Director: Jeff Bleckner
Writer: Kirk Ellis
Stars: Kevin Dunn, Jessica Shannon and Frederick Weller
Original Music: Gary Griffin & Clair Marlo
Executive Producer: John Stamos
In 1990, [Stamos] played drums and recorded with The Beach Boys on the title track of the comedy Problem Child. He later appeared singing lead vocals on “Forever” (written by Dennis Wilson) on their 1992 album Summer in Paradise. He can also be seen playing drums on the video for “Kokomo.” He continues to tour with The Beach Boys (usually as a drummer), appearing with them on the March 30, 2010 episode of ABC’s Dancing With The Stars. (wikipedia)
Runtime: 240 min (including commercials)
This movie re-creates the life stories of the members of the rock group “The Beach Boys. The film focuses primarily on the Wilson brothers and their parents, but also includes stories about the rest of members of the band.
Sample IMDB review:
Exceptionally good!!, 28 January 2002
I usually trash TV movies to pieces but I can’t do it to this one! I am not a big Beach Boys fan and you don’t have to be to like this TV movie. Kevin Dunne does such a great job of portraying the Murry Wilson character that by the end of the movie you almost feel sorry for him because he wants so desperately to be loved and respected by his sons, but he just doesn’t get what a jerk he is. Also, unlike most TV movies made today, the facts are presented very accurately. In 1990, there was another TV movie about the Beach Boys called Summer Dreams and it is notable how consistent the two movies parallel each other. Unlike Summer Dreams, which focuses mainly on Dennis Wilson, this movie adds much more detail but ends with the Beach Boys mid-1970s come-back whereas Summer Dreams ends with Dennis Wilson’s death in 1983. This is one TV movie I highly recommend. Great job by all!
The Beach Boys – An American Family : Part Two
Mike Love: well East Coast girls are hip I really dig those styles they wear
Brian Wilson: (on playback) i wish they all could be California girls
Brian (with his wife Marilyn): Look at Mike! He’s paying more attention to that girl than to the playback! Come ON Dennis!
Mike Love: yeah I dig the girls
THE BEACH BOYS RETURN FROM TOURING.
Al Jardine (left): Don’t be surprised if it’s a little weird inside.
Bruce Johnston: What do you mean?
Al: Ah you’ll find out. Let’s wait for Mike – strength in numbers.
It’s a little weird. A pianist plays Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. It unexpectedly transforms into a ragtime version.
Some Guy: (right) I TOLD you he was good!
Brian: He’s GREAT! Where did you learn to play like that?
Pianist: Well, a classical education has its merits…and, like all of us wayward practitioners of song (plays cheesy piano flourish), I HAVE been known to sing for my supper on more than one occasion.
Nik Venet: (of Capitol Records) Wow! Are these people here every day?
Marilyn Wilson: Yeah, I call them The Drainers, they just hang around here, feeding off of Brian.
Nik: We haven’t had any new material in 4 months, so people are getting nervous…
Marilyn: You’ll get your songs Nik, you always do.
Brian: I wanna do an album like this (holding Rubber Soul), where the whole thing is a GAS! All good stuff like a THEME you know? 45 singles, that’s over, this is where it’s AT man!
Nik: Hey Brian! Nobody’s asking you to beat the Beatles!
Pianist: I got occasion to meet some Beatles – the individuals – and I hold nothing against them; they’re handsome
but they’re also transcontinental – and I don’t like that.
Mike: Brian how are ya?
Brian: Hey Al! You’ve met everybody have you? Have you met Van Dyke? This is my cousin Mike Love.
Van Dyke: Down where I come from, we got a sayin’ about cousins: it’s all right to invite one into your home
but don’t marry one.
Mike: So, Brian, you see the show?
Brian: It was…yeah – who was that girl you were dancing with?
Mike: You mean Pamela? Nothing serious.
Mike carries Pamela across the threshold and proceeds to impress her with his huge new house and pool and shit.
Pamela: This must have been EXPENSIVE! You sure know how to treat a girl…
Mike: (seductively) Well, if she’s nice…
Pamela: (responsively) Oh well, I’ve PROVED that haven’t I?
Mike: You smoke?!?
IN THE STUDIO.
Murry Wilson is producing I Live For The Sun by The Sunrays, who sound like a weak Beach Boys.
This’ll show those ungrateful little bastards.
Brian: It’s no big deal – we’re not even doing this kind of thing any more.
OUTSIDE THE STUDIO.
Mike: Brian, you didn’t mean what you said in there? About the music?
Brian: Yeah, I did. I was gonna tell you – your lyrics are cool, Mike, and you come up with some GREAT hooks. But there are some things I wanna say, things I need to work out. Personal stuff.
Mike: Brian! Hey we’ve always been there for each other – right?
Brian: I need some fresh ideas.
