HORACE AND PETE – REVIEW – Louis C.K. writes and directs and stars in a brilliant dark drama set in a run down Brooklyn pub.

Louis C.K.’s new webseries Horace and Pete dropped taking everyone by complete surprise. The second surprise was the tone which was much dark and more dramatic than anything we’d seen so far, though some episodes of Louis had already hinted at depths of brilliant drama. Set in a dingy Brooklyn pub, Horace (Louis C.K.) and Pete (Steve Buscemi) are the two owners who have followed a century old tradition of taking control of the pub which has always been run by a Horace and a Pete. Uncle Pete (Alan Alda) is the prior owner who now tends bar and who ran it with the previous Horace, Horace’s father. An assortment of customers hang out like an ensemble from an episode of Cheers written by Samuel Beckett and include Jessica Lang as Horace senior’s former lover and Stephen Wright as a mumbling drunk jotting things in a little notebook. Uncle Pete is the foul mouthed, politically incorrect id of the bar and the repository of the dark history. Edie Falco is the sister who feels that they should sell the pub and get on with their lives, to escape its toxic effects.

I’ve got to episode four and find this to be some of the best stuff that Louis C.K. has ever done. And I say that as a huge fan of his stand up and his series. Having carved out a niche of his own creative freedom, he is here using it to do something that feels wholly new and totally ambitious. There are moments of wry comedy and dark almost terrifying honesty. Some of the episodes are long with an intermission, reinforcing the impression that this is primarily a theatrical work. The last one is a mere thirty minutes.

As James Stewart said in Harvey, ‘No one brings anything small into a bar’. And here everyone has demons and problems. Pete has seriously mental problems, has been hospitalized and must take his meds. Horace has one broken marriage and a faltering relationship with his overweight daughter. His son hasn’t spoken to him for years. He is a good listener, but incapable of fully expressing himself. Louis C.K. the director lets his amazing cast do their work. In one episode Laurie Metcalf, playing Horace’s ex-wife, tells a long story and it must be a good ten to fifteen minutes before the camera even reveals who she is talking to. Her performance steps right up to the challenge. Of course this could be seen as indulgent and it won’t be for everyone, but  for me Horace and Pete reveals Louis C.K. to be a truly great dramatic writer while never losing sight of the dark comedy of failure.

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HOLLYWOOD – When we watched the cut to black on the final episode of the final season of The Sopranos, there were more than a few critics among us scratching our heads, but David Chase has EXCLUSIVELY revealed the story behind that famous and much discussed final scene.

It’s hard to believe that the HBO prodigy that brought us one of the most successful television dramas in history David Chase is only thirty three years old. His youthful verve and energy makes him seem like a kid half the age. He bounds into The Studio Exec offices and claps his hands.

So what do you want to know? Oh, the final scene of The Sopranos? Well, sure. Why not? So we got Tony and Carmela and little A.J. sitting in the restaurant and they’re waiting for Meadow and there are all these other people around who might be hit men, FBI, or just diners and we’re tense we know something is going on. And the song that is playing is the Don’t Stop Believing by Journey. As the family gather they chit chat, but Meadow has yet to arrive. We see her having difficulty parking and the tension builds, because we know this is nearing the end of the last episode so something must happen right. So when she comes in Tony looks up and the music is cued perfectly and they both sing the chorus of Don’t Stop Believing. Then Carmela joins in and A.J. too. Then – and this was brilliant – the guy in the grey jacket who goes into the bathroom, he suddenly bursts out of the bathroom and you think ‘oh my God this is the hit, this is it; it’s going down’, but no. Actually he’s holding a saxophone and he blows the sweetest kick ass sax solo you ever heard. So we filmed it, cut it and we were ready to screen it and then word came down from on high that HBO were unhappy. Tonally inconsistent, they said. It was too late to change anything, or film an alternative ending and so we just cut it before Meadow came in singing.

The Sopranos spin off Meadow and A.J.’s Rockabilly Sixties Tribute Band will be broadcast next Monday on HBO.   



NEW YORK – Just when we thought we were out, they pull us back in: David Chase has finally confirmed that The Sopranos movie is a go, and James Gandolfini and Edie Falco, Michael Imperioli and Steven Van Zandt are all aboard. Details are scarce at this point but in an interview with leading French cultural magazine Chapeau, Chase intimated that the film will not be a prequel. Read his comments after the jump: