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Author Topic: "Love & Mercy" - Board member reviews and discussion  (Read 50481 times)
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« Reply #25 on: June 06, 2015, 06:27:31 PM »


edit: the movie ends on a dead end st. in Hawthorne, beneath the mighty 105: how  inspired was that. amazing

One of the three times I teared up during the TIFF screening in September, I must say.

If I recall the moment correctly... I'd been so engrossed by the Banks-Cusack scene I'd lost sense of time and wasn't anticipating the end of the film. But my god, when WIBN drifted in, with its eternal message of  - what was it Paul Williams once said were the three core elements of Brian's music? - warmness, serenity and friendship underscoring the scene under the freeway, my eyes suddenly felt very hot and moist. Movies IS magic.


I have so much to say but I'm still in that awestruck phase. That scene under the highway...SPOILER ALERT...

The symbolism and metaphor used in that scene may have been used in numerous other films going back decades, but *the way* in which it played out here was one of the things that makes this film so unique and to me - innovative. Brian wanted to "go home", and the realization implied as the music played was that he already was home as soon as he got in the car. The old home he thought he was going to was replaced by modern transportation...yet the moment he got in the car and that car parked under the freeway, that was the beginning of the next chapter. The old days were gone, torn down - It was time to build something new and move forward. There would be no going back.

What I loved was that the music began to swell and it drowned out any dialogue or conversation that would follow, and we could plainly see there was a conversation happening. But Wouldnt It Be Nice - the music - was the dialogue, it said as much to bring everything together as any final words or typical film tool of a killer ending punchline could do. The music carried the day, and again what a perfect, beautiful song to be playing at that point in the film. The music says everything necessary just as it does for many listeners when a song just seems to lay out everything you're feeling or need to hear at a particular moment of joy or sadness.

The montage of scenes that came immediately before - I can't think of them without getting choked up. I won't give that away. yet. Some of the best filmmaking technique and camera/editing work I've seen in a long, long time. My God, that scene just destroyed me, reduced me to tears...not the freeway, but anyone who has seen it knows which one. I'd call it brilliant filmmaking on many levels, put into that one montage of a scene. Editing, audio, cinematography, writing/dialogue, acting, all around the horn amazing. Damn.  Smiley  It already sits at the top of my list of all time scenes in film. Damn, again.
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« Reply #26 on: June 06, 2015, 08:08:18 PM »

Too many words, but I'll condense it to this-

The scene with Brian on the floor in the studio, when they get caught... my GOD. I was literally shaking.

So many great musical moments...

But THE SCENE was right at the beginning: "Lonely, Tired, Frightened" with the music building... That's when I knew this was gonna be PERFECT.

Couldn't have wished for more, gimme a blu ray/CD pack. Leggo.
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« Reply #27 on: June 06, 2015, 09:50:00 PM »

I just got back from seeing it.

Can't say much more that already hasn't been said. However, I think this is definitely a movie that will be more appreciated by BB nerds than casual fans. For example, I noticed in one scene they had Brian in the studio replicating the famous pose below. However, first thing I noticed was, THEY GOT THE SHIRT WRONG! The correct shirt is STRIPED! In the movie it was more like a dense swirly pattern.



Sheesh! Wink Thought they could pull a fast one on me, eh? :D

Anyway the build-up toward the end and the 'Till I Die scene was fantastic. Brought tears to my eyes. And this is the first movie I've ever seen where almost no one (well, just a couple people) left when the closing credits started. Everyone sat still as soon as Brian started singing!
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« Reply #28 on: June 06, 2015, 10:38:24 PM »

Saw it tonight for the second time. The Mrs. and I need to see it for a third time at least. That is all.
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« Reply #29 on: June 06, 2015, 10:41:34 PM »

No long review here. Just one word to describe the film and the voyage it took me on.

