Tag Archives: The Sopranos

A Very, Very, VERY Sentimental Journey – A Recap of Glee’s Season Finale “Journey”

I’m not going to say that the The Sopranos finale was the first time I heard about or listened to the band, Journey, but it was pretty darn close.  Just in case you were curious, THIS is Journey . . .

Is it just me, or does the one on the far right bear a striking resemblance to Sue Sylvester?

Yet, now, between that controversial fade-to-black “Tony Soprano loves onion rings.  Let’s listen to Don’t Stop Believing, before we sort of, kind of, quite possibly die” series finale, and Glee‘s Journey extravaganza at Regionals, the aforementioned 80’s hairband has officially become the Lords of the Primetime Finale!  And having watched this season’s final episode of Glee (appropriately entitled “Journey”), I can certainly see why . . .

If At First You Don’t Succeed, Cry, Cry (and cry, and cry, and cry) . . . AGAIN!

The episode began with a SHOCKING revelation! 

Well . . . at least . . . it would have been shocking, if it wasn’t revealed during the episode promos.  You see, the winner of the Regional Glee Club competition was to be decided by a panel of four “celebrity judges.”  (Why four?  Wouldn’t it make more sense to have an ODD number of judges, in the event of a tiebreaker?) 

WHO is the fourth judge, you ask?  None other than THIS lovely lady . . .

 . . . who, seemingly, hates the Glee kids’ little singing and dancing butts.  This, of course, complicates matters, seeing as, Glee must “place” at Regionals, in order to retain school funding for their club.

Understandably, hearing that news bums out our Glee kids, who have already spent a majority of the second half of this season bummed out about something or other.  Lucky for Quinn, she gets to escape to Hot Porno Flashback land — specifically, the time when she and a still Mohawk-ed Puck did the nasty in her bedroom, while she was drunk on wine coolers.  Of course, she was still wearing her cheerleading uniform at the time.  Obviously, Quinn is too young to remember Monica Lewinsky, and the important life lesson she taught us, back in the day: “Sex acts are for the NAKED ONLY.  Clothes just get in the way, and, eventually get you into trouble.”

“I did NOT have sexual relations with that cheerleader!”

While the Glee kids are at Mr. Schuester’s house for pizza, they all cry about how much they will miss Glee club, once it’s gone.  Will tries to keep his composure during the meeting, for the kids’ sake.  However, later, while driving alone in his car, Will hears “Don’t Stop Believing,” and can no longer fight his emotions.    Kudos to Matthew Morrison for making this scene raw and real, and not feeling the need to “cry pretty.”  Because, let me tell you, for a cute guy, that was some UGLY ASS crying  . . .

“I don’t understand, he was eating onion rings, and everything was FINE!  Then it just ENDED, without explanation!  If only Meadow Soprano was better at parallel parking, things might have been different!

Upon witnessing this heartfelt, teary scene, I couldn’t help but be reminded of ANOTHER male actor, who is also highly adept at UGLY CRY FACE . . .

“I wish they played Journey music, when Joey Potter dumped ME.  It would have helped to ease my pain!”

Then, because it’s the season finale, and ALL Would-Be Couples must make out in the season finale they truly believe they can lead the Glee Club to greatness, Finn and Rachel decide to makeout in the middle of the high school hallway.

Just moments later, having been energized and inspired by his Ugly Face Cry, Mr. Schuester informs the kids that they will be doing a Journey medley at Regionals . . .  because the “journey is more important than the destination,” or something like that.  We all know how insufferably cheesy Mr. Schue can get, when it’s time for him to reveal the “Lesson of the Day.”

“Hey look!   It’s Will Schuester’s Dad, Mr. Rogers!  It all makes so much sense now.”

Welcome to Regionals, Baby!

As promised, at the Regionals competition, OUR Glee group, New Directions, sings a Journey medley containing, three songs: “Faithfully,” “Anyway You Want It,” and, of course, the song that first made this show legendary, “Don’t Stop Believing.”  The entire performance was phenomenal, and certainly exceeded all of MY expectations.  Even Finn’s awkward dancing was slightly less irksome tonight.  (Props to the script writers for not-so-subtly pointing out how VERY BAD he actually is.)  Oh, and you know who FINALLY got a solo?  THIS Guy . . .

I know, I know.  That was a totally lame excuse to include a Shirtless Mark Salling pic in this recap.  But, COME ON, this is my last opportunity to do this ALL SUMMER!  You can’t honestly blame me for trying to make the best of it.

