A Night To Remember?
Tripwire’s editor-in-chief Joel Meadows shines his shoes, checks his ammunition, picks up his order from Satriales and takes a look at new Sopranos documentary, My Dinner With Alan: A Sopranos Session, streaming for one night only on 27 December…
My Night With Alan: A Sopranos Session
Directed by Kristian Fraga
Features: Alan Sepinwall , Matt Zoller Seitz, David Chase, Federico Castellucio, Arthur J. Nascarella, Vincent Pastore, Vincent Curatola
My Night With Alan is an extended documentary in three parts, streaming for one night only tomorrow (27 December 2020).
I have always been a huge fan of the show and I still believe that it is one of the most groundbreaking and finest TV shows ever made. So is My Dinner With Alan worth watching and worth shelling out your hard-earned money for?
The first part of the session features TV critics Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz, who wrote the fascinating Sopranos Sessions book that was released back in 2019, sitting in the diner in New Jersey where Tony Soprano may or may not have met his end. We watch them chat about the show for around fifty minutes and this is something that works much better in their book even though they obviously know their stuff here.
Then we switch to the second session, dropping in on four cast members having dinner and chewing the fat at a restaurant in New Jersey: Federico Castellucio (Furio Giunta), Arthur J. Nascarella (Carlo Gervasi), Vincent Pastore (Salvatore ‘Big Pussy’ Bonpensiero) and Vincent Curatola (Johnny Sacramente). Castellucio was a major player in the show as was Pastore and Curatola and you do learn a few interesting snippets about the running of The Sopranos here. For example, if a character was whacked in the show, the actor was taken to this very restaurant for dinner by the show’s makers afterwards. But sometimes it just feels like we are eavesdropping on a dinner between four pals.
Then for the third and final part, it switches to a filmed interview that Sepinwall and Zoller Seitz did in 2019 with the show’s creator David Chase. This is the most worthwhile thing here as Chase is a great interview subject and there is obviously decent chemistry between the two interviewers and him. Chase comes across as an intelligent, witty and likeable man.
So is it worth your £13? The first part is far too indulgent and doesn’t really hold your attention as a viewer. The second part is intriguing in places but doesn’t have any narrative thread. The final part, the chat with Chase, is head and shoulders above the first two and is almost worth the price of admission. The Sopranos was a fantastic groundbreaking show and there is a deep dive documentary waiting to be made about it. But this feels too much like a bit of a cash-in, which lacks any really cohesion. It’s not totally devoid of appeal but only for real hard-core aficionados of the show.
My Night With Alan: A Sopranos Session streams on 27 December. Sign up for it here https://dice.fm/bundle/celebrating-the-sopranos
Here’s its trailer