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Author Topic: The Beach Boys - An American Family  (Read 45464 times)
Jonas
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« on: July 16, 2006, 12:22:33 PM »

They're showing this on VH1 Classic right now. (Its going to end at 4) But I looked for future showings and it seems like they're going to show it a few more times in the next week or two. Just giving a heads up for anyone who hasnt seen it.
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jlaird
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« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2006, 03:04:30 PM »

is this the terrible fake beach boys history movie, and if so could someone record it and post it online?
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« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2006, 03:10:22 PM »

Had it on video, and my daughter recorded a show over it. Didn't feel bad about that at all...
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« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2006, 03:28:55 PM »

It's a great comedy.
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« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2006, 03:53:52 PM »

Wait a sec. What exactly was wrong with it? Sure it wasn't 100% accurate. But they said at the beginning of the film that it some liberties were taken. You have to admit that they got Mike Love pretty dead on. And the guy who played Van Dyke was pretty good.

I found it to be entertaining television.

In case your wondering this was not that bad movie from the late eighties with all the fake beards.
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« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2006, 09:43:41 PM »

Ohhh, I know which one you're talking about.  I saw it on TV when I was a wee lad... only thing I remember really is Dennis drowning, and the ghostly voice of Brian yelling "DENNIS!  DENNIS!  NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

Dear God...
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Andrew G. Doe
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« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2006, 03:03:44 AM »

Wait a sec. What exactly was wrong with it? Sure it wasn't 100% accurate.

What was wrong with it ?

Brian portrayed as a drooling idiot post-Pet Sounds...

Mike explaining to Brian what the hook was in "GV"...

Van Dyke being identified as the person who turned Brian on to drugs...

The overall tenor of the 2nd part: Mike good, Brian loony.

Just a selection...
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« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2006, 03:11:45 AM »

Wait a sec. What exactly was wrong with it? Sure it wasn't 100% accurate.


Van Dyke being identified as the person who turned Brian on to drugs...



Come on Andrew, we all know Van Dyke didn't appear in this feature epic! It was that crazy cat "Samuel" in his place with those fantastic, fake "Geronimo!" lyrics!  Grin
« Last Edit: July 18, 2006, 03:15:04 AM by Zander » Logged

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Andrew G. Doe
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« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2006, 03:19:24 AM »

Keep on thinkin', Butch, that's what you're good at.   Cool
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« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2006, 03:27:10 AM »

Who was responsible for this film and it's particular depiction of characters and events?  I see that John Stamos is listed as 'executive producer' and Alan Boyd as 'co-producer'.  Was there any closer Beach Boy involvement?
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« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2006, 03:40:33 AM »

Think you'll find that if you talk to the right people, the words "Mike" & "Love" crop up with considerable regularity.

Alan walked off the project twice, but that's his tale to tell, or not.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2006, 05:05:12 AM by Andrew G. Doe » Logged

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Sir Rob
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« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2006, 03:51:17 AM »

Think you'll find that if you talk to the right people, the words "Mike" & "Love" crop up with considerably regularity.

Well, that does interest me considering how negatively the Smile project is portrayed.  Because, as we all now know, Mike loved Smile all along!
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« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2006, 07:50:36 AM »

Wait a sec. What exactly was wrong with it? Sure it wasn't 100% accurate.

What was wrong with it ?

Brian portrayed as a drooling idiot post-Pet Sounds...

Mike explaining to Brian what the hook was in "GV"...

Van Dyke being identified as the person who turned Brian on to drugs...

The overall tenor of the 2nd part: Mike good, Brian loony.

Just a selection...


Just a question, out of sheer ignorance--

Hadn't Brian become REALLY strange after Pet Sounds?  Maybe not a drooling idiot, per se, but wasn't he pretty darned loony?  Playing the same piano riffs over and over and over again, walking around with a little tape player on his wrist playing "Be My Baby" over and over and over and over again, walking along the highway in the middle of the night in his bathrobe, working at the Radiant Radish in his bathrobe, not leaving his bedroom for weeks on end while his band was recording downstairs in his house hoping that he'd join them, taking business meetings in his swimming pool because he was convinced his father and Phil Spector had his house bugged...

