Monday, July 09, 2007

It's the End of The Sopranos As We Know It

"Oh the movie never ends, it goes on and on and on"
- Journey, "Don't Stop Believin'"

Last week I watched the entire final season of
The Sopranos. Overall, I thought it was a great ending to the series - lots of new complications, lots of whacking, a bit of closure. Like many, I nearly lost my patience with last season's "If Tony could see his navel, he'd be navel-gazing" hospital episodes. I was glad to see a lot of action in this season.

The drunken brawl between Tony and Bobby started things with a bang this season. Tony offing Christophuh after their car accident was brilliant and terrifying. I had nearly been able to overlook my long-term (twisted) crush on Tony to admit he deserved to die for that act, when he surprised me with his tender rescue of AJ after AJ's pathetic suicide attempt. The break-up of Dr. Melfi and Tony was good, although I was hoping they'd finally hook up. Bobby gets whacked at the toy train store. Silvio gets shot and ends up in a coma. Things were looking dire for our gangster heroes until some advice from a friend with the feds led to locating Phil Leotardo. I can't think of a whacking I enjoyed watching more, as Phil gets shot exiting his SUV. His wife flies out of the car to his side without bothering to put it in park, and the car, with their twin grandbabies in the backseat, begins to roll and rolls right over the fallen Phil's head. The sound effects and reaction shots of the witnesses were so money.

So, I was feeling really jazzed about the way the season and even the final episode were going until we got to that diner. Tony arrives first and plays "Don't Stop Believin'" on the jukebox. This made me happy - ya gotta love Journey. Carmela arrives, then AJ. Onion rings are ordered. Various ominous figures are shown lurking: a guy in a fishing hat in a booth, a guy in a Members Only jacket who looks shifty as he walks to the bathroom (conjuring up The Godfather), two hip hop guys at the jukebox. Meadow has a lot of difficulty parallel parking. Just as she enters the diner, Tony looks up, startled. Fade to black. That's it? That's it?? You fuckin' kiddin' me?

Did Tony get whacked? We'll never know. It would seem weird that they'd do it in front of his whole family, but not that weird. With Phil gone, would the rival family even care enough to whack Tony? It was Phil that started this bloody skirmish.

I'm not sure how the show should have ended, but I know that ending didn't do it for me. It was like a cheap Friday the 13th sequel ending, where it just leaves things open for another sequel. But if there is a movie version or some sort of follow-up, maybe that'll be a good thing, because I already miss these characters.

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Monday, July 02, 2007

A Trip to Kwik E Mart

As I drove back from seeing Sicko tonight, I noticed searchlights. Hmm, these seem to be near my house, I thought, as I drove closer. Suddenly, I saw the source - my 7-11 had been transformed into a Kwik-E-Mart!

There was a line to get in and I had to search a while to find street parking. They had painted the building and changed the signage. The windows displayed ads for Krusty-Os and Buzz Cola. It was quite a scene, with tons of folks cruising by to gawk.

It took about 10 minutes to get inside, and once inside I checked out the merchandise and amusing signage. The slurpee machine now sold squishees in flavors such as Bubble Yum (I refrained). I picked up some Krusty-Os and Buzz Cola. They were also selling ice chests, t-shirts, toys, etc. No Duff beer, but, hey, you can't have everything.

The usually beleaguered Indian 7-11 proprietors had new uniforms and didn't seem to mind being addressed as Apu. Why should they? They were raking in the bucks!

If you're in LA, go check it out at the corner of Venice and Sepulveda. There are 12 stores throughout the US and Canada that have been transformed.

Read more about it in
Business Week.

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