Harrowing.
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« Reply #30 on: June 06, 2015, 10:46:29 PM »

The Till I Die scene is amazing film making.  I kind of wish Murry had been fleshed out a bit more - better than I ever expected overall.  What a great way to follow NPP.
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« Reply #31 on: June 07, 2015, 01:28:26 AM »

I just got back from seeing it at the Arclight in Hollywood. I loved it. I really liked that it wasn't made for someone who doesn't know who Brian Wilson is. A typical bio pic would be non stop exposition explaining who Brian and the Beach Boys are and what they are doing. Very well done.

I especially liked the sound collages for the audio hallucinations. I wonder if that is in fact how Brian experiences the world.
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« Reply #32 on: June 07, 2015, 10:48:10 AM »

I saw it for the second time last night. Nothing more to add here that hasn't been said already by you guys. I absolutely love the movie and plan on going for a third time before it leaves the theatre.
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« Reply #33 on: June 07, 2015, 01:58:59 PM »

Well you guys have made me want to see this movie.  Badly.

I didn't want to at first because like a lot of the fans here, Brian Wilson is too personal.  He probably means more to me than anyone not currently living in my house.  And I figured it would be a disaster because there is so much to explain in such a short period of time.. and John Cusack looks NOTHING like Brian..

But now I can't wait.. 

And I'm trying to get a babysitter asap.
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« Reply #34 on: June 07, 2015, 02:42:52 PM »

How was the attendance at these various showings? Future reviewers, please note how large the crowds were.
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« Reply #35 on: June 07, 2015, 02:45:46 PM »

How was the attendance at these various showings? Future reviewers, please note how large the crowds were.

As I wrote above, about 85% full at the screening I attended and I would estimate the # of seats at 140.  In other DC theaters at that time (7 pm Saturday, one of the busiest times at multiplexes) it could have been a sellout or close to it.
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« Reply #36 on: June 07, 2015, 02:48:10 PM »

i went to a screening yesterday at 5pm. Lil less than half full. Some older folks, 20somethings, some dude and his daughter in front of me. Think everyone stayed thru the whole thing, except a few who went to the bathroom. Almost everyone stayed thru the Love & Mercy performance at the start of the credits.

Also, i've seen the film 3 times now & Brian's "hey Chuck, can we get a horse in here?" line always got laughs.

Planning to see it w/ a good friend (and someone not at all familiar w/ the myth of B.W.). Hopefully it'll still be playing when she's available in 3 weeks Razz
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« Reply #37 on: June 07, 2015, 02:57:46 PM »

My wife and I saw this movie yesterday at matinee time at the only theatre I could find listed in Oklahoma City (an hour drive from where I live).  We both loved it! It was mostly an older crowd 50's & 60's but the auditorium was about 70% full.  Great movie for the fans and those who like musical bio's but with all the Summer blockbusters out, I can't imagine this doing that great in comparison-I hope I'm wrong though!  If you haven't seen this yet, you are missing out!  I plan to see it again in the theatre if it opens closer to where I live.  The only thing I was surprised about was the small screen time the Beach Boys as a band performing got but it didn't take away from the movie at all.
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« Reply #38 on: June 07, 2015, 03:10:33 PM »

I've gone twice thus far. First time on Friday there were about 10 people in the theater. Today there were 15-20. I'm going again on Wednesday, I'm sure the attendance will be low then too, sadly.

In each showing there were mostly 50+ year olds but surprisingly a few girls around 25 years old showed up alone in each showing I attended.

The horse line, the "why does this feel like prom night?" line, and the Cusack line "It was more like 3 years....at least that's what I tell people" got some good laughs.

First time I saw it I stayed until the very end of the credits. Today, I stayed until 'Love and Mercy' finished and then left, but I noticed most of the crowd stayed behind to watch the credits roll on. I think this really is an emotional punch to the gut, I yet walked out again feeling like I witnessed something momentous.
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« Reply #39 on: June 07, 2015, 03:24:26 PM »

This movie was a dream come true in so many ways.  The detail in the reenactments of visual and audio material fans are familiar with (promos, session chat, concert footage) is pretty remarkable.  The soundtrack is very creative and the auditory episodes they came up with are very effective and disturbing.  No matter how many times you've thought about what Brian has to go through when he is coping with it, to actually experience it (or an interpretation of it) is a bit shocking, particularly if you are watching it in a loud theatre...which i was!  Paul Dano completely becomes Brian, and Cusack does less of an impersonation but still a great job performing the essence of Brian.  Elizabeth Banks is solid (and just about carries the movie), and Paul Giamatti is an appropriately chilling Landy.  Also, hats off for the "2001" sequence....powerful stuff.