I guess what I'm asking is, what exactly WAS Brian like during the late sixties/early seventies, if the TV movie portrayed him so inaccurately?  (Maybe Peter Carlin's book can answer that, but I'm still waiting for it to come out here in the States.)
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« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2006, 08:52:19 AM »

THAT's the problem -- you think that, everyone thinks that.  It simply isn't true.  Brian didn't start showing that behavior until the 70's.  Throughout the 60's Brian may have withdrawn, but he was functional (somewhat).  He certainly wasn't sitting in bed in a housecoat with a thick beard in 1968 as the movie depicts.  Part 1 was OK, but part 2 was fiction.
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Glenn Greenberg
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« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2006, 09:11:44 AM »

THAT's the problem -- you think that, everyone thinks that.  It simply isn't true.  Brian didn't start showing that behavior until the 70's.  Throughout the 60's Brian may have withdrawn, but he was functional (somewhat).  He certainly wasn't sitting in bed in a housecoat with a thick beard in 1968 as the movie depicts.  Part 1 was OK, but part 2 was fiction.

I'm afraid that's not a very satisfying answer.  So some of the actual DETAILS in the movie didn't jibe with actual events, but it seems to me that the movie more or less got the GIST of what was going on.  The movie couldn't show EVERYTHING, so they had to compress some events, details, and time periods.  It's inevitable.

Does it really matter whether Brian had a beard in the 70s instead of the 60s?  Does it really matter that Brian wasn't COMPLETELY out of his mind until the 70s instead of the late 60s?  I think the main point is that Brian eventually became a non-functioning mess and withdrew almost completely from his friends, his family, and reality.  Which, as far as I know, is true.  The WHEN of it doesn't really matter, does it?  Especially when we're talking about a movie.  Now, if this were a book, then I could definitely understand the ire.  But even CINDERELLA MAN futzed with a lot of real-life details, and that film is almost universally praised.

According to the Beach Boys themselves--I think it was in ENDLESS HARMONY--Bruce says that by the late 60s, it was becoming increasingly rare for Brian to join them in recording sessions and he'd stay up in his room while they recorded in the home studio.  (It was right at the point in the film where they showed footage of the Boys in the home studio with "Time To Get Alone" accompanying the footage.)

If AGD is saying that Brian was never the loony, drooling idiot presented in the movie, I'd like to know just how far off the mark the movie was.  If that wasn't what Brian was really like, what WAS?

Or is AGD simply saying that that wasn't what Brian was like AT THAT TIME, meaning the period immediately following Pet Sounds?
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« Reply #15 on: July 18, 2006, 09:36:52 AM »

Quote
The WHEN of it doesn't really matter, does it?  Especially when we're talking about a movie.  Now, if this were a book, then I could definitely understand the ire
It DOES matter. To use an extreme example, how would you like a film where the World War II was started by the Netherlands and ended in 1957 AND SELLS THIS AS FACTS!?!?! It's just wrong, and you end up with nothing but probaganda. It may be entertaining, but it isn´t the truth.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2006, 09:39:46 AM by JRauch » Logged

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« Reply #16 on: July 18, 2006, 09:50:51 AM »

Not to mention that it actually shows Brian becoming like that in 1966, with Mike swooping in to save GV with his input (yeah, right).  And the actor playing Brian acted very much the same all through the film as if Brian were always about to be a blithering idiot.  And no, he didn't get that bad until 1973/4 -- right as the film shows him supposedly getting better.  And he never even got THAT bad until the 80's and the Landy meds.

Brian in 1980 -- looks pretty lucid to me (esp. compared to Denny):

http://youtube.com/watch?v=XCe-K6NiTm8&search=beach%20boys
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Glenn Greenberg
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« Reply #17 on: July 18, 2006, 10:01:17 AM »

Quote
The WHEN of it doesn't really matter, does it?  Especially when we're talking about a movie.  Now, if this were a book, then I could definitely understand the ire
It DOES matter. To use an extreme example, how would you like a film where the World War II was started by the Netherlands and ended in 1957 AND SELLS THIS AS FACTS!?!?! It's just wrong, and you end up with nothing but probaganda. It may be entertaining, but it isn´t the truth.

That's indeed a very extreme example you're giving there.  Look, compressing events is a staple of biopics.  If you can't accept that, it's best not to watch them.

