‘Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road’ looks at this music genius

Category: Blu-ray's and DVD's

The Beach Boys were the quintessential American group. They were America’s answer to the British Invasion. Led by Brian Wilson, who wrote many of their hits, the group had an amazing run up the charts and still sell-out concerts, although two of the original Beach Boys have died. Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road is an interesting look back at their history with Brian Wilson.

The format of the film is different than most documentaries. In this film Rolling Stone editor and friend of Wilson, Jason Fine, drives Brian around the areas of Southern California that played a role in the Beach Boys and in Brian’s life. While some of the details about his past (his childhood and his life with a disreputable man who said he was only helping Brian recover from his mental illness yet was doing the opposite) are skimmed over so only fans of the singer/songwriter know what the backstory is, the film does take a deep look into the history of Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys.

Peppered throughout the film, as Brian and Fine drive through SoCal, are comments and insights from various musicians and friends of Wilson. They include Elton John, Linda Perry, Beach Boy Al Jardine, and Bruce Springsteen among others.

This is an interesting look at how Wilson’s mind works and how he created some of the most iconic songs that have helped shape the songbook of America. Bits and pieces of some of the songs play in the car as they drive around the streets, and included in the film is a new song, “Right Where I Belong” which was recoded specifically for the film.

Director Brent Wilson (no relation) said, “My partners and I set out to tell Brian’s story in a way that had never been done before.  With so many books, documentaries and films already out; I knew this was an almost impossible goal.  I needed our film to feel personal and intimate, but not be a hagiography.  I needed music to be at the heart, but with so many hits, I also wanted something new for the ear.  Most importantly, Brian Wilson is an icon as famous for beingBrian Wilson as he is being Brian Wilson, and I needed to bridge that gap between myth and reality.”

As viewers will hear from other musicians, Brian Wilson “had an orchestra in his head.” While the Beatles had George Martin to make them who they were, The Beach Boys had Brian Wilson.

Wilson says about his brothers who were part of the original group and who have passed away, Dennis was hyper and a ladies man and Carl was the easy-going brother. With his brothers, cousin, and friend, The Beach Boys climbed the charts and their songs continue to play on radio stations in in our heads!

The film is available on Blu-ray and DVD, as well as digital, and adds a good understanding about the life and career of Brian Wilson for people who think they know everything about him. Yes, he did do drugs, he suffers from mental illness, he had tragedies in his life, and he created some of the best music in the past 50 years. Brian Wilson is a musical genius, as those interviewed in the film profess. And by watching the film viewers will undoubtedly agree.

About the Reviewer

Francine Brokaw writes about products, books, travel, and entertainment. She has been published in national and international newspapers and magazines as well as Internet websites. She has written her own book, Beyond the Red Carpet The World of Entertainment Journalists, from Sourced Media Books, is the entertainment correspondent for Good Day Orange County, and has her own TV show, Beyond the Red Carpet, on Village Television in Orange County. Follow her on Twitter.