Immediately, after New Directions finishes its performance, Quinn’s estranged mother approaches her, and tells her VERY pregnant daughter that she wants her back in her life.

I would love to say that Mama Fabray’s “change of heart” came from a completely unselfish place.  However, I imagine it had a lot to do with the fact that Daddy Fabray ran off with some “tattooed freak.”

Sound familiar?

Speaking of Jesse James, or, rather, Jesse St. James, while Quinn is being rushed off to the hospital to give birth (her water breaks, while she is reuniting with her mother),  Jesse and his EVIL crew, Vocal Adrenaline, perform their medley of songs by Queen.  We actually only get to hear “Bohemian Rhapsody.”  However, we can assume that, at some point, the group performed “Another One Bites the Dust,” also by Queen, seeing as we heard that one in last week’s episode.  Personally, I would have preferred to see this uptight bunch rock out to “Fat Bottomed Girls”  . . . but that’s just me.

I realize that Jonathan Groff is supposed to be this “big time” Broadway star, so I’m going to chalk this up to his interpretation of the “Jesse” character.  However, it must be said that this dude makes some truly WEIRD and PISSED OFF faces, when he sings and dances . . .

The Constipated Pianist

 “Bohemian Rhapsody” is a notoriously LONG song, that has about a MILLION different parts to it.  However, either Vocal Adrenaline are the World’s Slowest Singers, or Quinn gave birth to Mutant Speedy Pop Out Baby (It would certainly explain Quinn’s rapidly expanding, decreasing, and expanding again waistline).  Because, while Vocal Adrenaline was singing, New Directions had time to:

 (1) drive Quinn to the hospital;

(2) watch her go into labor and give birth;

 (3) complete all the legal paper work necessary to process an impromptu adoption (more on that later);

(4) drive back to the competition in perfect hair and makeup; and

(5) be ready and waiting on stage for the award announcements.

But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself here.  You see, the writers brilliantly (or disturbingly, depending on how you feel about these sort of things) juxtaposed Quinn’s giving birth . . .

“They’ve only been singing for about two minutes.  You have PLENTY of time to give me an epidural!”

 . . . with Vocal Adrenaline’s preformance of “Bohemian Rhapsody.”  So when Quinn gave birth to Baby Beth . . .

 . . . Vocal Adrenaline symbolically “gave birth” to Jesse . . .

EWWWWWWWWW!

 . . . which left me wondering, which Vocal Adrenaline star was lucky enough to play the “afterbirth?”

“I’m melting!  I’m melting!”

Speaking of that heartless witch of a Vocal Adrenaline coach, Shelby Corcoran, Rachel approaches her biological mom after the competition, and suggests she “team coach” New Directions with Will.  But Shelby HATES the idea.  She wants to have a NEW KID, so she has absolutely NO TIME to waste on her VERY VERY OLD ONE.  So, of course, Quinn and Puck HAVE to give Shelby their kid, because screwing up ONE childhood, is clearly not enough for this broad!

“I’ll get you my Quinney!  And your Baby Beth too!”

And the Winner Isn’t . . .

Meanwhile, Sue Sylvester and her panel of “celebrity” judges . . .

Yeah, I was confused too  . . .

 .  . . duke it out amongst themselves to determine who should win Regionals.  Surprisingly, Sue keeps her mouth shut through most of the deliberations, except to deflect some insults thrown her way by the other judges, Olivia Newton John, Josh Groban, and that random news guy from one of the early episodes, Rod Remmington.  And when Sue Sylvester is the NICEST one in the room, you know you’ve got a pretty unlikeable bunch.    The other three judges seem split exactly down the middle, with Olivia Newton John preferring the porn-name sounding “Aural Intensity,” who performed a cover of one of her songs, Rod enjoying Jesse and his Vocal Adrenaline kids, and Josh seeming to prefer OUR New Directions kids.

Soon after deliberations are complete, we learn that New Directions finished THIRD in the competition, with Vocal Adrenaline bringing in the win.  Of course, the kids are crushed, believing their Glee club dreams are finished . . .

A Kiss, Two Songs, A Truce, MUCH MORE Tears . . .