Mike: ‘Fresh ideas’? And who’s gonna give ’em to you? That stoned-out fan club of yours?!? I bet they got PLENTY of ideas!
Brian: They’re my friends.
Mike: They’re not your friends, you just think they are – they’re filling your mind full of JUNK! (emotionally) Those songs – the ones that we wrote together – they’re who we are.
Brian: It’s not who I am.
Mike: You know, my old man he thought he had it made, and then one day – gone. Well I’ve worked TOO hard for that to happen!
Mike: (continuing) Have you considered the fact that maybe you NEED me (choked) as much as I need you? Tell you what, do me a favour – get your fresh ideas, and get ’em out of your system – fast!
BACK AT BRIAN’S HOUSE.
Brian repeatedly plays the end Wind Chimes theme. It sounds a bit mad.
Brian: (to a plate of hash brownies) How many of these do I have to eat?
Guy: (holding the plate) Til you hear the muse callin’!
Brian stops playing and starts weirding out.
Brian: It’s not right – I can’t feel the beach (starts laughing)
Nik Venet: He wants WHAT?!?
Brian: (to Marilyn) I wanna write a song on more than one level – like a symphony, with movements. Spector started it, he was the first to use the studio, but I’m goin’ BEYOND him. I wanna do a SPIRITUAL sound! Mom always said we were God’s Instruments. I’m gonna do it Mar. I’m gonna make the greatest album – the GREATEST ROCK AND ROLL ALBUM EVER!
TIME PASSES. STUFF HAPPENS.
Brian records Pet Sounds.
Murry takes ownership of Sea Of Tunes.
Boring Murry and Audree stuff.
AT BRIAN’S HOUSE AGAIN, SOME MONTHS LATER.
Brian: I sent everyone away for the evening, I wanted to make SURE it was safe. You never know who could be listening, trying to steal your ideas…
Mike: Brian, whatever it is you’re smoking, you might wanna go easy…
Brian: I want you to hear this.
Tape Machine: i hope it’s good good go-od good vibrations yeah
Brian: I never could get the track right. I want it to be like a pocket symphony, with movements, changes
Brian: build the harmonies here, drop that voice out, this comes in – bring in the echo chamber! Put that theremin in there
Brian: It’s not RIGHT!
Mike: Yeah, well, it needs a hook, some lyrics – that MAKE SENSE, you know?
Mike: Brian, this music is so WEIRD if our fans ever heard it they’d freak out!
Brian: No! They GOTTA like it! Maybe, maybe – you got some good ideas?
Mike: You want to do it together? Like before? OK. OK, OK let’s get going right now. OK! One thing everybody understands is boy/girl, right? So you write it from that p-
Mike: OK buddy, it’s good to see you too – it’s good to be back.
IN THE CAPITOL RECORDS OFFICE.
Nik Venet: $60,000 dollars! 90 hours of session tapes! And you’ve used up the goodwill of at least 4 different studios! When do you think it’s gonna be finished?
Portable Tape Machine: when it’s ready
Nik: And when might that be?
Portable Tape Machine: when it’s ready
Mile Love: good good good, good vibrations, good good good, good vibrations
Posh TOTP Presenter: Mike, tell us about the Beach Boy’s groovy new sound.
Mike: Well, you know our collaborator Brian Wilson, he’s always experimenting…
LATER ON THAT DAY.
Brian: Marilyn help me! Get this spider off my face! (freaks out, looks in mirror). It’s gone (laughs).
Marilyn moves out.
IN BRIAN’S SWIMMING POOL.
Brian (to Nik Venet): Come on in man!
Nik: Listen, you mentioned something on the phone about a new album.
Brian: I’m writing a Teenage Symphony To God, Van Dyke is helping.
Van Dyke: You see, The Beach Boys are this pan-patrotic kind of trans-presidential vibe, they’re Americana personified, and that gives us a platform to bring a kinda Mark Twain irony thing into rock and roll.
Brian: I want to use lyrics as a RHYTHM element – Van Dyke is into that – an album doesn’t have to be all songs, man! A record can be just SOUNDS – or maybe another that’s all humour jokes and stuff!
Nik: Brian, Capitol’s got a lot riding on this, everybody’s expecting The Beach Boys to top Good Vibrations.
BACK IN THE CAPITOL OFFICE.
A kind of Love To Say Dada-styled theme plays on the soundtrack, but it’s more like a midi file than a real piano, with clockwork timing and cheap samples.
Up to this point (3 hours or so in), every Beach Boys song heard has been the original recording; alternate mixes have been also used.
At this key moment, in this version of The Beach Boys’ narrative, Cabinessence would have been Smile‘s ‘tipping point’, a specific Beach Boy having issue with a particular lyric.
