James Gandolfini was a really sweet man, who made it his job to show other guys - usually tougher guys - generally are, too:
In a 2012 interview with The Times, Gandolfini spoke about his role in the coming-of-age film “Not Fade Away” on which he collaborated once again with "Sopranos" creator David Chase. In the film about rebellious rock 'n' roll-minded teenager growing up in New Jersey in the 1960s, Gandolfini plays Pat, a father, husband and WWII vet who provides a secure home life to an ungrateful wife, son and daughter.
“This was an hommage to my old man," said the actor. "My father wasn't as antagonistic [as his character] but he was old school — Brooklyn, cement mason, bricklayer. He didn't understand me or my generation. He took care of his family, took care of his children."
"What we as children didn't realize is our father was a man who had dreams, aspirations and maybe there were things he wanted to do and places he wanted to go and he couldn't because he had a family," he continued. "When I realized that as a kid, I wished I was a better son."
How many other people, in this Father-hating society, will admit they fucked up? By misreading the previous generation's men, they created chaos from the mistake?
I still fondly recall sharing a piece of pie with my father in a diner, after we'd watched "Cooley High" together, because he wanted me to understand how it was when he came up. (He'd had a heart attack, and his side of the family - who, unbeknownst to me, knew where I was - reconnected us in an effort to raise his spirits.) We talked for hours, about everything, but when it came down to what happened to he and I, my mother - our family - his head sank, hard, and I got an inkling of life's crushing power.
He didn't explain it, in detail, to me. He couldn't. In some ways, he didn't have to.
That intimidating man's body language said it all:
There was nothing he could do - not against the world.
A lesson I, too, didn't take that seriously - until my own family went awry,...