Back at school, Will finds ex-girlfriend Emma (now dating a dentist) screaming at Principal Figgins about his decision to disband Glee club.  (Not that Principal F has made ANY decisions this year, without someone’s hand up his ass, making his mouth move . . . I’ve seen slugs with more gumption than this guy!)  Will sees this exchange, and apparently finds it SUPER HOT, because he promptly tells Emma he loves her, and makes out with her because that’s what ALL Would-Be Couples do during season finales he really cares.

His mouth still wet from Emma’s super sanitized spit, Will enters the school auditorium to find his entire Glee club sitting before him.  In a scene that ACTUALLY had ME crying, the kids tell Will how much he has meant to them as a teacher.  They further explain that, even if there is no more Glee Club, Will’s lessons will always be in their hearts. The crew then sing “To Sir With Love.” And, by the time, they are finished, there is truly not a dry eye in the house.

Not even the eyes of Sue Sylvester!

Through flashbacks, we find out that, in a surprising show of decency, Sue HAD actually voted for New Directions to win at Regionals (which makes it all the more confusing that they LOST, especially considering that (1) Josh Groban also seemed to be on board with them winning; and (2) the other two judges each had a different favorite candidate.)

Feeling a bit guilty about the loss of New Directions, Sue strong-arms Principal Figgins (see what I mean about the hand up the butt?) into reinstating Glee club for ANOTHER YEAR!

Upon hearing the good news, Will decides to call a temporary truce with Sue!

 

Take note, Middle East!  If THEY can do it, so can YOU!

Will is so happy, he sings “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” with Puck, which was touching and sweet, if not exactly “manly.”

“Hey, Puck!  When we’re done here, do you wanna go shopping with me?  There are these ruby red slippers at the new mall that I’ve just been DYING to try on.  It’s right up the yellow brick road . . .”

So, there you have it, folks.  Our first season of Glee has come and gone, and a long, hot Glee-less summer awaits.  Something tells me, I’m going to be singing to myself A LOT more in the coming months . . .

See ya next year, fellow Gleeks!

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My Favorite Mobsters: My Picks of the Top Ten “Made Men” to Grace the Silver and Small Screen

Why are we so fascinated by mobsters?  Is it the way they talk?  (“Fuhgeddaboutit!”  “I’m gonna make him an  offer he can’t refuse!”  “Go to the mattresses.” “I amuse you?  I make you laugh?”)  Their funny accents?  Those snazzy suits and hats they always wear? 

Or perhaps it’s something deeper.  After all, mafia men are loyal to a fault.  They adhere to a strict code of honor.  They place the institution of  “family” above all else.  If you really think about it, mobsters were the first, and ultimate, “bad boys.”  The most successful ones are powerful, strong,  sexy . . . and deadly dangerous.

So, without further adieu, here’s my list of the Top Ten Fictional Mobsters of all time . . .

10) Fat Tony  – The Animated Mobster

Show of origin:  The Simpsons

Played by:          Joe Montegna (he does the voice)

Why he made the list: 

Fat Tony is a successful amalgamation of pretty much every movie and television mobster ever invented.  But he still manages to have his own unique style.  It’s really hard to be intimidating when you are drawn in colored pencil, and have a face like a muppet.  Yet, Fat Tony somehow manages to be genuinely menacing.  Interestingly enough, the character’s appearance is based on that of an actor who frequently appears in mafia films (and was just shy of making this list).

Paul Sorvino (Now can you see the resemblance?)

9) Sonny – The Mobster with a Heart of Gold

Film of origin:  A Bronx Tale

Played by:        Chazz Palminteri

Why he made this list:

Sure, Sonny may have shot a man in cold blood over a parking space, but it was really to protect Joe Pesci!  And, yes,  Sonny beat the stuffing out of an entire biker gang, but they had been destroying family-owned bars across the country!  When you really think about it, this New York mob boss was a pretty good guy, as far as racketeering murderers go.  And he seemed to really care about young Calogero (“C”). 

Sonny acted as a second father to C (His biological father was played by Robert De Niro, who is also on this list, TWICE.  However, not for this movie, where he played a law-abiding bus driver.)  He taught C the ins and outs of life, lectured him about staying in school, gave him advice on women, tried to keep him away from a life of crime, and, most importantly, saved his life.  Oh, and he also taught him how to gamble.  Gambling is fun!

