Rock Doc Focuses More on Good Vibrations

Rock Doc Focuses More on Good Vibrations


The big picture

  • Candid interviews with Brian Wilson and Al Jardine provide vulnerability and honesty from The Beach Boys.
  • The documentary is a love letter to the genius of Brian Wilson and celebrates the band's iconic sound.
  • The film is entertaining with a great soundtrack, but lacks the depth to cover the last years of the band.

As an unabashed fan of the iconic band, it's safe to say I had high expectations The Beach Boys documentary Rock docs have become more and more common in the streaming era, and while a good portion of the films feel overly sugary and superfluous, you can at least expect to hear great songs. It was only a matter of time before the Southern California band got their own official documentary, especially given its increasingly fascinating history.

While the incredibly underrated biopic Love and Mercy gave us an inside look into the mind of Brian Wilsonboth in the 1960s and 1980s, this documentary follows a much more traditional format. Frank Marshall & Thom ZimnyThe new doc chronicles the rise of the iconic music group, the creation of the masterpiece known as Pet sounds, and what led to their devastating split. Anyone who knows anything about The Beach Boys probably raised their eyebrows when they heard that the always polarizing Mike Love would be heavily involved in the film, though It's hard not to be excited about something new coming from one of the best American bands to ever hit the stage.

The Beach Boys (2024)

The Beach Boys is a celebration of the legendary band that revolutionized pop music and the iconic, harmonious sound they created that epitomized the California dream, captivating fans for generations and generations to come.

Publication date
May 24, 2024

Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, David Marks, Bruce Johnston, Janelle Monae, Ryan Tedder, Don Was

'The Beach Boys' doc is fun, despite playing it a little too safe

The Beach Boys have an extensive history, one that can be stretched far beyond the nearly two-hour length of this film. For most of the film, this document is very entertaining and sincere, especially in the moments where he allows the band members to become vulnerable in their interviews. It's hard not to shed a tear when you see it In the garden talk about his friendship with the Wilson brothers or during the short but exceptional interview with Brian Wilson in the present day. Other moments where the musicians talk about how their initial jealousy The Beatles led to some of his best work also feels much more humble.

It's true that documentaries like it The Beach Boys they can often feel very sanitized, wanting to portray their subjects as saints who have never held an iota of cynicism towards anyone or anything. Many of Love's interviews carry this sentiment, including a moment where Love practically claims he saved the band. Other moments feel more raw and honest, including a moment where Love talks about some of his regrets about how things turned out between him and Brian Wilson.

Throughout the documentary, you can't help but wonder if Dennis Wilsoninteractions with Charles Manson will be considered, especially since it's a Disney+ original. Manson and Dennis' uneasy relationship is discussed, but not until the last half hour of the documentary, where Brian and Love's legal battles, Dennis and Carl WilsonThe deaths of the band and the band's string of failures are also touched upon, but glossed over. This is not to say that the documentary sidesteps all stories that may be perceived as too dark, such as the abuse the brothers suffered at the hands of their father and manager, Murry Wilson, he is given some time in the spotlight, as well as discussing Murry's abusive upbringing.

The main fault of The Beach Boys is that as extensive as the film is about the first decade and a half of the musicians' career, the ending feels rushed and unsatisfyingaside from a candid moment towards the end that you'll just have to see for yourself.

'The Beach Boys' Doc is a love letter to the genius of Brian Wilson

Image via Disney+

Although it's incredibly easy to pick apart many of Love's interviews The Beach Boysthe documentary, at its core, is a love letter to the genius of brian wilson and the unconventional way of creating his art. However, the film also doesn't delve too deeply into the making of albums, such as the unfinished album. Take a smilethe development of which could have been an entire documentary.

Make no mistake, this documentary explores the complicated relationship between Love and Brian, but the filmmakers feel much more inclined to have the film serve as a celebration rather than a revelation. This is not a bad thing. The Beach Boys discography is like a soundtrack for the summer season. After all, is it Memorial Day without the smell of barbecue and “Don't Worry Baby” blaring in the background? This documentary is like that, for fans like me, you won't learn much new about the band, but it's hard to resist the energy of the film.

The Beach Boys did a close-up with them dressed in white and blue T-shirts.
Image via Redferns

Outside of interviews with the surviving band members, the documentary also features conversations with artists such as Janelle Monáe and OneRepublic Ryan Tedder. While both interviews do a good job of explaining how The Beach Boys' work influenced their music, the information itself adds nothing to the documentary as a whole. Monáe's presence is too brief to add any impact and Tedder's stories just don't have that much of a connection to the themes of the documentary. Not more Lindsey Buckingham i Don wasThe interviews add a genuine insight into the film about the band's worldwide reach and how they broke into the music industry.

There was a lot of potential for the first fully authorized documentary on The Beach Boys, and while there were some elements here that left me disappointed as a lifelong fan, I still found myself constantly entertained. Dealing with Love's hyperbole will inevitably be present regardless, especially since you can't fully tell the band's story without it. The real missed opportunity was for this new documentary to say something new, at least for the mega-fans. For those who simply enjoy the work of The Beach Boys, this will be much more fun and entertaining. For viewers like me, it's a good two hours where you can just sit back and enjoy the music.

Poster for the documentary The Beach Boys featuring the band in a car heading for the beach and their faces around the sun

The Beach Boys (2024)


While fans won't learn anything they didn't already know, 'The Beach Boys' documentary is a thoroughly entertaining love letter to the SoCal band.


  • There are several candid interviews with Brian Wilson and Al Jardine.
  • The soundtrack is, as you'd expect, a collection of some of the band's best.
  • The Beach Boys themselves can be vulnerable and honest in their interviews.

  • A little too much Mike Love.
  • The documentary barely touches on the final years of The Beach Boys.

The Beach Boys is now available to stream on Disney+.

Watch on Disney+


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