Love & Mercy" yesterday afternoon, about Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. There are two actors playing the role: Paul Dano as Brian in the 1960s, and John Cusack in the 1980s. I am generally a big fan of John Cusack, but I didn't quite see him as Brian Wilson here -- he doesn't look much like the man (although he does a good job with his speech patterns & mannerisms) and it was hard to forget that I was watching John Cusack. Paul Dano, though, was excellent, and it was quite amazing to watch him as Brian -- especially to see him at work in the studio, creating "Pet Sounds," which is regarded as one of the greatest albums of all time today (even if, as the movie reminds us, it was less than a hit at the time of its release).
I left the theatre with Beach Boys songs playing on a continuous loop in my head. (There are worse things...!) I grew up on the Canadian Prairies, about as far from the ocean as you can get, and while I don't remember being really aware of the Beach Boys until I was almost a teenager, I spent my childhood Saturday afternoons at the theatre, watching Beach Party and Gidget movies -- so the California/surfing sound was part of my personal life soundtrack. My first clear memory of their music was hearing "Surfin' Safari" and "All Summer Long" on the soundtrack of the 1973 movie "American Graffiti" -- which was set in the summer of 1962 and ignited a revival of interest in early rock & roll music. I always loved this exchange in the movie:
[John turns off the radio]
Carol (played by a very young Mackenzie Phillips): Why did you do that?
John Milner (Paul LeMat): I don't like that surfin' shit. Rock and roll's been going down hill ever since Buddy Holly died.
Carol: Don't you think the Beach Boys are boss?
John: You would, you grungy little twirp.
Carol: Grungy? You big weenie! If I had a boyfriend, he'd pound you.
John: Yeah, sure.
I spent the summer of 1981 living in a basement apartment with my sister, back in the town where our family had lived, 1974-80. Our parents had moved, but we were able to find summer jobs and this apartment in familiar surroundings. I wound up spending a lot of time that summer with a girl I'd known only slightly in high school. Her dad had a gorgeous new, shiny yellow Camaro, which he let her drive, and we would cruise up and down the main street of our town, drawing appreciative glances from the guys (for the car, if not for what was inside, lol). I have since lost touch with her, but I still think of her every time I hear "Fun, Fun, Fun" ("Well, she's got her daddy's car and she cruises to the hamburger stand now... and she'll have fun, fun, fun till her daddy takes the T-bird away...").
The next summer (1982), I actually saw the Beach Boys in concert. The warm-up act was a rising star just on the verge of hitting the big time, a young homegrown talent named Bryan Adams. (Dh actually saw him several months earlier, before we started going out together, playing at a bar near the university we attended.) I met dh in the fall of 1981 and we started going out in January 1982, but he had gone home for the summer. He had applied to business school and hoped to return in the fall -- alas, he didn't get in, and our summer apart turned into a three-year long distance romance before we both finished school and finally got married in the summer of 1985. (And this was long before the Internet -- or cheap long distance, for that matter.)
Perhaps it was because the Beach Boys were coming to town, but I heard a lot of "Wouldn't it Be Nice?" on the radio that summer, and it always made me think of dh -- and still reminds me of that time in our lives, whenever I hear it now:
Wouldn't it be nice if we were older
Then we wouldn't have to wait so long
And wouldn't it be nice to live together
In the kind of world where we belong
You know its gonna make it that much better
When we can say goodnight and stay together
Wouldn't it be nice if we could wake up
In the morning when the day is new
And after having spent the day together
Hold each other close the whole night through
Happy times together we've been spending
I wish that every kiss was neverending
Wouldn't it be nice
Maybe if we think and wish and hope and pray it might come true
Baby then there wouldn't be a single thing we couldn't do
We could be married
And then we'd be happy
Wouldn't it be nice
You know it seems the more we talk about it
It only makes it worse to live without it
But lets talk about it
Wouldn't it be nice
Good night my baby
Sleep tight my baby
Do you have a favourite Beach Boys song?
You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts here.