I will say that the movie is not very charitable towards Mike.  While even he has acknowledged resistance (and confrontation?  He has referred to talking with Van Dyke  about Cabinessence lyrics, for one thing) regarding aspects of where Brian and his music was headed in '66-'67, I was surprised there wasn't a little more nuance in the depiction.  The one time Mike appears he is about to make amends, Brian quickly cuts him off and proceeds to introduce an olive branch via playing the Good Vibrations chorus riff and inviting him to come up with lyrics.  They wouldn't even let the Mike character have that!  ( And I say this as someone who is not exactly an ardent defender of Mike.)  And speaking of Van Dyke, there is another guy who is not going to be thrilled by the movie's portrayal.  (I know: it's a movie - not a documentary.)

But all in all, a triumph.  Enjoy!
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« Reply #40 on: June 07, 2015, 03:33:45 PM »

Possible spoiler alert ahead:

I saw it for the second time last night, the second night in a row, same theater, same seat. Interestingly, about the same number of people attended (half-full), with the same demographics (mostly 50 and older). I was just as transfixed the second time as the first. I tuned in even more to the sound design this time around and can only describe it as perfectly accomplished. There's something about the opening music that I remember sort of aurally propelling the viewer into the film, whether they are ready or not. The whole film is fantastic, but the sequence beginning with the pool scene near the end (where Mike confronts Van Dyke Parks), on through what some have called the 2001 homage is in my opinion tour de force filmmaking of the highest order.

Speaking of the Mike vs. Van Dyke scene, I stated in an earlier post that I'm not bothered by the small inaccuracies of the film, and I'm not, as the filmmakers went to great lengths to capture the look and feel of the time periods in question. That being said, I do find myself remaining curious as to why the script had Mike confronting Parks about the lyrics to Heroes and Villains, when it's well known among Beach Boys' Cognoscenti, and surely must have been known to Pohlad and Moverman, that it was the Cabin Essence lyrics that so confounded Mike. A 1976 interview of Van Dyke stating this very thing in front of the (sadly no more) Tower Records is readily available on YouTube. It's not inconceivable that Mike also confronted him about those very H&V lyrics as well, I just find it interesting that what is well known SMiLE lore was excluded from the film... it's easier to understand the exact vehicle not being available for a shoot, but this choice does leave me a little puzzled.
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« Reply #41 on: June 07, 2015, 03:34:46 PM »

This movie was a dream come true in so many ways.  The detail in the reenactments of visual and audio material fans are familiar with (promos, session chat, concert footage) is pretty remarkable.  The soundtrack is very creative and the auditory episodes they came up with are very effective and disturbing.  No matter how many times you've thought about what Brian has to go through when he is coping with it, to actually experience it (or an interpretation of it) is a bit shocking, particularly if you are watching it in a loud theatre...which i was!  Paul Dano completely becomes Brian, and Cusack does less of an impersonation but still a great job performing the essence of Brian.  Elizabeth Banks is solid (and just about carries the movie), and Paul Giamatti is an appropriately chilling Landy.  Also, hats off for the "2001" sequence....powerful stuff.

I will say that the movie is not very charitable towards Mike.  While even he has acknowledged resistance (and confrontation?  He has referred to talking with Van Dyke  about Cabinessence lyrics, for one thing) regarding aspects of where Brian and his music was headed in '66-'67, I was surprised there wasn't a little more nuance in the depiction.  The one time Mike appears he is about to make amends, Brian quickly cuts him off and proceeds to introduce an olive branch via playing the Good Vibrations chorus riff and inviting him to come up with lyrics.  They wouldn't even let the Mike character have that!  ( And I say this as someone who is not exactly an ardent defender of Mike.)  And speaking of Van Dyke, there is another guy who is not going to be thrilled by the movie's portrayal.  (I know: it's a movie - not a documentary.)