Even the movie version of Private Parts, WHICH STARRED THE AUTHOR HIMSELF, changed some things around and compressed events, time periods, and even people.  I don't know if you saw the movie, but assuming you did, here's just ONE example: It wasn't Howard Stern and Fred Norris who got into a tub with some B-movie actress in Detroit.  It was Jackie Martling and Stuttering John.  It wasn't a B-movie actress, it was Jessica Hahn.  And it didn't happen in Detroit, it happened in Los Angeles.  And it didn't happen in the early 80s, it happened in the late 80s/early 90s.  Also, Howard's wife didn't go into labor at the big rally in New York celebrating Howard's triumph in the ratings at WNBC radio.  

If Brian eventually did become as much of a mess as was portrayed in the movie, then the movie did its job in getting that across to the audience.  It doesn't matter if the real Brian was that messed up no earlier than 1972 or whenever it was.

Purists and historians may be mortified, but the movie wasn't made for them.  It was made for the widest possible viewing audience, most of whom don't know the full details of every aspect of the Beach Boys' story, nor do they care to.
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Glenn
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« Reply #18 on: July 18, 2006, 10:10:14 AM »

Not to mention that it actually shows Brian becoming like that in 1966, with Mike swooping in to save GV with his input (yeah, right).  And the actor playing Brian acted very much the same all through the film as if Brian were always about to be a blithering idiot.  And no, he didn't get that bad until 1973/4 -- right as the film shows him supposedly getting better.  And he never even got THAT bad until the 80's and the Landy meds.

Brian in 1980 -- looks pretty lucid to me (esp. compared to Denny):

http://youtube.com/watch?v=XCe-K6NiTm8&search=beach%20boys


I watched that clip yesterday.  Brian's squinting the whole time, he's slurring, he quickly defers to Mike to answer a simple question.  Yeah, he can get out a full sentence and he's intelligible for the most part, but Brian doesn't seem fully okay to me.  Yeah, he's more lucid than Dennis, but saying that is damning him with faint praise.
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« Reply #19 on: July 18, 2006, 10:16:53 AM »

The salient point here is that  AAF doesn't just compact all of Brian's known craziness into a shortened time period, but misrepresents him as someone incapable of writing or completing a song after 1966! It amounts to character defamation. The "Good Vibrations" scene demonstrates the film's bias: Brian is too whacked out on drugs to complete the song and wants to give up on it. Mike tries to bring Brian back to sanity long enough to recognize that if they include the hook Mike has come up with and change the lyrics so the kids can relate, they'll have a million seller. Brian thanks Mike profusely for saving the day.

In a later scene, Brian is shown criticizing Dennis' songwriting ability telling him "you'll never be anything but a clubber" (referring to his drumming style). By all accounts (except possibly Mike's or the screenwriter's), this is the exact opposite of Brian's attitude regarding Dennis' writing. Van Dyke Parks is portrayed as a talentless hanger-on who has brainwashed Brian into thinking his "SMiLE" lyrics are substantial when Mike knows they're simply drug-induced gibberish. When confronted with the "truth", Parks runs out of the room whining that the scene isn't cool anymore (when the film originally aired on ABC, the character was called "Van Dyke Parks" and was strangely the only outside collaborator named. Parks threatened to sue for, yep, "character defamation" unless the name was changed to a fictional one).

Even at the film's end which tries to show where everyone ended up circa 2000, Brian is shown performing at one of his solo concerts, but the camera cuts to a close-up of his hands not touching the keyboard as if to emphasize  that he remains an incompetent fake.

All of this can be put down to an artistic viewpoint, but it's a damn mean-spirited one to be sure.

Dramatic movies always take liberties, but something like "Man On The Moon" goes a long way to capture the spirit of Andy Kaufman even if the events in the film are fictionalized. "An American Family" does not attempt to capture the spirit of many of the story's key players, but only wishes to exploit them to sensationalize the action.
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« Reply #20 on: July 18, 2006, 10:18:43 AM »

Anyone watching the 2nd part will most likely form the opinion that, after the Pet Sounds/Smile sessions, Brian suddenly became retarded, in the strict medical sense of the word. To say he was protrayed as a near-imbecile is only exaggerating mildly.
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« Reply #21 on: July 18, 2006, 10:27:41 AM »

The salient point here is that  AAF doesn't just compact all of Brian's known craziness into a shortened time period, but misrepresents him as someone incapable of writing or completing a song after 1966! It amounts to character defamation. The "Good Vibrations" scene demonstrates the film's bias: Brian is too whacked out on drugs to complete the song and wants to give up on it. Mike tries to bring Brian back to sanity long enough to recognize that if they include the hook Mike has come up with and change the lyrics so the kids can relate, they'll have a million seller. Brian thanks Mike profusely for saving the day.

