James Gandolfini breathed life into one of the most charming psychopaths in the history of stories. Like really breathed. Gandolfini’s nostrils expressed more than many actors’ entire bodies.
My favorite Gandolfini performance is Tony’s Vegas Peyote Epiphany from “Kennedy And Heidi.” I love how we see a giddy side of Tony we’ve never quite seen before, and while it can be very funny– like the confident way he says the roulette wheel’s “the same principle as the solar system”– it’s also severely chilling how he collapses in a giggle fit when he thinks about the “nephew”/ protege he just murdered.
And I eternally dig the way he screams “I GET IT!” into the desert sunrise, so quintessentially trippy. Gandolfini made me believe Tony “got it,” and made me shudder to think of what exactly it was that he “got.”