Nolte: 'The Sopranos' at 20 -- More Relevant Than Ever

Nolte: 'The Sopranos' at 20 -- More Relevant Than Ever

Through and through he is a gangster, adulterer, cold-blooded killer, inveterate liar, unrepentant racist, a bully, master manipulator, abuser of women, and a horrible, horrible father who made his child complicit to his crimes to devastating effect.

Through Chase’s characters, and specifically through the prosperous and miserably unhappy Soprano family, he tells the story of an America cursed with achieving the American Dream, because … what the hell are we supposed to strive for now?

The Italian thing, the mother thing, the tradition thing, the need-to-control thing, the status thing, the alpha-male thing… Tony’s existence is all about rationalizing as “duty” his endless pursuit of worldly pleasures — of those distractions until you die.

What you get when adults have no purpose or direction — to paraphrase my favorite moment from the series — are ethnic pride parades, shopping malls, and “professionals” assuring everyone nothing is their fault.

Like most of the series’ characters, Junior is an archetype — the bitterly insecure old man staring death in the face; the miserable prick all too aware that the only thing that awaits him is sickness and death.

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