Soprano Home Movies
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"Soprano Home Movies" is the 78th episode of the HBO television drama series The Sopranos and the 13th episode of the sixth season. It served as the midseason premiere to the second part of Season 6, whose broadcast HBO split in two.
|"Soprano Home Movies"|
|The Sopranos episode|
|Directed by||Tim Van Patten|
|Produced by||David Chase|
"This Magic Moment" by|
Ben E. King and The Drifters
|Cinematography by||Phil Abraham|
|Editing by||William B. Stich|
|Original air date||April 8, 2007|
|Running time||51 minutes|
The episode was written by supervising producers Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider, series creator/executive producer David Chase, and executive producer Matthew Weiner, and it was directed by frequent series director Tim Van Patten. The episode first aired in the United States on April 8, 2007.
"Soprano Home Movies", which is set eight months after the preceding episode, details a weekend that series protagonist Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) and his wife Carmela (Edie Falco) spend with his sister Janice (Aida Turturro) and brother-in-law Bobby (Steve Schirripa) at a lakefront vacation home in upstate New York, and the complications that arise during this weekend.
The scenes set at the vacation home were filmed in Putnam Valley, New York. "Soprano Home Movies" was watched by 7.66 million American viewers. Critical reception of the midseason premiere was mostly favorable; critics praised the episode for its calm, contemplative storytelling. The episode garnered a number of award nominations and won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series.
- James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano
- Lorraine Bracco as Dr. Jennifer Melfi *
- Edie Falco as Carmela Soprano
- Michael Imperioli as Christopher Moltisanti
- Dominic Chianese as Corrado Soprano, Jr. *
- Steven Van Zandt as Silvio Dante
- Tony Sirico as Paulie Gualtieri
- Robert Iler as Anthony Soprano, Jr.
- Jamie-Lynn Sigler as Meadow Soprano
- Aida Turturro as Janice Soprano Baccalieri
- Steven R. Schirripa as Bobby Baccalieri
- Vincent Curatola as Johnny "Sack" Sacrimoni
- Frank Vincent as Phil Leotardo
- Dan Grimaldi as Patsy Parisi
- Gregory Antonacci as Butch DeConcini
* = credit only
- John Bianco as Gerry Torciano
- John "Cha Cha" Ciarcia Albie Cianflone
- Dominic Chianese, Jr. as Dominic
- Daniel P. Conte as Faustino "Doc" Santoro
- Armen Garo as Salvatore "Coco" Cogliano
- Robert LuPone as Bruce Cusamano
- David Margulies as Neil Mink
- Arthur J. Nascarella as Carlo Gervasi
- Dania Ramirez as Blanca Selgado
- Saundra Santiago as Jeannie Cusamano
- Avery Elaine and Emily Ruth Pulcher as Domenica Baccalieri
- Philippe Bergeron as Denis
- Christian Laurin as Normand
- Marc Bonan as René LeCours
- Patrena Murray as Mercedes
- Jim Bracchitta as Peter Acinapura
- Dan Castleman as D.A. Castleman
- Eric Morace as Detective Gaudioso
- Hunter Gallagher as Brad
- Kadin and Kobi George as Hector Selgado
In a flashback to the winter of 2004, a teenage boy witnesses Johnny Sack's arrest by the FBI and Tony Soprano dropping a pistol in the snow as he flees the scene. The boy picks up and accidentally fires the gun, and then takes it with him back into his house. Over three years later, in August 2007, Essex County Sheriff's Office arrest Tony on a gun charge based on the boy's testimony after he was caught with the illegal weapon in his car. Tony is briefly jailed in Newark before appearing in court with his attorney, Neil Mink, who easily secures Tony's release on bail.
In Brooklyn, a party is held for Phil Leotardo, who has recently returned from the hospital after a long convalescence following a near-fatal heart attack. Phil tells the Lupertazzi crime family that he is ready to settle down and "enjoy [his] grandchildren." After Tony returns home, he and Carmela travel to Janice and Bobby's upstate New York cabin to celebrate Tony's birthday. On the way, Tony receives a call from Mink and is told the gun charge has been dropped. Tony and Bobby bond as they fire Bobby's customized AR-10 assault rifle in the nearby woods. Bobby gives Tony the firearm as a birthday present.
While fishing on the lake in Bobby's motor boat, Tony reflects that there are likely only two ways a mobster's criminal activities might end: prison or murder. Tony tells Bobby that his plans to use a protégé to shield himself from police scrutiny has failed, and that he is looking for a position for Bobby in the Soprano family. Tony comments that Bobby has never "popped his cherry" in regards to killing someone, in contrast with Bobby's father; Bobby replies that he has come close, but that his father never wanted it for him. Meanwhile, A.J. opts to skip going to his new job at Beansie Gaeta's pizzeria and uses his parents' bedroom to entertain his girlfriend and some partygoers.
