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Beautiful Dreamer: Brian Wilson and the Story of 'Smile' (2004)

Interviews with Beach Boy Brian Wilson and his contemporaries outline the history of Wilson's album "Smile," a project some 37 years in the making.


David Leaf
1 nomination. See more awards »




Credited cast:
David Anderle David Anderle
Hal Blaine ... Himself
Jeff Bridges ... Himself
Elvis Costello ... Himself
Roger Daltrey ... Himself
Natalie Imbruglia ... Herself
Carol Kaye Carol Kaye ... Herself
George Martin ... Himself
Paul McCartney ... Himself
Van Dyke Parks ... Himself
Sylvie Simmons Sylvie Simmons ... Herself
Michael Vosse Michael Vosse
Brian Wilson ... Himself


This film tells (using modern day interviews and archival footage and sound tapes) the story of how in 1967, while his band The Beach Boys triumphantly toured abroad, Brian Wilson was trying to push the boundaries of conventional pop music with a new follow-up to the Beach Boys' cutting-edge mega-hit, Pet Sounds. The new album was to be called "SMiLE". SMiLE pushed the envelope both musically and lyrically, and was supposed to out-do the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper record. But Brian wasn't able to sell the project to his band-mates when they returned. The project was shelved and Wilson's well-documented decline into depression, drug abuse, recluseness, and obesity had begun. Thirty-odd years later, Wilson announced that in 2004, SMiLE would be performed live in its entirety in London. This film tells the story of a damaged but healing artist bringing his greatest work to light. Written by Martin Lewison <dr@martinlewison.com>

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Release Date:

5 October 2004 (USA) See more »

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Featured in Zomergasten: Episode #18.4 (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

Beach Boys Sound an Acquired Taste
22 October 2004 | by dp-49See all my reviews

The idea that the Beach Boys are "overrated" is subjective. Who is doing the rating and who is doing the reading will make all the difference.

There are personal likes and dislikes that can't be judged or accounted for

completely, even by those who hold them. These basic things strike us in a

certain way, or another.

But practitioners of music, people who work in the industry won't say of the Beach Boys "overrated," for the simple reason that the catalog is so diverse, and some of the stuff is among the most innovative and "significant," to quote

Leonard Bernstein music of its time. Don't Worry Baby, Warmth of the Sun, Pet Sounds and SMiLE, for a few examples. The entire surfing and car group of Top 40 songs too, were unprecedented. To the millions who love any of these

styles, they will always be under-rated, for they have given deep emotional

solace and/or musical challenge.

Composition, arrangement, orchestration, performance and perhaps most of all, recording production boundaries have been pushed aside by Brian and some

of the others, conferring innumerable new artistic and technical satisfactions across the entire popular (and even jazz and classical) business landscapes.

So "overrated?" Not in the impartial musical sense. Only the personal.

Beautiful Dreamer is a wonderful documentary about this phenomenon.

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