‘Not Fade Away” is the second of two recent films in which a successful son of Hollywood gets up close and personal. The first was Judd Apatow’s “This Is 40,” which concerns itself with the stresses of the present. “Not Fade Away” is about the romance of the past, and it comes to us from writer-director David Chase, who made his bones with “The Sopranos” but has apparently been carrying this movie around inside his head for decades.
All I can say is beware of filmmakers who’ve been carrying pet projects around for decades: They’ve long since lost the necessary distance and they want to cram everything in. (See “The Tree of Life” for a more epic example.) “Not Fade Away” is Chase’s fictionalized memoir of growing up a rebellious, rock-loving teenager in suburban New Jersey, and it’s both achingly affectionate and a terrible mess. Chase’s métier, it turns out, is the one-hour, present-tense drama. Aiming for a generational statement that encompasses the entire ’60s experience, he turns unexpectedly inept.