Tony, Carmela, Bobby, and Janice get increasingly drunk and argue over a game of Monopoly. Over Tony's objections, Janice relates an embarrassing childhood story in which a gun accidentally discharged and shot through Livia's beehive hairdo. Tony then starts making jabs at Janice's looks and past lifestyle, eventually causing Bobby to beat him in a fight. Panicking, Bobby tries to drive off drunk and backs into a tree. He returns and apologizes to Tony before the two couples go to bed. Tony wakes up in the middle of the night and tells the Baccalieris that Bobby beat him fair and square. The couples seem to make amends, but Tony increasingly obsesses over losing the fight and makes angry comments to anyone who will listen.
Tony and Bobby leave for a prearranged business meeting with two Québécois, but inform their wives they are going to play golf. In exchange for a large amount of expired prescription medication, Tony agrees to a hit on the brother-in-law of one of the Québécois and asks Bobby to personally take care of it. Bobby is compelled to accept the task. Carmela and Janice nervously wait for their husbands and get into an argument when Carmela shows resentment at Janice's implications that Tony's behavior comes from his family. Carmela maintains that Tony is not a "vindictive man." Once the men return to the house, Carmela and Tony leave for home and Bobby immediately sets off for Montreal to complete the hit.
Bobby finds his target in the laundry room of an apartment building. Seemingly frenzied, Bobby shoots him dead at point-blank range. The victim rips a part of Bobby's shirt before the mobster flees the bloody scene. Back home, Tony watches a "Soprano Home Movies" DVD given to him by Janice as a birthday present. Mink calls, informing Tony that the FBI has picked up the gun charge and will likely use it as a predicate for Tony's RICO case. Bobby returns to his lakefront house, picks up his daughter and gazes out over the lake in silence as the sun sets.
- Faustino "Doc" Santoro: a veteran made man, very likely a capo, of the Lupertazzi crime family, one of the mobsters who welcomes Phil Leotardo back from the hospital.
- René LeCours: shot dead by Bobby Baccalieri in Montreal on orders from Tony Soprano as an assassination contract for $15,000, which was ordered by a French Canadian gangster.
- The episode's title derives from Janice's birthday present to Tony: a DVD onto which she has had transferred old home movies of them and their sister during their childhood.
- It could also refer to the dysfunctional Soprano family home life (described as such by Tony himself) as seen in the episode by the interactions between Tony and Janice and described in stories about their childhood and their parents by Janice.
"Soprano Home Movies" was written by four of the show's five principal season six writers: supervising producers and writing team Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider, series creator and showrunner David Chase and executive producer Matthew Weiner, who had been promoted from co-executive producer before the production of "Soprano Home Movies" began. The four developed the episode's story outline along with executive producerTerence Winter. "Soprano Home Movies" is Frolov and Schneider's fourth and final official writing credit for the series; it is Chase's twenty-seventh and Weiner's ninth. Chase and Weiner collaborated on two more of the season's episodes: "Kennedy and Heidi" and "The Blue Comet".
"Soprano Home Movies" was the first episode of the final nine episodes to be produced, following a six-month-long production hiatus. In preparation for shooting the episode, series creator/executive producer David Chase held several rehearsals with the lead actors.
The scenes at the lakefront vacation home were filmed over two weeks in June 2006 in Putnam Valley, New York. Additional interior shots were filmed six months later at Silvercup Studios, New York, where a replica of the cabin had been built in a sound stage. The lake seen multiple times in the episode is Lake Oscawana. The scenes of Tony and Bobby fishing were filmed on location on the lake but much closer to the shore than it appears in the episode. The scenes set in Montreal were actually filmed in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. Filming of the scenes set in New Jersey and the Soprano residence took place on location in Essex County, New Jersey and in Silvercup Studios. While filming the cabin fight scene between Tony and Bobby in Silvercup Studios, Steve Schirripa accidentally headbutted James Gandolfini. The fight scene was choreographed but Gandolfini didn't step out of the way in time. His nose was bloodied but not broken. The real headbutting was kept in the episode.
- Gregory Antonacci, who plays Phil Leotardo's underboss Butch DeConcini on the show, is promoted to the main cast and billed in the opening credits, but only for this episode.
- Dominic Chianese's son Dominic Chianese, Jr. joins the show as a mostly background character, New York mobster Dominic, one of the members of the Lupertazzi crime family who greets Phil upon his return from the hospital.
- The role of Domenica Baccalieri was recast with twins Avery Elaine and Emily Ruth Pulcher replacing Kimberly and Brianna Laughlin.
References to previous episodesEdit
- The 2004 winter scene of Johnny "Sack"'s arrest is taken from the season 5 finale "All Due Respect."
