River Road Entertainment, Battle Mountain Films,

Bill Camp, Jake Abel, Paul Dano, Elizabeth Banks, John Cusack, Paul Giamatti

This is what they are calling a biopic. It feels like a documentary, and is based of real Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys and the terrific talent he showed and the horrible price it cost. Brian Wilson, the young startup singing sensation is played by Paul Dano. The foundation and extreme popularity of the California surfing scene resonated with America and the world and they were very popular. But as time passed and the pressures grew, Brian was faced with continuing the success of the group who depended on him, but fighting his inner demons, like drug addiction and voices in his head. He had music that he wanted to get out, but the other members of the group were not so interested in Brian’s new sounds, and he was meticulous in getting everything perfect. What resulted was the Pet Sounds album which soared the Beach Boys back to the top and became legend in itself. Brian’s problems come from a number of things, not the least of which was an abusive, never satisfied father who criticized every thing he did. The “future” Brian Wilson is played by John Cuasak, who meets Melinda Ledbetter (Elizabeth Banks) who falls in love with Brian and is willing to stand up against Dr. Eugene Landy (Paul Giamatti) who is on one hand Brian’s enabler, but at the same time insists on complete control over his every action. This is the story of one of the worlds greatest singer songwriters and the life he was forced to live by his extreme talent.

This is a great follow up to The Wrecking Crew [Click Here for Ed’s Review] which is a true documentary of the many musicians in the L.A. area who performed the studio recordings of many great groups including The Beach Boys. But this focuses on Brian Wilson himself, and I found the two different actors playing the same role to be a bit off putting. I am not sure why they needed to do that as there is not that many years difference in the character, but it was an interesting gimmick to throw in to instantly let us know what is early Beach Boys days and what is happening in the later years. It might be hard to cut the film into so any flashbacks without a trigger to let you now you’re time warping again. Still, both Brian Wilsons do a pretty good job and it is an entertaining film. I grew up in the East, and the California sound, though onmipresent, didn’t quite grab us back there. We were more interested in the Philly, Detroit, and East Coast soul groups that really spoke to us. But the first time I heard Good Vibrations, I became a Beach Boys fan, and through my connection to what Brian was saying in these songs, I learned to be a fan of their early stuff as well. All in all, this is a good moviefied version of a documentary of the trials and tribulations of a great musician and I really did enjoy it enough to say, watch it if you can. It’s a good one.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog



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