But all in all, a triumph.  Enjoy!

It's true that I'd have liked to see something more than the GV composition scene, showing Brian and Mike trying to work out common ground in that period, illustrating the kind of bond they'd had at the start.  Where the portrayal of Murry is concerned, I remember thinking there should have been at least one scene that explained that he had been an amateur musician and songwriter who had encouraged his sons to play music.  As it is, your viewer who goes in not knowing anything about the backstory might think he had no more understanding of being a musician or singer than Landy did.  

But then again, Probyn  (I think it was) said on FB that he hopes that if this movie is a hit, it leads to more films that tell the BBs story from start to end. Obviously, a movie about the pre-late '64 era (ie up to Murry's firing or just after) would illuminate Murry's role more - though the problem is, he'd thoroughly dominate such a movie. "Love & Murry" - nah, I dunno about that.

Where Van Dyke goes, yes, the actor who plays him only shows up in two scenes - but the way he walks away after Mike complains about H&V is a pretty well done piece of physical acting...as I think a veteran actor like VDP would agree.
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« Reply #42 on: June 07, 2015, 03:47:12 PM »

Possible spoiler alert ahead:

I saw it for the second time last night, the second night in a row, same theater, same seat. Interestingly, about the same number of people attended (half-full), with the same demographics (mostly 50 and older). I was just as transfixed the second time as the first. I tuned in even more to the sound design this time around and can only describe it as perfectly accomplished. There's something about the opening music that I remember sort of aurally propelling the viewer into the film, whether they are ready or not. The whole film is fantastic, but the sequence beginning with the pool scene near the end (where Mike confronts Van Dyke Parks), on through what some have called the 2001 homage is in my opinion tour de force filmmaking of the highest order.

Speaking of the Mike vs. Van Dyke scene, I stated in an earlier post that I'm not bothered by the small inaccuracies of the film, and I'm not, as the filmmakers went to great lengths to capture the look and feel of the time periods in question. That being said, I do find myself remaining curious as to why the script had Mike confronting Parks about the lyrics to Heroes and Villains, when it's well known among Beach Boys' Cognoscenti, and surely must have been known to Pohlad and Moverman, that it was the Cabin Essence lyrics that so confounded Mike. A 1976 interview of Van Dyke stating this very thing in front of the (sadly no more) Tower Records is readily available on YouTube. It's not inconceivable that Mike also confronted him about those very H&V lyrics as well, I just find it interesting that what is well known SMiLE lore was excluded from the film... it's easier to understand the exact vehicle not being available for a shoot, but this choice does leave me a little puzzled.

As I said on the other thread, doing a re-enactment of the Cabin Essence confrontation might be too intense even in a film as thoroughly intense as this is.  CE is to this day one of the most overwhelming pieces of music recorded in the last century. When I first heard it in the middle of '76 - right before I even heard PS all the way through - I found it almost impossible to process.  There was some modern classical music I could compare it to. Maybe some things in Zappa's work. When I first heard the Residents over a year later I thought: "Well, these guys are so out there, they seem to be using Cabin Essence as a base for what they're doing." 

In L&M, PS and GV are just incredibly intense. Trying to re-enact CE and the argument over it - or Brian panicking while the Fire music is playing - would be going way over the top, to the point where people might feel they have to leave the theater right then.... with a feeling not unlike what Brian had when he watched Seconds.  Having the argument be at the pool and over H&V brings down the intensity a bit and is the right way to set up the scenes that follow.  I think Pohlad made the right decision there. 