- Carmela mentions the house on the shore she and Tony once wanted to buy and Tony, irritated, changes the subject. Carmela refers to Whitecaps, the house on the Jersey Shore featured in the season four finale named after it whose purchase was abandoned right after Tony and Carmela's separation.
- Janice describes to Carmela her previous boyfriend who once hit her and she "exploded" in anger against him, referring to the murder of Richie Aprile in the season two episode "The Knight in White Satin Armor."
Other cultural and historical referencesEdit
- When Tony sees Bobby wearing shorts and a sleeveless shirt at the lake house, Tony exclaims "National Lampoon's Vacation!" in reference to the 1983 movie starring Chevy Chase.
- When Janice tells Tony he has changed and is "different" since the shooting, Tony responds: "Different how? How am I different?", which could be a throwback to Joe Pesci's character Tommy DeVito in the famous Goodfellas scene: "Funny how? How am I Funny?"
- Monopoly's distributors, the Parker Brothers, are mentioned by Bobby when he disagrees with digressing from the game's original rules.
- Casualties of the Iraq War are mentioned in a radio broadcast.
- The song "Funk #49" by the James Gang is played on Tony's car radio as he and Carmela drive to the cabin.
- The songs "Love Hurts" by The Everly Brothers and "Out of Time" by The Rolling Stones are played during the karaoke scene at the cabin.
- The song "Take Five" by The Dave Brubeck Quartet plays in the background as the two couples play Monopoly.
- The song played over the end credits is "This Magic Moment" by The Drifters.
"Soprano Home Movies" drew an average of 7.66 million viewers when it first aired on HBO on Sunday April 8, 2007 in the United States. This estimate was done by Nielsen Ratings. This was a significant drop from the 2006 season premiere episode, "Members Only", which attracted 9.47 million viewers and the lowest ratings for a Sopranos premiere since the season two opening episode, "Guy Walks Into a Psychiatrist's Office...", which drew roughly the same number of viewers as "Soprano Home Movies" (7.64 million viewers).
The episode was critically acclaimed. Tom Biro of television webblog TV Squad gave the episode a favorable review, writing "All in all, big thumbs up from me." Marisa Carroll of PopMatters called the midseason premiere "stellar" and wrote that "David Chase repeatedly re-imagines ordinary family scenarios—like a weekend trip to the mountains—in brutal, gangster terms. [...] Such signature exaggerations remain both hilarious and unsettling." She awarded the episode a score of 9 out of 10 (shared with the following two episodes). Tim Goodman of the San Francisco Chronicle praised the episode, writing "the series remains as vital and interesting as ever [...] There may be no better (or realistic) way to go forward into this Sopranos swan song." Kim Reed of Television Without Pity gave the midseason premiere an A−, writing "...while, on the surface, not much happened, I think there were a ton of callbacks to previous episodes and that familiar Soprano tension was used to good effect." Maureen Ryan of the Chicago Tribune wrote "this is loose, contemplative Sopranos storytelling at its best." Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly was impressed with the midseason premiere and wrote that, despite not being a very eventful episode on the surface, "everything happened". Alan Sepinwall of The Star Ledger gave "Soprano Home Movies" a positive review and praised it for featuring the character of Bobby Bacala in a more prominent role, writing "The hour was largely a refresher course on Tony, Janice and their history, but it also gave Bacala the dignity he's so often been deprived by the writers." Alessandra Stanley of The New York Times gave the episode a mixed review, calling it "solemn" and wrote that "even before last season the series had started to sag in places, a creative fatigue that matched the main characters' weariness and also the audience's." Brian Zoromski of IGN awarded "Soprano Home Movies" a score of 9.5 out of 10, citing the calm, subtle storytelling as a great strength.
In 2007, "Soprano Home Movies" was nominated in four categories for the 59th Primetime Emmy Awards. The episode was submitted for consideration in the category of Outstanding Drama Series. This led to a nomination and the show—which was judged by six episodes from the second part of the sixth season, including "Soprano Home Movies"—won. It was also nominated but failed to win in the categories of Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series (Phil Abraham), Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series (William B. Stich), and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (Aida Turturro). The episode was also submitted for Emmy consideration in the categories of Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (Steve Schirripa) and Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series (David Chase, Diane Frolov, Andrew Schneider, and Matthew Weiner); however, it was not nominated. In 2008, Tim Van Patten was nominated for the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing – Drama Series, but lost out to Mad Men's Alan Taylor, also a director for The Sopranos, who happened to win the Emmy Award for directing "Kennedy and Heidi" at the 59th Primetime Emmy Awards.
- "Kaisha" ends with a Christmas Eve dinner at the Soprano residence, making the date December 24, 2006. In "Soprano Home Movies", they celebrate Tony's 47th birthday. In "Another Toothpick", Tony's birth date is given as August 24, 1960. This means approximately eight months elapsed between the episodes.
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