In a later scene, Brian is shown criticizing Dennis' songwriting ability telling him "you'll never be anything but a clubber" (referring to his drumming style). By all accounts (except possibly Mike's or the screenwriter's), this is the exact opposite of Brian's attitude regarding Dennis' writing. Van Dyke Parks is portrayed as a talentless hanger-on who has brainwashed Brian into thinking his "SMiLE" lyrics are substantial when Mike knows they're simply drug-induced gibberish. When confronted with the "truth", Parks runs out of the room whining that the scene isn't cool anymore (when the film originally aired on ABC, the character was called "Van Dyke Parks" and was strangely the only outside collaborator named. Parks threatened to sue for, yep, "character defamation" unless the name was changed to a fictional one).

Even at the film's end which tries to show where everyone ended up circa 2000, Brian is shown performing at one of his solo concerts, but the camera cuts to a close-up of his hands not touching the keyboard as if to emphasize  that he remains an incompetent fake.

All of this can be put down to an artistic viewpoint, but it's a damn mean-spirited one to be sure.

Dramatic movies always take liberties, but something like "Man On The Moon" goes a long way to capture the spirit of Andy Kaufman even if the events in the film are fictionalized. "An American Family" does not attempt to capture the spirit of many of the story's key players, but only wishes to exploit them to sensationalize the action.


Now THIS is a satisfying answer!

Thanks, Roger.
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« Reply #22 on: July 18, 2006, 10:31:09 AM »

Anyone watching the 2nd part will most likely form the opinion that, after the Pet Sounds/Smile sessions, Brian suddenly became retarded, in the strict medical sense of the word. To say he was protrayed as a near-imbecile is only exaggerating mildly.


AGD--

So, to the best of your knowledge, Brian was NEVER as bad as he was portrayed in the movie, even when he was at his worst?
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« Reply #23 on: July 18, 2006, 10:54:39 AM »

To the best of my knowledge, and from what I've been told, no. Pretty bad, for sure. But never as moronic as portrayed.
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« Reply #24 on: July 18, 2006, 02:43:17 PM »

What upset some people about "American Family" is that it was an official Beach Boys' project.  It's not just some producer's take on the story, as "Summer Dreams" was.   An article appeared in the LA Weekly when it was first broadcast about how inaccurate it was.  It included an interview with a very upset Van Dyke Parks, who threatened to sue over the movie (a disclaimer was added to the film).  Van really had it in for Mike Love, mentioning his divorces (he claimed Mike had been married 11 times,  a few more marriages than Mike actually had).  He also repeated a story about Mike offering him a seat, seemingly without charge, on a charter flight, then billing him for the cost after the fact.  Not to bring  up all the laundry, but Van Dyke was clearly p.o.'d by the movie and blamed Mike for the content.  Darian was also quoted in the same article, describing Melinda Wilson yelling into her cell phone at the movie's director, so upset was she at learning what was in the movie as it was being filmed.  Brian was so rattled by her heated phone call that he ducked into a car to avoid hearing it. 

I'm not really sure how much Mike had to do with what's in the movie.  It glorifies him in some respects, but also makes him appear emotionally unstable and mean.  John Stamos was a co-producer, and a former touring Beach Boy, but he's said he couldn't make the movie he wanted because he was threatened with lawsuits.  But I take that to mean it would have been even more exploitive than it wound up being.  What I don't get is why Melinda Wilson became so upset during production.  Didn't she read the script?  She waited too long to voice objections, and it was too late to change anything by that point.  The film only makes her husband look like a retarded whack job who didn't respect his brothers and totally despised his own daughters.  I'm surprised it didn't feature his affair with Diane, since Diane is in the movie for little reason.  Maybe that's one of the things Stamos wanted to show that he had to drop.  That film made me lose respect for John Stamos.  Not that I had any to begin with. 

Besides that, it's just a really bad movie.  I'm not sure why people enjoy it, but to each their own.  I preferred "Summer Dreams," at least it was shorter.
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