It takes a lot to get me out of the house to see a movie. The last movie I saw was “The Wrecking Crew” three years ago with my wife. Now that she is gone, it is even tougher to even think of going to the movies by myself, or with others. I am not the most social dude in the world nor enjoy being in crowds. If Misty were alive, I would surely have dragged her, albeit kicking and screaming to this, with the promise of buying her a nice lunch afterwards. When I first read that they were going to make a movie starring John Cusack as Brian, I told Misty and she rolled her eyes and said, ”Great, I’m sure you’ll drag me to that!” So it takes a mighty, mighty big event to get me out of the house and “Love and Mercy” was it.
“In five years no one will remember you or The Beach Boys!” “I’m a genius, you’re a genius, we’re all geniuses Brian!” No, Murry Wilson, your words should never have been spoken. No one will ever forget The Beach Boys or Brian Wilson and we are not all geniuses. Yes, Brian Wilson is a musical genius. If you don’t think so, then what were you doing at 23 years of age? Did you write a pop masterpiece, a symphony to God, that all modern music is compared to? Did you make the greatest band in recorded music, The Beatles, jealous? Did you already have several gold records and million selling albums under your belt? I didn’t think so…
This is a very emotional movie and I don’t see how Brian got through watching this movie. It is far better than I thought it was going to be. I was thinking it was going to be a lame style fake-bearded made for TV style movie that Hollywood has graced us with previously. Bill Pohlad and all of the actors totally hit this one out of the park. It was a great idea to have two different actors portraying Wilson. It was also very strange and cool to see my pal Vince Meghrouni as one of the wind players in the Pet Sounds scene. Academy Awards consideration to all the main actors, especially Paul Giamatti (as Dr. Landy), who I now totally hate! There are many key scenes in this movie. One of the toughest scenes to watch is when Murry informs Brian that he sold the rights to The Beach Boys songs…out of love. The humiliation was just heartbreaking.
Most of you reading this know the history of Brian Wilson so I will not get into this but it is pretty cool to get visuals of how the Pet Sounds sessions developed and the interplay between the band, especially the hated Mike Love, and Brian and the hangers on. I would have dug a bit more Van Dyke Parks involvement, of course. Another touching scene is a broken Brian just curled up and an emotional wreck saying, “I just want to go home.” That really hit me hard, man. I can truly relate to the emotions of just wanting to get out of a situation that life throws you in and wanting to be somewhere that was comforting in the past. The melding scene of the child Brian, the Smile era Brian and the 80’s burned out Brian, is also touching and gut wrenching. But “Love and Mercy” is also a love story. I met Melinda Wilson once and got to speak briefly with her and she is a very kind woman. I have nothing but praise for her. She is a major part of his life and story and it is nice to see a positive influence triumph over bad will.
I recommend this movie to all fans of music even if you don’t know about Brian Wilson, this is a perfect introduction to his genius. Parents should see this and learn that creativity is something special in all of us and unfortunately not all people are creatively gifted equally or artistically but try to find what a child excels in and do NOT stifle or try to mold them into something that you want them to be. I truly believe Brian was/is guided by a muse/spirit/God whatever you want to call it. Brian was used as an instrument and he brought us some angelic and otherworldly songs and sounds that maybe can be heard in a place much like heaven. He worked on a much, much higher plane than all of those people around him. They couldn’t relate to that. They wanted Brian at their level when instead they should have been celebrating the genius that is truly Brian Wilson.
And just try holding back the tears when you see the real Brian Wilson singing “Love and Mercy” at the end of this film. Misty would have liked this and she would have made fun of me over lunch for being so emotional. God bless Brian Wilson.