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PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 11:15 am 
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IMDB

Trailer

Has anyone seen this? I hear that it is a really fresh take on the biopic using dual narratives. Dano is supposed to be fantastic while Cusack seems to be an odd choice for 1980s-Brian Wilson.


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 Post subject: Re: The Films of 2015
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 12:02 pm 
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I saw it at SXSW & really liked it.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 12:40 pm 
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aox wrote:
IMDB

Trailer

Has anyone seen this? I hear that it is a really fresh take on the biopic using dual narratives. Dano is supposed to be fantastic while Cusack seems to be an odd choice for 1980s-Brian Wilson.

Yes, it's superb. The film successfully jettisons the creaky music biopic "rise-to-fame against the odds" / "a great fall due to ego or drugs" / "redemption" structure and both Dano and Cusack channel Wilson expertly, enough to convince the viewer they are, indeed, watching the same person at different points in his life. Apart from a few understandable time compressions (one which is a little illogical), LOVE & MERCY feels remarkably authentic with the 60s studio scenes lovingly recreated. Atticus Ross' soundscapes that put the viewer inside of the head of Wilson with snippets of harmonies and melody fragments swirling around the theater are the best use of surround-sound I've heard in years.


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 Post subject: Re: The Films of 2015
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 4:44 pm 
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I've had the Pet Sounds Sessions box set for years, and when I first heard it, I thought "THIS is what I really want to see in a Beach Boys movie, this notoriously fragile and unstable mind in supreme, confident control as we get to see how he put this masterpiece together piece by piece, mirroring the wonderful arrangements he incredibly already had in his head." Question was, would anyone else want to see it? So I was pleasantly surprised to read that the director was inspired by the same box set for the very same reasons. Of course that's only a third of the film at best, but it's the best part.


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 Post subject: Re: The Films of 2015
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 10:17 am 
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hearthesilence wrote:
I've had the Pet Sounds Sessions box set for years, and when I first heard it, I thought "THIS is what I really want to see in a Beach Boys movie, this notoriously fragile and unstable mind in supreme, confident control as we get to see how he put this masterpiece together piece by piece, mirroring the wonderful arrangements he incredibly already had in his head." Question was, would anyone else want to see it? So I was pleasantly surprised to read that the director was inspired by the same box set for the very same reasons. Of course that's only a third of the film at best, but it's the best part.


I'd add SMiLE as well when it all fell apart (so happy this film is covering that). Now that it was finally (in the fragmented incomplete version of what was leftover from the tapes) released 40 years later (not the rerecorded Wilson version), I have completely fallen in love with it.

For whatever reason, I had no idea this film was being made, so it was a huge surprise when I saw the trailer the other night when I went to see the new Baumbach film.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 4:03 pm 
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I was skeptic of SMiLE, but hearing the pieces arranged and condensed/focused into an actual album (or close to one) has made me a convert though I still think it's Sgt. Pepper to Pet Sounds' Revolver - the later album may be more ambitious and in many ways a progression from the earlier one, but the earlier album is still a stronger, more consistent and more focused work that broke a lot more new ground compared to its predecessor(s). Still love 'em all, great music in general.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 7:30 pm 
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FWIW, Brian and Melinda Wilson have endorsed the film (which is no surprise since they've been apparently consulted from the very start), but apparently Van Dyke Parks and bassist Carol Kaye are not fans. Mike Love says he has yet to see it but adds that watching Brian Wilson psychologically fall apart isn't his idea of a good time.

I should say that this film should never be considered a comprehensive story - it's really focused on a few elements, and it's possible that didn't appeal to certain individuals close to Brian Wilson or the Beach Boys in general.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2015 9:50 am 
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Carol Kaye is somewhat notorious for unnecessarily inflating her own reputation (laying claim to playing bass on songs that were almost certainly James Jamerson's work) so I wouldn't necessarily accept her take as a neutral judgment. As for Love, I'm surprised he hasn't learned by now that it's really best for him to stay out of things like this; he never comes out looking good.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2015 12:54 pm 
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Saw this last night. Stunning. Everything from the acting of the principles, the sound design, the juxtaposition of the two storylines and how they feed each other up until the beautiful conclusion, and the use of the original music without seeming gratuitous, was perfect. Such a refreshing biopic that rejects typical formulaic conceits.

It was so nice to see Brian Wilson's side of the story after decades of the tabloid media's narrative. This is such a win for him and I am glad he has come out ahead before it was too late.

Go see this.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2015 2:01 pm 
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I would not expect Mike Love to have a favorable reaction to the film, as he doesn't come off well within it.

