Jul 072015

Dennis Leary (far right) as Dennis Wilson.

Dennis Leary (far right) as Dennis Wilson.

There was much to take in during a recent screening of the Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy, which Townsman E. Pluribus Gergely and I took in over the weekend. My overall critique appeared yesterday and is still open to discussion, but I plan on spending the rest of this week examining some of the finer points of the film. Today I’d like to discuss the troubling casting of a young Dennis Leary as Dennis Wilson as well as the broader issues I had with other casting decisions in regard to the ’60s-era Beach Boys.

I’ve grown to like Dennis Leary over the years, although I found his entire act entirely contrived when he burst on the scene with his MTV faux-chain-smoking rants. (He never looked like he inhaled, did he? Bogus!) Anyhow, Leary grew on me a bit when he followed up his failed fallen cop show with that fallen fireman show, Rescue Me. For the first time he struck me as actually passionate about something: himself playing this character. The show and Leary’s commitment too it were absurdly sincere. Although I rarely appreciated the show at anywhere but chuckling arm’s length, the peak into Leary’s humble freak aspirations helped me appreciate him and his act. It was an impressive run.

Even more impressive is how Leary transformed himself into a young man for his role in Love & Mercy. The problem, however, is twofold:


  14 Responses to “Dennis Leary as Dennis Wilson in Love & Mercy

  1. The members of the Beach Boys certainly got short shrift in the film. I recognize it was a film about Brian Wilson but they were virtually non-entities, except for maybe Mike and he surely got less screen time than his ego feels warranted.

    Carl & Dennis aren’t around to care but I’d bet the others are plenty ticked off by the absence of screen time.

    Word has it Love is ready to file the lawsuit…

  2. ladymisskirroyale

    We were laughing throughout the movie that Love had a different hat on in every scene. That seemed accurate!

  3. diskojoe

    I honestly didn’t realize that Dennis Leary was in Love & Mercy. The Beach Boys weren’t that important in either of the segments because they were on tour in Japan when the bulk of Pet Sounds was recorded & they were estranged from Brian in the late 80s (they recorded Kokomo, Mr. Mod’s fave rave song, w/o him)

  4. […] knows, perhaps enough people haven’t seen the movie to focus on my follow-up piece regarding Dennis Leary’s involvement. Regardless, as too often is the case, life (including work) got in the way of me drafting all the […]

  5. ladymisskirroyale

    Wouldn’t Dennis Wilson’s story be more interesting for a movie? While his story is temporally shorter, it sure is full of interesting stuff, including “Two Lane Blacktop,” and the Manson Family connection.

    BTW, if you haven’t seen “Two Lane Blacktop,” it’s well worth the time.

  6. Dennis Leary keeps working the rock genre. I’m curious to see this show, knowing full well (I think) the smirking pleasure I’ll get from it:


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