This movie re-creates the life stories of the members of the rock group "The Beach Boys". The film focuses primarily on the Wilson brothers and their parents, but also includes stories ...
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Dramatization looks at the tumultuous relationship that existed between rock group The Beach Boy's Brian and Dennis Wilson and their father, Murry. It also examines their struggles with drugs and alcohol.
Arlen Dean Snyder
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James 'Hutch' Hutchinson,
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This movie re-creates the life stories of the members of the rock group "The Beach Boys". The film focuses primarily on the Wilson brothers and their parents, but also includes stories about the rest of members of the band. A two-part television movie special.Written by
California in the sixties and the Beach Boys are inseparable; as someone says in the course of this film, originally made as a miniseries, the Beach Boys are an expression of California culture. Yet only one of them, Dennis Wilson, was really a denizen of the beach (and not a serious musician), and the musical genius behind the Beach Boy's distinctive, haunting sound, his older brother Brian, had enough emotional problems to fill an analyst's notebook.
This 4 hour film, the latest of several attempts to put the Beach Boys story down on film, is an easy to watch, straightforward account of their `progress' from suburban garage jam sessions to pop stardom in the mid sixties, to decline in the late sixties and revival in the mid seventies. The later history of the group is not covered.
Three things stand out. The first is the fragile talent of Brian, who, timid and half deaf though he was, managed to inspire and lead the group during its early years both on and off the stage, and who, with Mike Love doing the lyrics, contributed some imperishable songs to the pop lexicon. The second is the father from Hell, Murry Wilson, a frustrated pop musician and control freak, who tried to dominate and exploit the boys and nearly destroyed them. The third is the price of fame. Brian, who had real talent, was exploited by others and nearly went under to drugs. Poor Dennis whose only real facility was seducing women got completely bamboozled and at one stage was dragged into Charles Manson's toxic circle. Carl Wilson was a more level-headed sort and hence his story is less dramatic, while Mike Love, the lead vocalist (a cousin) is portrayed as your usual vain, not over-bright popster who doesn't handle success very well either. As for the women in their lives, being married to a beach boy was almost as bad as being one.
This is a workmanlike account of the story and no better than it ought to be, but there must be a special mention of Kevin Dunne as the manic Murry, all enthusiasm and tunnel vision, a man totally incapable of listening to those he loved or understanding their feelings. It is a tribute to Dunn's acting that we wind up understanding the man rather than hating him. Fred Weller does a good job with Brian, and Nick Stabile is well cast as Dennis, the male bimbo with attitude. The best part about the film (and there aren't enough of them) is the songs. In the end they are what mattered, and many Beach Boys songs will linger on in the minds of those who heard them as teenagers for as long as they live Good, Good, Good Vibrations!
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