Review The Many Saints of Newark: A Sopranos Fan’s Guide
It’s possible that fans of The Sopranos hoping to find closure in Review The Many Saints of Newark will be disappointed.David Chase, the show’s and movie’s creator, has consistently refused to answer questions about the series’ ambiguous ending, despite the fact that longstanding fans
and new viewers alike are still debating it.
When you’ve finished viewing the HBO drama, the show’s last earworm “Don’t Stop Believin'” will be stuck in your head for decades.Chase created The Many Saints of Newark, an HBO prequel set in the late 1960s.
and early 1970s, to avoid answering those questions regarding Tony Soprano’s fate. Pre-RICO days when gangsters controlled the city were celebrated in the original series. Throughout the six seasons, characters like Christopher Moltisanti’s father, Dickie Moltisanti, and Tony’s father, Johnny Soprano, were frequently mentioned. Many Saints of Newark follows Molitsanti
who is joined by younger versions of characters from The Sopranos, including Junior, Janice and Livia and Silvio. Here’s a spoiler-filled look at a few of the film’s references and callbacks that help us better understand the world in which Tony Soprano grew up, with a little help from director Francis Ford Coppola.
THE AMUSEMENT PARK:
The creators of The Sopranos woven flashbacks into the show’s fundamental structure. Tony’s therapy sessions with Dr. Melfi, who is pushing him to get to the bottom of his anxiety and panic attacks, often resulted in them.
In the first season episode “Down Neck,” Melfi tells Tony, “You said you enjoyed the History Channel.” “Whoever does not know history is bound to repeat it.”
Tony recalls back to a boyhood experience at the amusement park, where he found “my father wasn’t like other fathers” in that first episode. Young Tony witnesses his father being imprisoned at the amusement park and one of his fellow criminals being shot after taking the bus and being chased by a trio of young Black lads (one of them was played by a very young Michael B. Jordan). The sequence is remixed in Many Saints and set in the backdrop of the 1967 Newark riots, when residents of a Newark public housing neighborhood rose up in protest after police officers beat up a Black taxi driver.
The movie version feels more omniscient than the original sequence, which followed Tony’s point of view. David Chase told my V.F. colleague Matthew Lynch, who interviewed him about the film, that he sought to “connect two storylines.” “These were real riots,” says the author. That was the situation in his life.” Dickie Moltisanti and other members of the crime family utilize the town’s massive fires and looting as cover for their own criminal activities.
THE MISERY OF LIVIA SOPRANO:
In the original series, Livia (played by Nancy Marchand)
is an elderly curmudgeon who is so sour that she appears to be a plague on Tony’s existence rather than a comfort. Carmela gives an anti-eulogy at her wake when she dies in season three, characterizing her as “a woman that we all know was profoundly dysfunctional, who spread no cheer.” “Not at all.” Tony had a flashback of her surrounded by soiled dishes and a wailing infant, threatening him with meat-carving instruments. “I could stab you in the eye with this fork!”
Many Saints goes into greater into on Livia when she was younger. Vera Farmigia, who (in a conscious or unconscious nod to Freud) bears more than a passing similarity to Edie Falco in this film, plays her. The younger Livia is as salty as ever—she can be heard saying, “Oh poor you!”—but she is also a victim of her husband’s continuously violent and cruel actions.
ADVENTURES IN THERAPY: ( Review The Many Saints of Newark )
In the past of Many Saints, Livia is already distressed enough that her doctor wants to prescribe her the antidepressant Elavil, but she refuses. She sneers, “I’m not a drug addict!” Tony is enthralled by the Elavil leaflet and even plots with Dickie Moltisanti to get his beleaguered mother to take it: “It would make her happy.” Perhaps this is the point at which Tony—who will take Prozac many years later—begins to believe that psychotherapy and psychopharmacology can help him?
