Monday, April 16, 2007

Leave it to Cleaver

So Christopher Moltisanti's film Cleaver finally sees it's premiere, and the famiglia is all there and mostly impressed. But, even then, as Silvio put so succinctly: "Chrissy's the last person I would have confused with Marty." The film (pitched as Saw meets The Godfather II,) stars Daniel Baldwin (who looks a lot better since his last picture) as the chubby crime boss named 'Sally Boy.' It appears that Cleaver is really a revenge fantasy, as the boss sleeps with the hero's fiance, and in the end, puts his prosthetic blade through Tony's, er... Sally Boy's skull. The sets they used even look the same - the Crazy Horse backroom, Tony's basement... but no Bada Bing. Even Chris knows, you must always respect the bing. (See HBO's 'The Making of Cleaver.)

Tony's disappointed in Chris, to say the least, and it touches on the one thing that ties these first two episodes of The Sopranos' final lap to the finish: the theme of the crime boss grooming his successor - and the faliure of both the New York and the New Jersey family's in that regard. Even as Johnny Sach lies dying in prison, the overqualified orderly (played to perfection by Sidney Pollack) leaves him a dog-eared copy of E.L. Doctorow's Billy Bathgate, which deals with this very subject (along with free will versus fate and moral relativism, both themes touched on throughout The Sopranos run.) Both Phil and Sil had couldn't handle the job (suffered heart and asthma attacks respectively) and the rest have issues, to say the least. Johnny says the job "get's no respect" and Phil muses that "it's a job for the young."

While Phil continues to think about what might have been John Cooper Clarke's spoken word song "Evidently Chicken" comes on and blows away everything that's happened in the show. The UK poet reads his bloody poem over music by The Invisible Girls, and with nearly 80 bloody's in the lyrics, it certainly helps fill the episode's blood quota.

Download: "Evidently Chickentown" - John Cooper Clarke (loudersoft)

Playlist: The Sopranos - Episode 614

More: Notice the visual references to The Godfather again this episode. The blood splatter while dining, and the ending scene with the christening were classic homages to the 'mother film.'
Previously: The Monopoly Game (Episode 613)
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drake leLane said...

The Sopranos - Ep 614

1. "Fried Neckbones & Home Fries (Dan the Automator Remix)" - Willie Bobo - Cleaver after party
2. "Jam fo' Real" - Tom Browne - Tony and Sil discuss 'Cleaver' at the Bing
3. "Thank You" - Dido (musak version) - Chris meets with his AA sponsor at a diner
4. "Summertime" - Chet Baker - Silvio, Jerry Torciano and guests dine out
5. "Right Stuff Dub" - Sly and Robbie - JT Dolan visits Tony and the crew at the Bing
6. "Everybody's Searching (For a Joyride)" - George Porter - Anthony Infante bears bad news at the Bing
7. "Evidently Chickentown" - John Cooper Clarke (DOWNLOAD) - Phil commiserates while Chris and Kelly christen their baby

John said...

Very interesting insights. While we had no idea when the script was written, it turns out our soon to be released film Lynch Mob is very close to Cleaver. Too close, lol. Not only is it the Mob meets flesh eating zombies, but the movies stars Tony Darrow who plays Larry Boy Barese, on the Sopranos and was one of the investors in Cleaver. The movie also stars Paul Borghese who has been on the Sopranos, Find Me Guilty ( Vin Diesel ) third watch and portrayed Yogi Berra in HBO's 61. It is crazy how much press this film is now getting and even crazier when art imitates life and then back again. I can't even keep up with it. Again glad I found your blog.

John J. Cornetta
Producer / Actor
Lynch Mob