8) Consigliere Tom Hagen – The Smart Mobster

Film of origin: The Godfather (Parts I and II)

Played by: Robert Duvall

Why he made the list:

Not all mobsters were Italian.  Some were of German and Irish descent, like Tom Hagen.  (Can’t you tell by the name?)  Tom was an educated man, a lawyer.  He acted as a sage, and mild-mannered advisor, first to Vito Corleone, and, later to his son, Michael.  Despite, living and working amongst mobsters, Tom more or less managed to keep his hands clean.  And while he remained loyal to The Family throughout his life, he did so without ever committing an act of violence.  (Then again, he did convince that one guy to commit suicide.  Not cool, Tom!)

7) Sylvio Dante  – The Loyal Rocker Mobster

Played by :         Steven Van Zandt

Show of origin:  The Sopranos

Why he made the list:  

Oh how, I love Sylvio, let me count the ways.  First and foremost, he has cool Elvis hair.

And the actor who plays him rocks out with a band from my home state of NEW JERSEY!  Bruce Springsteen’s E-Street Band, of course!

Silvio was probably the toughest muscle of Tony Soprano’s gang.  However,  unlike the hot-headed Paulie Walnuts (we’ll get to him later), he never lost his cool.  When others came to doubt Tony’s leadership, Sylvio was unfailingly loyal.  Sylvio detested rats above all else, and most of his victims were snitches and informants of some sort.  (And no one likes THEM, anyway, right?)

6) Jimmy “The Greek” Conway – The Strong and Silent (but Deadly) Mobster

Film of origin:   Goodfellas

Played by: Robert De Niro

Why he made this list:

Like Tom Hagen, Jimmy is an Irish mobster (although, truthfully, it’s hard to imagine De Niro as anything other than Italian).   And like Silvio, he is the mild-mannered muscle of his crew.  Although, Jimmy’s origin of descent prevented him from becoming a true “made man,” he never complained.  While his hands may have been dirtier than anyone else’s in his Family, Jimmy never let his job diminish his sense of class and style.  A

fter a big score had left them with untold riches, Jimmy cautioned his crew against dressing and behaving too ostentatiously.  Oh yeah, and the dude can smoke a cigar like no one’s business . . .

5) Vito Corleone – The Old School Mobster

Film of origin: The Godfather (Parts I and II)

Played by:       Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro

Why he made the list:

Honestly, how could I make a mobster list, without including the original mobster himself?  Vito was the King of the Mobsters.  The mobster on which all subsequent film and television mobsters are undoubtedly based.  And if his character didn’t have to go and die on us at the end of the first Godfather movie (we saw him in the second one only through flashbacks), I have no doubt that he would be significantly higher on this list. 

You know what?  I’m not even going to tell you why Vito is so cool.  I’m going to let him show you for himself . . .

4) Paulie Walnuts – The Wal – NUTS Mobster

Show of origin: The Sopranos

Played by:          Tony Sirico

Why he made the list:

In short, Paulie made this list because he is bat sh*t crazy!  If Silvio is the man on the Soprano’s crew you’d most want to have your back, Paulie is the one you’d most want to take out for beers.  Between his kick ass one-liners, his random flip outs, and his childlike constant need for approval, hot-headed Paulie Walnuts is nothing if not entertaining.  And talk about loyalty to family, the dude beat up an old lady, just because she wasn’t playing nicely with his mother!  Plus, he has awesome Pepe Le Pew hair . . .

(Notice the resemblance?)

3) Tommy DeVito – The Loudmouthed Mobster

Film of origin: Goodfellas

Played by: Joe Pesci (Here’s another guy that I couldn’t dream of making a Mob Hit List without!)

Why he made the list:

I’m pretty sure, a lot of what is awesome about Paulie Walnuts was inspired by this guy.  Tommy DeVito was a hotheaded sociopath, who loved killing and beating the crap out of people. In fact, he did it regularly, often for NO REASON AT ALL.  Murderous tendencies aside, he seems like a pretty cool guy to spend an evening with.  Just don’t call him funny . . .

2) Michael Corleone – The Reluctant Mobster

Film of origin: The Godfather (Parts I, II and III)

Played by: Al Pacino

Why he made the list?

Do you even have to ask?  Michael Corleone was the quintessential mob boss.  But what made him so interesting and unique was that he never wanted to be one.  Born into a notorious crime family, Michael escaped his roots at the age of 18, and went on to become an Ivy League graduate, and war hero.  He then married the straight-laced daughter of a Baptist minister, in hopes of becoming a law-abiding family man, with a lowercase “f.”

