ROCK AND ROLL SCREENINGS (Short Take: Love and Mercy)

I don’t have time right now to write about the new Brian Wilson biopic at length. On the basis of several raves on the internet from people I trust, I had made up my mind to see it in a theater and that decision tipped me into a weekend trip to Birmingham (where I knew it was playing) tomorrow and Sunday.

Of course, since I went ahead and planned the trip (don’t worry, there’s a screening of To Kill a Mockingbird¬†at the Alabama Theater just ahead of Harper Lee’s upcoming “prequel” which already had me leaning that direction…I don’t go off entirely half-cocked) Love and Mercy showed up in Tallahassee today.

I went to see it in order to save myself the trouble of searching out the theater in Birmingham.

Let’s just say I’m going to be searching out that theater anyway.

I’ll also be writing about the movie–and my history with the Beach Boys–at length. Maybe some time next week, when I can get my head at least partially around the experience I already had and the one I hope to repeat tomorrow evening.

One thing I can say off the cuff, though.

I’ve held a theory for about thirty years that a certain song was Brian’s version of “Hellhound on My Trail,” and I’m happy to report that I now have the best new movie I’ve seen in a theater in I don’t even know how long to back me up.

Nice to know, even if, in the context of the movie itself, it’s just part of a much, much larger narrative. So, meanwhile, for laughs…sort of:


4 thoughts on “ROCK AND ROLL SCREENINGS (Short Take: Love and Mercy)

  1. Johnny, to hear the very last thing on this clip about their father falling down crying with joy at their harmony…thanks for that. For years I’ve known that singers who are close relatives harmonize in an especially beautiful way. The late Jim Ed Brown called it “sibling harmony.” Three brothers and a cousin plus Al Jardine took harmony to an exalted level. The songs are great and Brian Wilson is a genius. But for me those voices and the harmony that is more than the sum of its parts are the reasons I keep going back to their records.


  2. Your most welcome Peggy. I agree with all you say of course. I haven’t written much about them here because it’s going to take a long post and I just haven’t had an excuse. I’ve got one now. Not sure how much of their story you know, but their dad was also incredibly abusive. It’s a complicated, heartbreaking relationship and that’s part (but only part) of what the movie is about. Not graphic in any way, but you see the damage it wrought.

    And yes, there’s nothing like sibling harmony. When my mother was music director at our church she was always looking for family connections–mother-daugher, brothers, sisters, sisters and cousins, whatever. When I started buying records as a teenager she often knew the songs but rarely the singers. But she’d stick her head in once in a while and say “That has to be brothers.” And it would be the Everlys or the Beach Boys or the Osmonds. She was always right.

  3. Because of the substance abuse, mental health problems and suicide I suspected abuse in their childhood home, but I didn’t know for sure or maybe not knowing was comfortable. Music must have been a refuge for them. I do plan to see the movie and look forward to your thoughts on the Beach Boys.

    I love your stories about your mother. She sounds like a talented force to be reckoned with. You were blessed.

  4. That I was…please check back and let me know what you think of the movie. I really liked what they did. They took a lot of risks and I think most of them paid off. Can’t wait to see it again.

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