Was there a (presumably) non-partisan audience for this TV drama (like the IMDB guy at the top), that took Brian Wilson’s errors and failings as shown? If so, and if Cabinessence (and Smile) was so incomprehensible, and if this music is so WEIRD even the fans would freak out, why not include it here, and prove the point?
We had the early Good Vibrations – why no Surf’s Up session?
Because, if a single actual Smile track was heard, the entire argument of this four-hour hagiography would instantaneously collapse in upon itself, and all its negativity and dissonance would die an ugly death…?
Watch out for the lyric’s acid alliteration, as the soundtrack’s Dada-esque theme continues to play, and we return to the drama:
Secretary: Art department says we’re making a first run of half a million.
Nik Venet: OK. Five hundred thousand albums…everybody’s expecting a teenage symphony, he’s out there recording noise.
Secretary: Does anyone over in A&R know how it’s supposed to go together?
Nik: The question is, does he?
The Drainers pound spoons around the dinner table.
Brian : Now bark! Bark!
Drainers: ruff ruff ruff woof woof woof
A SMILE SESSION.
Mike: What does this MEAN?
over and over the crow cries uncover the cornfield…?
geronimo leaps and bounds for glory over the dustbowl…?
Van Dyke: Quite frankly Mike, I don’t know WHAT it means. I can’t tell you.
Van Dyke: I’m sorry Brian – I’m splittin’. The philisteens have uttered their pronouncements, and I am now bound for Golgotha.
Brian: Now look what you did!
Mike: You know what this is? Acid alliteration. I’m not singing this psychedelic crap!
Bruce: Jeez Brian, even I don’t know what we’re singing about.
Carl: It’s all just pieces Brian. Just…pieces.
BACK AT BRIAN’S HOUSE.
Wild Honey‘s Let The Wind Blow plays on the soundtrack.
The backing track builds up with echoes.
Brian sits at the piano. As Smile sleeves and mastertapes burn behind him, he starts to sing:
know she’ll be a part of my life
no she’ll be a part of my life
let the bees make honey
let the poor find money
take away their sorrows
give them sunshine tomorrow
but don’t take her out of my life
don’t take her out of my life.
SOME MONTHS LATER, AT MIKE’S HUGE AND EXPENSIVE HOUSE.
A mellow sitar album plays in the background.
Mike: …Lennon and McCartney turned me on to him when we were in London. You don’t see them falling apart. Just a way to cut through all the crap – the vibe there was so PEACEFUL – one morning McCartney comes down playing this ‘Beach Boys-style’ song. The next minute we’re bouncing ideas off each other – Brian and I used to work like that.
Pamela: I know, you’ve told me all about it Mike. Making music is one thing, but as a way of life?
Mike: There is too much bad karma out there. Look around: King, Kennedy, everybody with a message of hope gets cut down – meditating is so simple anyone can do it, and if everyone did it the world would be a totally different place. You won’t KNOW unless you try.
Pamela: Just don’t go overboard.
Mike: You think I’m gonna be like Brian and Dennis?!? No, this has given me perspective, sets up my priorities. With the band it’s all noise, I gotta find a way to cut through all that. Sooner or later they’ll learn, positivity and harmony last forever, negativity and dissonance will die an ugly death.
SOME TIME LATER, IN BRIAN’S HOME STUDIO.
Tape Machine: add some music add some add some music to your day
Carl: We’ll need Brian for the next set of overdubs.
Al: Think he’s ever gonna come down?
Carl: Who knows?
Add Some Music To Your Day can be heard coming from the home studio.
Mar: The music sounds beautiful sweetheart…
Audree Wilson: I know you fellas are having your differences, but you still sound great together.
Brian enters the studio through some kind of Batman-style swivelling bookcase.
Tape Machine: the world could come together as one if everybody under the sun add some music to your day
Mike: What do you think about this song?
Brian: Oh! It’s – mmmm – it’s good. I got some new ‘feels’ for you guys.
Dennis: I got some ideas of my own Brian.
Brian: You…wrote a song?
Dennis: What’s so strange about that? Think that cos mom had to twist your arm to let me into the group that I didn’t have any talent? You didn’t think I was good enough then, and you STILL don’t think I’m good enough! Well, you know what Bri? There’s a lotta music I’m gonna make…even though I’m just ‘a clubber’.
Dennis storms out. Screw you guys, I’m goin’ home.
Brian plays something not dissimilar to Been Way Too Long/Can’t Wait Too Long, repeating the theme again and again. The guys are unimpressed.
DENNIS RETURNS HOME.
His house lights are on, and an ominous acid guitar album is playing is on his stereo.
Charles Manson is in his house.
Charles Manson is in their studio.
Charles Manson: solution girl you get my gist (Jandek-style strumming) do you love me do you love me do you love
Carl: This guy’s stuff is NOT for us.
For an alternate perspective, why not try Summer Dreams?
or go here next