Friday, May 11, 2007

Monsters, Inc.

After meeting a few real-life mobsters, Mario Puzo said he deeply regretted how his novel The Godfather romanticized the Mafia. (Of course, Puzo said this long after he cashed the checks.) The movie adaptation certainly added a bright polish to the myth.

To his credit, David Chase never made this mistake with The Sopranos.

Yeah, the show has been on too damned long, and there are times during this season where it feels as though Chase is a lost tourist at a fork in the road with an unreliable map. Still, in spite of a few bad episodes, Chase has never made the error of forgetting who Tony Soprano and his crew are, and what they do for a living. O.K., I know some longtime viewers who love HBO’s critically-acclaimed drama and like to think that those wacky guys with guns up in New Jersey are just like them. Hey, Tony gets panic attacks, AJ is a spoiled brat who won’t listen to Carmella, and Uncle Junior is going senile. Don’t they sound normal?

They’re not.

In a horrifying scene on The Sopranos, we saw a pissed-off and boozed-up Christopher shoot his Hollywood pal J.T. Dolan in the face. For nothing. At that moment, Chase brutally reminded us what America’s Favorite Mobsters really are: Monsters.

They’re monsters who lie, steal, and kill people. Sure, the majority of the people they whack are other gangsters. But don’t think they would hesitate to smash a brick up against your head if you happened to scuff their shoes. It’d be no different to these thugs than stepping on a cockroach, and they wouldn’t give a fuck. They’re sadists, psychos, murderers. Monsters.

Too bad J.T. forgot that.

Be scared for Dr. Melfi. Very scared.