The young Wilson/Pet Sounds/Smile stuff was great, but I also found the Eugene Landy stuff fascinating, being intrigued by the story since first reading about it after hearing "Smart Girls" several years back. I was a bit disappointed the film didn't go into more detail about the music Wilson made with Landy.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2015 2:07 pm 
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I harbor secret hopes that there are excruciatingly detailed deleted scenes showing Mike laying down a vocal for "Hey, Little Tomboy."


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2015 2:17 pm 
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Grain of salt, but IMDB states that there are twenty minutes of deleted scenes excised from the final cut. And yeah, Mike Love comes off terrible in the film, but I really don't see it as any different from any interviews I have seen with him.

And of course, I can't get the verse from the Belle & Sebastian song ("I Love my Car") out of my head:

I love my Carl,
I love my Brian, my Dennis, and my Al,
I could even find it in my heart to love Mike Love


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2015 8:40 am 
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For those who remember the horrible Beach Boys TV bio-drama AN AMERICAN FAMILY that Mike Love was an adviser on (after the first airing Van Dyke Parks threatened legal action if they didn't change his character's name to a fictitious one), you may recall the scene where Love saves the day by "salvaging" the song "Good Vibrations" with his new lyrics and hook. There is a similar scene in LOVE & MERCY, but it's handled with subtlety by suggesting that Love's frustration stems from his sense that he has been passed over as a collaborator. It's a respectful moment for Love's character and a credit to the film for not painting him as a complete villain (despite the fact that the real Love has always provided more than enough rope to hang himself).


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2015 9:05 am 
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Is that the one John Stamos produced? I know there's at least one other awful TV production that was made much earlier - caught a re-broadcast of it on late night television and couldn't stand it after two minutes.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2015 12:40 pm 
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hearthesilence wrote:
Is that the one John Stamos produced? I know there's at least one other awful TV production that was made much earlier - caught a re-broadcast of it on late night television and couldn't stand it after two minutes.

Yes, this is the one I was referring to. The earlier TV movie was SUMMER DREAMS which, at least, presented a "Brian Wilson" that seemed to be tangentially-related to the real life personage (even if the film itself was as lousy as the fake beards). The Stamos-produced one trivialized Wilson's talents and made him look like a dull-witted shut-in who just went along for the ride with the rest of the band.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2015 2:14 pm 
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The Stamos one was ridiculous. From what I can remember, it felt like every 20 minutes or so, the movie would stop and allow the character of Mike Love to step in and instruct Brian Wilson - "this is what we need to do with this song [recites lyric]" You can feel the collective mass of Beach Boy fans rolling their eyes at Love's blatant meddling in the script.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2015 2:15 pm 
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Are any of the films being discussed the made-for-TV ABC movie that aired in the early 2000s? The one that ends with Brian Wilson saying "This is for my brother, Dennis."


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2015 4:37 pm 
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Drucker wrote:
Are any of the films being discussed the made-for-TV ABC movie that aired in the early 2000s? The one that ends with Brian Wilson saying "This is for my brother, Dennis."

There are only three dramatic films about the Beach Boys: 1990's SUMMER DREAMS, the 2000 ABC-TV two-night mini-series AN AMERICAN FAMILY...and the good one - LOVE & MERCY!


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2015 1:01 am 
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Roger Ryan wrote:
Yes, it's superb. The film successfully jettisons the creaky music biopic "rise-to-fame against the odds" / "a great fall due to ego or drugs" / "redemption" structure and both Dano and Cusack channel Wilson expertly, enough to convince the viewer they are, indeed, watching the same person at different points in his life. Apart from a few understandable time compressions (one which is a little illogical), LOVE & MERCY feels remarkably authentic with the 60s studio scenes lovingly recreated. Atticus Ross' soundscapes that put the viewer inside of the head of Wilson with snippets of harmonies and melody fragments swirling around the theater are the best use of surround-sound I've heard in years.

Hear, hear. I saw this after Jurassic World in an attempt to re-acquaint myself with my own humanity (and with competent cinema) and I had a fantastic time with it. The structure of the narrative really went a long way in making it compulsively watchable and often very wrenching. Dano plays Wilson with a china doll fragility that is occasionally painful to make eye contact with (I mean this in the most complimentary way), while Cusack really captures his distance from having any ability to realistically help himself or find a way back into his own head. Elizabeth Banks is really great here too, she's so incredible at playing open, warm, empathetic [and often, like here, very sultry] characters and framing Wilson's later years with Landy through her eyes was a stroke of screenwriting genius that elevated this beyond what it would've been in less capable hands. And you're 100% right about the sound - just incredible to hear the theater go from crisp iconic music to crawling with the voices in Wilson's head from one moment to the next.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 2:54 am 
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hearthesilence wrote:
I was skeptic of SMiLE, but hearing the pieces arranged and condensed/focused into an actual album (or close to one) has made me a convert though I still think it's Sgt. Pepper to Pet Sounds' Revolver - the later album may be more ambitious and in many ways a progression from the earlier one, but the earlier album is still a stronger, more consistent and more focused work that broke a lot more new ground compared to its predecessor(s). Still love 'em all, great music in general.

