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What would the world be like without Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys? Let's forget the notion and enjoy a candid look at the clean-cut harmonizers with An American Band (1985/103 min.), featuring never-before-seen footage and over 40 original hits. Next, a public reawakening after a period of manipulation, I Just Wasn't Made For These Times (1995/69 min.) features some refreshingly restrained versions of previous hits. Color/fullscreen.
A magnificent DVD pairing for Beach Boys fans, these two stylistically different films here pretty much represent the two sides of "America's Band." First up is The Beach Boys: An American Band, made at the height of their Reagan-era resurgence after then Interior Secretary James Watt banned them from performing at the nation's capitol on the 4th of July. A colorful, upbeat film, it doesn't entirely gloss over the more downbeat aspects of the Beach Boys saga (parental abuse, mental illness, uncomfortably tight pants, loads of drugs, and Charles Manson), though it does go out of its way to give the story a happy ending, despite the recent death of drummer Dennis Wilson and the group's complete creative standstill. However, what it lacks in perspective, it more than makes up for in priceless footage, including Smile-era studio outtakes, the unreleased 1967 concert in Hawaii, numerous TV appearances, and extensive interview footage from the mid-'70s.
I Just Wasn't Made for These Times, on the other hand, goes more out of its way to show the long dark path of head Beach Boy Brian Wilson. While Wilson is now acknowledged as the Mozart of the late 20th century, director Don Was gives us a stark black-and-white portrait of a troubled artist still struggling to get his life back. His reminiscence of dad Murry Wilson's beatings is chilling, and Wilson is as comfortable as he'll ever be in front of the camera bragging up his drug use ("Cocaine... the works... put me in jail") and randomly quoting Arthur Koestler's Darkness at Noon. Through it all, Wilson comes across as a complete original, and if the reworkings of his classic songs don't quite match up to the originals, give the guy a break--he just wasn't made for these times. --Kristian St. Clair
The beach boys documentary briefly goes into Dennis' death and it's really hard to watch. :( Both documentaries were great though. Read morePublished 20 days ago by Menah Khalil
A must-have for all Beach Boy fans. What a treat to watch footage from the 60s - Brian with that shy, adorable smile.Published 2 months ago by tweetybird
Awesome DVD which brought back childhood memories. I use to have a copy of this on BetaMaxPublished 8 months ago by JB
My favorite song "Barbara Ann" (1965) is missing AGAIN plus the interview with one of the former Beach Boys wives has been filmed next to a noisy road instead of indoors. Read morePublished 9 months ago by C. Mathieu