Sunday, January 03, 2016

Xmastime Movie Review

As someone who has spent hundreds of ours listening to Pet Sounds and read several books on both the album and Brian Wilson, there really wasn't a lot in Love & Mercy I didn't already know. But the movie is a great primer for newcomers, mostly because of great performances by Paul Dano, John Cusack and Paul Giamtti (who should be the creepy agent in every movie that requires a creepy agent of some sort.) Dano in particular is most effective, partly because he looks so much like Wilson and while he's been a scene-stealer for about a decade now, he's not as jarring as "oh look, it's John Cusack." Dano also benefits from the look the film has when recreating the 60s. Elizabeth Banks is  good in that you really believe she genuinely cares about Wilson and isn't just some fan gold-digger.

The studio scenes are great as well, with proper respect given to the Wrecking Crew. Also kudos for not going overboard in retelling what a monster Wilson's father was to him.

Another thing the flick reminds you of is how young everybody was back then. After spending months bringing the sounds from his head to life by commandeering the greatest studio professionals in the world ("I play the studio as an instrument") Brian Wilson was 23 when Pet Sounds came out. Paul McCartney, born 2 days earlier than Wilson, was about to put out Revolver. Phil Spector, Wilson's muse/mentor, was 26 when Pet Sounds came out and had already done 95% of all the world-changing music he'd do in his career. I mean, wtf?

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