Meanwhile, Tony gets a taste of therapy when he is summoned to speak with the guidance counselor at school after being caught cheating. She inquires about his parents, and he tells her about one of his favorite childhood memories: the night Livia cuddled him in bed and read to him. She tries to be lovely to Tony for a brief moment, but their time together inevitably devolves into a fight, much as it did in The Sopranos.
Livia can’t seem to think of her kid in a positive light. She mocks his desire to be a football player in Many Saints, saying.
“He should go work in my cousin Frank’s patio furniture business”—a reference to Tony telling Dr. Melfi in season one’s “Down Neck” scene, “Sometimes I think about what life would’ve been like… if my father hadn’t gotten mixed up in what he got mixed up in.” What a different life it would have been. In San Diego, I could perhaps be selling patio furniture.”
THE BEEHIVE SHOT: ( A Sopranos Fan’s Guide )
During a drunken game of Monopoly in the season six episode “Home Movies,”
Janice told Carmela and Bobby Baccala a family story: After an evening out at a nightclub
with Uncle Junior and his goomar, their parents were travelling back from Manhattan. While Johnny was driving, Livia was yelling at him, and he became so enraged that he pulled out his gun and fired a shot right through her beehive hairstyle. We eventually get to see the scene unfold in Many Saints. It’s sparked by a discussion about Tony’s recent mischief (stealing an ice cream truck) and his future plans. Dickie Moltisanti assures Johnny, “You lead by example.
he’ll make the proper option.” “This youngster has what it takes to succeed…. I’d be goddamned proud if my Christopher grew up to be like Tony.”
THE GHOST OF CHRISTOPHER MOLTISANTI:
Michael Imperioli appears as the film’s narrator, speaking from beyond the grave about the circumstances that led to his death at the hands of Tony.He is a newborn infant at the time of the film,
and his proud father Dickie has high expectations for his kid. Dickie has no way of knowing that Chris will follow in his footsteps as a supposedly intelligent
but cruel killer who, like his father, will murder someone close to him—or that Chris will be murdered by Tony. Many Saints includes a moment in which a young Tony holds a crying newborn Chris for the first time. Tony explains, “It’s like I fear him or something.”
“Some newborns, when they come into the world, know things from the other side,” an older partygoer cautions later.
FALLING DOWN WITH UNCLE JUNIOR:
From the first episode of The Sopranos, Uncle Junior’s seething fury and hatred permeated through the show. He was continually irritated by Tony’s leadership and plotted to assassinate him.
and he used every opportunity to lash out at anyone who disrespected him. (When Junior broke up with his goomar because she exposed his preference for oral sex early in the series,
he punched her in the face with a pie.) In Many Saints, young Junior (played superbly by Corey Stoll) embodies that irritability and need for respect.
His proclivity for bodily harm is as well. In this scene, Young Junior slips on wet steps and injures his back.
And, just as in the season two episode “Do Not Resuscitate.
” he screams his enraged catchphrase in the bathroom: “Your sister’s cunt!”
LAST STAND AT HOLSTEN’S:
A Sopranos Fan’s Guide David Chase has refused to elaborate on the final Sopranos scene, which takes place at Holsten’s, the cafe where the family is last seen. Yet, about a minute before the series’ theme tune begins.
Many Saints returns to Holsten’s with a final scene of little Tony standing in the doorway.
The places “had to originate from somewhere in their past,” Chase told VF’s Matthew Lynch. The original Holsten’s can be found in Bloomfield, New Jersey. In the beginning, when we were filming the series, we had to travel there a lot.
We were looking for a shop like that, and there was the only one remaining with candy,” as well as the vintage ambiance.
- the film’s director (and a regular on the original series), has been far more open about the show’s conclusion.
- telling The Hollywood Reporter that Tony is slain in Holsten’s before the screen goes dark in his head.
- When youthful Tony comments that he wouldn’t want to die being shot in the back.
the new film makes an explicit allusion to a fan theory. “In our line of work, it’s constantly out there,” Bobby Bacala says in a prophetic phrase in season six. “Are you sure you don’t hear it when it happens?”