But Michael soon gets sucked into the Family’s web.  When two nearly successful attempts are made on his father’s life, he is forced to avenge them.  After his father’s death, Michael is forced to replace him as head of the Corleone crime family.

Although throughout the trilogy, Michael makes numerous attempts to legitamize the Family business, he is continually thwarted by circumstances beyond his control, as well as his growing greed and hubris.  Of all our mob men’s stories, his is perhaps the most tragic.  And that’s why we love him.

1) Tony Soprano – Jersey Mobster Supreme

Show of origin: The Sopranos

Played by:          James Gandolfini

Why he made the list?

There are those of you out there who would undoubtedly like to give me flack for placing Tony Soprano above Michael Corleone on this list.  However, I have had eight years to get to know the former, and only a few hours to get to know the latter.  So, you will have to forgive me my sacrilege. 

Tony Soprano remains one of the most complex characters in television history.  On one hand, he is a hardened criminal, a violent and cold-blooded killer — a man who regularly cheats on his wife, who betrays his former friends and members of his family.  Sure, you could probably justify his murder of Tony Blundetto as a mercy killing, a rival family was going to do him in, anyway.

And his murder of Adrianna could be called a “protective measure.”  She was going to turn Tony and the rest of the Soprano family over to the FBI.

But his shocking “hands-on” murder of protégé and adoptive nephew Christopher Moltisanti during the show’s final season? 

I’m scratching my head over that one . . .

On the other hand, Tony Soprano was always somewhat of a flawed every-man.  He tried desperately to be a good dad to his two children, a good brother to his younger sister, and a good son to his spiteful, mean, and often unappreciative mother.  And before he killed Christopher, he really did care for him like a son or younger brother (if that counts for anything).  Tony also suffered from debilitating depression and panic attacks, both of which made him seem more fragile and human.

It was these physical and emotional ailments that caused Tony to seek treatment from psychiatrist Dr. Melfi.  During these therapy sessions,  we got to see a softer side of Tony — a side that experienced guilt and remorse over his actions, one that loved and deeply cared about those around him.

Dr. Melfi brought out the best in Tony Soprano.  And even though, these two never crossed the line romantically, the intelligent interplay and sexual tension between them was extremely HOT!

This is why Tony Soprano, tops my list.  And why, I REFUSE to believe that he died during that maddening fade-to-black series finale!  In fact, I am so certain, that Tony merely finished his onion rings, waited until Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing finished playing on the juke box, and drove home, that I’ve decided to leave you with a video of the awesome opening credits to one of the best television series of all time. 

After all, these credits show a living, cigar-smoking Tony Soprano commuting home from work on the New Jersey Turnpike.  And that’s what I truly believe he will be doing tomorrow evening . . . at least in TV Land!

 

 

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Filed under film, Mobsters, television, Top Ten Lists

And now for something completely different (well . . . sort of)

        As I was preparing to watch the season premiere for Big Love (which I recapped for you here), I came across an HBO trailer for its four new “original” television series.  The trailer went something like this . . .

        From the people who brought you The Sopranos, a show about a present-day mafia family living in Northern New Jersey . . .

 . . .  here comes Boardwalk Empire, a show about a 1920s mafia family rising to power in Southern Jersey.

         From the people who brought you Entourage, a show about a twenty-something actor from Queens, New York, and his buddies, who relocate to Hollywood when the actor strikes it big on the silver screen . . .

 . . . here comes How to Make it in America, a show about a twenty-something fashion designer from Brooklyn, New York, and his buddies, who try to strike it rich in NYC.

          From the people who brought you The Wire, a realistic, often gritty, portrayal of urban life in Baltimore, Maryland . . .

 . . . here comes Treme, a realistic, often gritty portrayal of urban life in New Orleans, Louisianna.

           From the people who brought you Band of Brothers, a miniseries about World War II . . .

  . . .  here comes The Pacific, another miniseries about World War II.

           Now, don’t get me wrong, these all sound like really good shows.  And knowing me, I’ll probably watch every single one.  But am I the only one starting to notice a trend here? 

             Are we one day going to get to the point where all of the media we enjoy: our television shows, books, movies, and artwork, are nothing more than previously popular old concepts, dressed up in new and shiny packaging?  Has Hollywood just temporarily run out of new ideas?  Or are producers simply so primed against the possibility of failure that they are afraid to take a chance on something that is fresh and new?

            I guess only time will tell what types of programming will be reviewed ten years from now, on TV Recappers Anonymous: The Sequel.

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