N.W.A were a legitimately dangerous, exciting and revolutionary force in music. Yet, for all of that, when they were given the Hollywood biopic treatment, Straight Outta Compton ended up being surprisingly vanilla, predictable and rose coloured. Straight Outta Compton might be the box office winner when it comes to 2015 musician biopics, but the one that should be remembered is the story of Beach Boy Brian Wilson that made a musician seem genuinely dangerous, exciting and revolutionary, in Love & Mercy.
Split between two specific periods of Wilson’s life, there’s 60s Brian Wilson (Paul Dano). Despite their many hits, he’s decided that the music of the Beach Boys needs to evolve beyond the cheesy surf sound they pioneered. So while the rest of the band tours the world, Brian stays in the studio, meticulously building what will become Pet Sounds. When it is a critical success but commercial bomb, he retreats even further into musical experimentation and psychedelics. (more…)