A good watch: ‘The Beach Boys’ is a compelling documentary, despite the absence of a lot of info

I’ve said it before, and I will probably keep saying it until I am no more: I am not a fan of The Beach Boys.

They are responsible for some good, and even great, songs for sure. But most of their early stuff grinds my gears. Parts of Pet Sounds are OK. Smile would’ve been pretty good had Brian Wilson not melted down. We all love “Good Vibrations.”

While the music grates on me, I do find their story, especially Wilson’s struggles, intriguing, and this documentary presents the story well. Surprisingly, the film stops early in their career: It gets to a stage when they were touring without Brian, and then just sort of skips over the rest of their history. It leaves out a whole lot of interesting stuff, including the deaths of band members, and the war between Mike Love and Wilson, which is only briefly mentioned.

The interviews are mostly archival, although there are some recent ones. Wilson, who is now reportedly suffering from dementia, sits down for a couple of words with the filmmakers. He even shows up in a very surprising shot near the film’s end that warmed my heart, even though I can’t freaking stand “Surfin’ Safari.”

For fans, this film is a good watch. For folks who have issues with their music, it’s still a good watch.

The Beach Boys is now streaming on Disney+.

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