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:


  13 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. 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.

  5. The appeal of Two Lane Blacktop is as mysterious to me as the appeal of Dennis Wilson’s Pacific Ocean Blue, or whatever that solo album is called. I would love, however, to see a film that focuses solely on the period Dennis spent funding the Manson Family to the tune of $100,000 for the privilege of banging the Manson women. That reminds me: EPG needs to return the Manson book I lent him. What an excellent read that was!

  6. misterioso

    At last, Beach Boys-related topics wherein we have a meeting of the minds: the mediocrity of Two-Lane Blacktop and my incapacity to locate the genius in Pacific Ocean Blue.

  7. Thank god! I was worried about where our relationship was heading. Can’t we all just agree to not get something?

  8. misterioso

    Oh, we’re truly entering into a new Era of Good Feelings.

  9. ladymisskirroyale

    Oh, great. I liked both “Two Lane” and “Pacific Ocean Blue.” I guess I’m voted off the island.

  10. There was a movie about Dennis in pre-production a few years back but it never made it any further.

  11. I think it turned into that movie with Jeff Bridges as the alcoholic, burnt-out country musician.

  12. 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:


  13. ladymisskirroyale

    Me, too, especially since John Corbett is in it.

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