Incidentally, I think the actor playing VDP took the right approach in underplaying a bit.  It's probably tempting for an actor to imitate VDP's verbal fireworks and exaggerate his delivery a bit, but that wouldn't have fitted into those two scenes that well.
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« Reply #43 on: June 07, 2015, 05:58:42 PM »

I attended the Australian premier at the Sate Theatre in Sydney last night. The State is a beautifully ornate theatre built in the mid 1920s and a venue Brian has played on a number of occasions ... and that became central to my experience last night.  The premier was part of the Sydney Film Festival and the film opens nationally on 25 June. The audience in the near full theatre was mainly the arts and theatre crowd of Australia with demographics varying widely from the old and wised to impressionable youth in their late teens early twenties, so its was a vastly different audience from those who will see it later this month.

This is a wholly satisfying experience for Beach Boys fans ... however compared to some of the reviews on this board a reality check is required ...there's no Academy Award winning performances, except perhaps the soundtrack but then again Atticus Ross had wonderful material to work with.  I just felt that Danno and Cusak while portraying Brian quite accurately lacked emotional depth. Nothing in this movie moved me emotionally until the credits. Banks's performance was solid throughout and Giamatti bought the much needed bad wig into the movie. On a basic level the BAD Landy/Murry/Mike triumvirate worked well in contrast to the GOOD triumvirate of Brian/Melinda/Gloria (Where was Carl?). On a simplistic level the movie was good versus bad leading to redemption - a good enough basis for a movie. The strongest scene in the movie for me was the Landy/Melinda confrontation in the car sales showroom.

The music of Brian Wilson is the big winner in this film and I wouldn't be surprised to see Pet Sounds charting in some parts of the world over the next month or so. The studio scenes of the recording of Pet Sounds and Smile where perhaps a bit too familiar for "enlightened" fans of the music. In many cases the scenes were reproductions of scenes we have watched on film many times over the years and not much new was bought to the story - although I did like the momentary look Carol Kaye gave Brian over her shoulder after she had questioned the two basses in two different keys then the band played through and Kaye just knew Brian was right.

While having viewed the movie through the eyes of a seasoned lover of Brian's music and the muse that is his life story, I do acknowledge that my disappointment at nothing new or revelatory will not necessarily impact people not familiar with the Brian Wilson story (apart from a 'few hit songs'), who will find much of this film entertaining and enlightening and a whole new market for Brian's music will open up and more respect will be afforded to Brian and the Beach Boys' music. Leaving the theatre it was obvious from comments all around that the music touched people greatly and "I must buy Pet Sounds' was a common phrase being uttered.

As I mentioned earlier I didn't feel emotional until the credits rolled and Brian's cameo singing Love and Mercy and I realised how important having seen Brian's career unfold, refold, redux and be reborn over the years meant to me ... here I was sitting in a theatre watching the story I knew so well, of a man who's artistic talent and beauty has touched me so deeply and been a part of my daily life for 50 years ... here I was sitting in the theatre where I had sat front row centre, immediately in front of Brian, where eye contact, a smile and a nod during the show was impossible to avoid and on the screen was the redeemed and triumphant Brian as close up as he was that night, being admired by a room full of people who barely knew his story before the film. It was emotional on a personal level ... and that was the way it should have been ... well done to the team behind the film.

The Beach Boys world will be a different place after this movie, the music and the Boys will be more accepted and places such as the Smiley Board will most likely struggle with the changes ... I can see a board melt down happening  ... maybe its time to embrace the changes and not feel possessive of our own little cyber world.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2015, 06:03:30 PM by TonyW » Logged
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« Reply #44 on: June 07, 2015, 07:32:51 PM »

I will say that the movie is not very charitable towards Mike.  While even he has acknowledged resistance (and confrontation?  He has referred to talking with Van Dyke  about Cabinessence lyrics, for one thing) regarding aspects of where Brian and his music was headed in '66-'67, I was surprised there wasn't a little more nuance in the depiction.  The one time Mike appears he is about to make amends, Brian quickly cuts him off and proceeds to introduce an olive branch via playing the Good Vibrations chorus riff and inviting him to come up with lyrics.  They wouldn't even let the Mike character have that!  ( And I say this as someone who is not exactly an ardent defender of Mike.)  And speaking of Van Dyke, there is another guy who is not going to be thrilled by the movie's portrayal.  (I know: it's a movie - not a documentary.)

