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  • BRIAN WILSON: LONG PROMISED ROAD documentary (2021)

    Today is Brian Wilson's 80th Birthday. In his honor, my review of last year's documentary....

    (2021) - LONG PROMISED ROAD is a very intimate documentary on Beach Boys co-founder Brian Wilson. Taking it's title from an appropriately titled Beach Boys track, filmmaker Brent Wilson (no relation) provides a basic overview of Wilson's career and there is a decent amount of performance footage (most of it of fairly recent vintage). There are interviews with musicians like Don Was, Elton John and Jakob Dylan. Still, the focus here is clearly on Wilson's personal life.

    The Doc is structured around car trips with Wilson and Rolling Stone writer Jason Fine (Riding Around In Cars With Brian - as it were). The pair visit the past homes of the musician while chatting and listening to old songs. The most fascinating - and painful - portions concern Wilson's long history of mental illness which emerged just as the Beach Boys were ascendant. Parts are difficult to watch as Wilson opens up about how even the simplest things “scare” him. It got so bad that for a long period in the late 60s and into the 80s he was barely functional. A discredited therapist, Eugene Landy, held him almost under detention. Wilson was so disconnected that when the camera witnesses him listening to his late brother Dennis' 1970 solo album, it's supposedly for the very first time.

    With that backdrop, it's all the more amazing that Wilson continues to record and tour even if his releases only have met with sporadic success. Those expecting a more traditional music doc or one centered on The Beach Boys, may be disappointed. There are some nice bits of historical footage, and a good bit about the recording of Pet Sounds; But LONG PROMISED ROAD is about Brian Wilson, the man, more than as a musician. Uncomfortable at times, one can't help but appreciate what he has accomplished all the more.

    BRIAN WILSON: LONG PROMISED ROAD is available to stream to rent for about $3 on all the usual services as well as through PBS in their American Masters series.

  • #2
    Sounds amazing.
    Why would anybody watch a scum show like Videodrome? Why did you watch it, Max?