Saturday, April 20, 2024

Beach Boys Movie “Love and Mercy” Sputters to An Ignominious End


So much for “Love and Mercy,” Bill Pohlad’s fine film about the life and times of Brian Wilson. After four sleepy weeks, the John Cusack-Paul Dano starrer concludes most of its run with just under $11 million in the bank. What could have been a real hit, with awards potential, now sinks into the horizon just beyond the Sloop John B.

Roadside Attractions, which I like to call “Roadkill,” blew this film just the way they did Robert Redford in “All Is Lost” directed by JC Chandor. They will argue that “Love and Mercy” is their biggest hit so far, but that’s a left-handed compliment. All of their movies would have benefited from actual publicity and marketing.

“Love and Mercy” never really capitalized on Brian Wilson and his music. Where was Brian Wilson Week on Jimmy Fallon, for example? Or the Today show? Where was the big live launch in NY with a concert, even three or four songs?

Strangely enough back in April the movie hosted a private advanced screening with the stars– and no press. Does a tree make a noise when it falls in the forest if no one is around? That whole episode cinched the deal, and was typical of Roadside’s deafness when it comes to press.

None of it made sense. The Beach Boys are still a huge touring presence on the road. Their music is incredibly popular. So much more could have been done for “Love and Mercy.” But that ship has sailed.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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