I personally think Smile would've blown Sgt. Pepper (which I don't think is THAT great an album in the first place -- mostly due to Paul's unremarkable songs; Rubber Soul, Revolver, the White album, and Abbey Road are all superior to it, IMO, as well as Magical Mystery Tour, if we're also counting that as a full album) out of the water had it been completed and released back in '67. Listening to Wilson's completed version (and the subsequent group box set documenting the sessions), it still totally surpassed expectations 40 years later. Fuck Mike Love for being so overly critical of the entire project (though he's done a lot of backpedalling in recent years to cover this up :roll: ) that it was one of the main factors why the album was ultimately shelved. :x

Hopefully this film will finally do Smile, which was mostly glossed over in previous TV movies about the band.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 8:28 am 
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There's not a ton of it, no.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 11:09 am 
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I think Sgt. Pepper has gone from overrated to underrated now. It was definitely a major, important event, which understandably inflated its reputation. Not their best album or the best album of 1967, but still a great album. It definitely hurt that the two best tracks from those sessions were removed under pressure to release a record (a double A-side single) after a long period of silence, and even George Martin concedes that was a mistake. But even if the songs on the album aren't consistent, the production certainly is, and honestly, a surprising number of great albums from the '60s have a handful of so-so tracks. They don't sink their respective albums because it's how they work together that's important, not how the individual pieces work on their own. This is certainly true of SMiLE and even Pet Sounds as I've seen some people criticize the presence of instrumentals as being a flaw.

And the original double EP that was MMT is the worst thing they ever put out. Same with the film. Abysmal almost from start-to-finish, they never should've bothered, it was completely disposable since the one good track "I Am the Walrus" was also issued as a B-side.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 11:29 am 
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Now I'm curious as to where SMiLE would stand among the best albums of 1967. Did a cursory search, and here's where I would peg it in terms of personal preference:

1. The Velvet Underground and Nico
2. The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Are You Experienced?
3. Aretha Franklin: I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You
4. Bob Dylan & the Band: "The Basement Tapes" (had these been issued)
5. The Beach Boys: "SMiLE" (had this been released and resembled the 2011 reissue)
6. The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
7. Buffalo Springfield Again
8. Pink Floyd: The Piper at the Gates of Dawn
9. Miles Davis: Miles Smiles
10. The Kinks: Something Else By The Kinks
11. Love: Forever Changes
12. Bob Dylan: John Wesley Harding
13. The Who Sell Out (I actually prefer the expanded 1995 reissue that's a better, fuller realization of the concept)
14. Moby Grape
15. Jefferson Airplane: Surrealistic Pillow

Honorable mention goes to the Miles Davis Quintet's live shows - check out The Bootleg Series Vol. 1 - Live in Europe: 1967, had one of those concerts been issued in 1967 as a live album, it would've been a contender for best of the year. Those live performances were better than anything they did on their formidable records, and hold up as some of the greatest jazz ever made, not to mention the most influential. The line-up is certainly the best Miles ever had: Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter and Tony Williams, all playing at their peak, all massively influential figures on their respective instruments, and except for Miles all very young and at the beginning of their careers, which makes the music all the more remarkable.

Come to think of it, 1967 was such a remarkable year, one shouldn't single any album out. The Basement Tapes, SMiLE, Aretha, Hendrix, the VU, Miles…comparing their respective works would be like comparing sacred texts of different religions.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 11:39 am 
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Now we're off-topic but I'll chime in. I think Pepper is perfect, and remains my favorite Beatles record. One of the hardest things I've had to come to terms with as a music-loving adult is to realize that, no, not all Beatles songs and albums are perfect and gold (as opposed to how my boomer father raised me). That said, I think the oddities ("Benefit of Mr. Kite", "When I'm 64") work surprisingly well on the record considering it's diversity, and yes, consistent production. There are of course, on the flip side, some of their best songs ever, and some truly under-appreciated classics, like "Fixing a Hole" and "Godo Morning, Good Morning" (some of Harrison's best, most ferocious guitar on the latter). Same with White Album for that matter: the weirdo songs just seem to fit in better for me, and don't drag the album down.

Hearthesilence, the double-EP: does that mean "Fool on The Hill" and "Blue Jay Way" are songs you don't like?


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 11:42 am 
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Heartthesilence: you're missing The Who Sell Out which would make my top 5 easily. Easter Everywhere by the 13th Floor Elevators another great album.


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