Public Domain

The Beach Boys in 1971, this concert is depicted for a few minutes in the film.

J. L. Ilai, Contributing Writer

A three hour TV-movie about the Beach Boys? How couldn’t it be bad?

This is a very fascinating watch. The movie does a great job of exploring how fame affects the people involved. Some performances are very good and the drama is exceptionally sharp. However, There are plenty of issues. Not all the performances are good for one thing and lots of things don’t get enough focus; notably Carl Wilson, Al Jardine, and Bruce Johnston. These three add so little to the overall plot despite being Beach Boys. It’s mainly about Mike Love, Brian Wilson, Dennis Wilson, and the Wilson brother’s parents. The brother’s mom even says at one point that Carl stays out of trouble. Several scenes feature those characters just sitting in the background. Their lack of relevance really drags the film down. Conversely, the movie starts with a tracking shot of Carl walking into his house, this being from his perspective implies that he’ll be more prominent.

I love that this movie took the risk and had the guts to be slow, it totally pays off. A faster, shorter movie probably would sell better, but it wouldn’t give anything time to impact or sink in. There’s so much happening that’s important to the plot and characters that it would be a shame to lose much of it.

The last bit of the film suggests that things are moving towards greener pastures, but then we see “Where are they now”, something common in biopics that explains what happened to the people after the end of the movie. It was an interesting way of looking into how prominent or important they thought the band members are. As an example, it’s said that Bruce Johnston simply remains part of the band. So is the movie saying he hasn’t done anything else of note? On the other hand, the movie lists multiple things about Brian’s life and career.

This movie would likely be improved by being even longer. Focus on all the band members and go further into their lives. Give us more.

EPILOGUEThis will be my last review as my days of being a senior are numbered. I would like all my readers to know that I hope you’ve enjoyed these reviews as I’ve loved every second of providing them to you. I appreciate your tolerance for my novel-length discussions that I’ve been producing. It only seems fitting to end on a short one. My first review here was about the Beach Boys, so why not my last? I wish you all a happy summer. Look forward to the beginning of next year, where a new reviewer will take my place.

Love and Sincerely,

J. L. Ilai