Director: Michael Switzer
Writer: Charles Rosin, based on the book Heroes and Villains by Steven Gaines
Music: Jay Levy
Stars: Bruce Greenwood, Greg Kean and Arlen Dean Snyder
Dramatization looks at the tumultuous relationship that existed between rock group The Beach Boy’s Brian and Dennis Wilson and their father, Murry. It also examines their struggles with drugs and alcohol.
Sample IMDB review:
Really worth a watch, 15 August 2003
As an avid film buff – I’ve got to say that despite “Summer Dreams” being a tv movie, it is of excellent quality. The acting, in particular Bruce Greenwood in the role of the late Dennis Wilson, is superb and the way in which the story is told is intriguing, touching and real without being over hollywood-ized. Summer Dreams is perhaps the best tv movie I have ever seen. As matter of fact I have had it on video since it first aired. in 1990…quite a long time. If you ever catch it in the tv listings, give it a shot — it is well worth watching.
A caution :
00:49 to 00:55 (of 01:30)
Shot of a plane landing, indicating that The Beach Boys have returned from touring.
Dissolves to a Happening Scene outside someone’s pad. Hangers-on exchange greetings.
Guy Hanger-On to Chick Hanger-On : Hey what’s happenin’?
Dogs are heard barking in the background.
CUT TO INSIDE OF HOUSE
The barking dogs are revealed to be a (non-musical and utterly artless) tape collage playing on a reel-to-reel.
The playback is stopped; groovy ‘freakout’ guitar is then heard on the background stereo.
Brian Wilson : So?
Mike Love : So it sounds like a pack of barking dogs.
Brian : Haaaaahurrrr…right on!
Mike : You’re not really gonna put those mutts on the album?
Brian : You know, all I ever get from you guys is negative vibes…
Mike : ‘Negative vibes’…ain’t that trippy Brian…
Brian : Man, you can put me down all you want, but I just can’t write about Little Miss Cheerleader on the beach any more – I have gotta move on.
Mike : All right – fine – times are changin’, we’ll change with ’em – but that doesn’t give you the right to freeze us out!
Brian : Yeah? Well I’m trying to make the greatest rock and roll album ever made…
Mike : With barking dogs and…pounding spoons and…(exasperated) love songs to God?!?
Brian : Whatever…hey, why don’t you go and collaborate with Pop on The Many Moods of Murry Wilson?
Brian rejoins the Happening Scene.
Mike to Carl Wilson (left): He sucks on that damned pipe all day doesn’t he?
Carl : Phil Spector says what he’s laying down is pure genius…
Mike : Is that why your brother turned his living room into a giant sandbox?!? I say this is OUR band!
Dennis Wilson (centre): Well I say we let Brian try and FINISH the greatest album ever made.
Terse looks are exchanged.
Dennis goes outside and sees Some Guy.
Some Guy: Hey! Denny! Wanna toke?
Dennis : Nah, I’m a vodka-and-lime guy from kinda way back
Dennis smokes a cigarette. That Guy shrugs, and returns to his reefer.
Some boring stuff about Dennis being unfaithful to his wife.
God Only Knows recording session. Group members plus musicians are shown in the studio together.
Dennis is behind the studio console – as is That Guy, who is toking again.
Studio Engineer: I don’t know about this song…
Dennis : I do, it’s the most beautiful song I’ve ever heard.
Dennis to That Guy : Gimme a hit of that…
That Guy : You all right man?
Dennis : Yeah, everything’s groovy, just pass it here.
A television shows Hendrix, but the soundtrack is generic ‘Hendrix-a-like’ soloing.
Bruce Johnston (left): This was taken at the Monterey Pop Festival?
Mike Love : The Sunday night we were supposed to headline…
Jimi Hendrix (from TV, while setting fire to his guitar) : SURF MUSIC IS DEAD!
Carl : We shouldn’t have backed out of Monterey…
Dennis : What are you gonna do man, he freaked. He didn’t want to do the oldies, hippies from the Bay Area would have hated our new stuff…
Al Jardine (not pictured) : What ‘new stuff’?
Carl : Marilyn says all he does is sit in the corner and listen to Sgt Pepper on the headphones…
Dennis : Maybe Pop was right, maybe we were just a flash in the pan…
Mike looks over at a twitching Brian Wilson lying down in the background, listening to Sgt Pepper on the headphones.
Charles Manson appears.
For an alternate perspective, why not try The Beach Boys – An American Family?