all of the Sopranos series 1-6 (have up to 5…only two more box sets to go!), and must confess to being a complete and utter geek when it comes to the exploits of charismatic New Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano (played every episode to my total awe by James Galdolfini).
Now as we all know, this is a movie website, so I now hear you ask…what is a TV show doing on here? Well compared to some shows like Lost and 24 perhaps, The Sopranos has its routes in gangster films, and often pays homage to the classics like The Godfather and especially Goodfellas, where even some of that great film’s cast make up part of the show’s major character actors. Firstly we have the beautiful, sexy but highly professional Doctor Jennifer Melfi (Lorraine Bracco) who of course was Ray Liotta’s wife in Goodfellas. Then do you remember the kid in the upstairs room who served the guys drinks in Goodfellas, but came worse off to psychotic Tommy (Oscar winning Joe Pesci)’s gun after a bit of back-answering? Well step forward Michael Imperioli who play’s Tony Soprano’s slightly wet-behind the ears nephew Christopher Multisanti – my personal favourite character.
Add to this pedigree the likes of Frank Vincent, Joe Pantoliano, Steve Buschemi, Steve Van Zandt, Dominic Chianese to name but a few, and the movie-gangster heritage is clear. At the head of all this as mentioned is James Gandolfini, who as Tony is both a family man and a ‘family’ man…if u catch my drift. You see, usually for this kind of material, the mobster’s actual flesh and blood family are more just set dressing – it’s not what we’re here for…and of course we just want gangsters doing some gangster ‘shit’. Not so with The Sopranos. This is as much a suburban drama about the goings on of a family home as it is a violent and thrilling gangster yarn. Also take into consideration that Tony is often at his therapist (Lorraine Bracco) due to suffering mysterious panic-attacks…and there is obviously more to this whole deal than meets the eye.
I think The Sopranos can appeal to a much broader audience than just die-hard gangster fans. Yes I love gangster films…but put it this way, my Mom is hooked and she doesn’t do on-screen violence, sex, nudity or bad language – and this has it all…but because it also has ‘heart’ she see’s past all the bad stuff (as she might put it) and still comes away thirsty for more.
So anyone who has either avoided The Sopranos because they don’t ‘do’ gangster stuff…take another look – you may be surprised. Oh and those that just haven’t seen the show…it’s never too late as my fairly late to the show collecting of the entire series shows…and now that’s it’s all done in the states but for the plethora of (finger’s crossed) awards…now is as good a time as any to “get yourself a gun” (to quote the opening credits superb song). Bada Bing!!