It's funny, because I was afraid the film was going to completely demonize Mike. I thought it treated him rather sympathetically all things considered.
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« Reply #45 on: June 07, 2015, 08:16:46 PM »

Drove an hour to see it.....and it was more than worth the drive!
For some reason the scene that stuck out in my mind the most was when Brian dropped acid and the backing track to Don't Talk began to play. I just loved that little moment. The girlfriend got a kick out of Van Dyke's exit from the pool area.
Also, how many of us got our picture taken with the Love And Mercy movie poster at the theatre? I can't be the only one.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2015, 08:24:40 PM by BiNNS » Logged
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« Reply #46 on: June 07, 2015, 08:45:35 PM »

Still dealing with these new fangled technologies, & I'm lucky I got this video up on my Dennis page, https://www.facebook.com/roachclips68 , but I posted a brief video there of Brian from todays screening, talking about Rubber Soul
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« Reply #47 on: June 07, 2015, 09:00:31 PM »

It was a deeply satisfying experience to see Brian's story told with some dignity and not some TV movie with fake beards etc. It hit me hard watching this film, but it also was a story that I knew so well. I was seeing a story that I had absorbed and lived thru (meaning reading and talking to people all during the '80s that were close to Brian) that it was nice to finally see THAT story come to light.

In the words of Brian "it's a weird trip man."
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« Reply #48 on: June 07, 2015, 09:10:26 PM »

I do find myself remaining curious as to why the script had Mike confronting Parks about the lyrics to Heroes and Villains, when it's well known among Beach Boys' Cognoscenti

Congrats, that may perhaps be the reason. It is a well known factoid. However, a lesser-acknowledged factoid is that Mike confronted Van Dyke on more than one occasion, and at a different time, it was documented that he was not a fan of the 'sunny down snuff' line. They simply chose to combine those two small historical nuggets together to make something that was an even heavier nod to the hardcore fans who did their research, rather than hitting a note that even neophytes would have expected would have been hit.

By the way, there is not nearly enough talk about the potential discovery of a certain holy grail of 49-years-lost tape stems that inexplicably found its way into this film...
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« Reply #49 on: June 07, 2015, 10:54:58 PM »

I am glad of two things in this movie.

1.) Bill did not go out of his way to portray Mike Love as an asshole. He came off like a man who was worried as to what was happening to his group, and yes his livelihood. There were changes going on with Brian that I am sure Mike at the time chalked up to drugs etc and thought that his cousin needed a verbal ass kicking to get it together. We know now that drugs took an already delicately balanced Brian and pushed him over the edge.

2.) I liked the way the SMiLE crew was portrayed. (So glad Bob Hanes isn't here to rip me a new one for what I am about to say. We argued ALOT over this). I have always felt that with 3 exceptions, the people that were around Brian during Pet Sounds and SMiLE were absolutely the most self absorbed people who could have invaded his world. Starting with Tom Nolan and carried on by David Leaf and others, these people (Lauren Daro, Mike Vosse, etc etc), these people were said to be hip and the Beach Boys were said to be non-hip and that was the ONLY thing wrong is that the boys couldn't or didn't want to go where the hip people were leading. Well, to put it mildly, these hip people were going NOWHERE. They were the kind of people I knew growing up that would get high and just ramble on about things and think of themselves as enlightened. And the 60's people had a way of thinking they saved the world. They didn't. They were too self-absorbed to save anyone. I always found it funny when they use to show these communes on shows like 60 minutes etc., and the men would spend the day meeting and discussing issues of the day etc, while the women did all of the work and child-rearing. So much for enlightenment. Those people added nothing. And look at them all. Except for Van, David, and Danny, they all went on to do......nothing. Some were homeless and addicted, Lauren worked as a fact checker for a publisher (so much for Mr. Brain Trust). These were evil people. Glad they didn't show them as heroes. Leaf tried to show them that way in the Beatuiful Dreamer video. They weren't. After watching Lauren speak, I told Bob Hanes I felt like I needed a shower.
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