Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What do you get when you mix the Beach Boys and Satan?

"The Beach Boys and the Satan" (Region 1 DVD). Also available through, but only in Region 1 format: This oddball German documentary is as disjointed as its name implies. Roughly the first 45 minutes is a fairly straight Beach Boys documentary with a fairly comprehensive retelling of the Beach Boys story from the German Pop Annual TV series. It's augmented by lots of old film clips, some rare, some coming from "The Beach Boys: An American Band" and "I Guess I Just Wasn't Made For These Times" documentaries. Paul McCartney does appear in the disc in clips from "American Band" (the party scene with him and Linda), plus Brian Wilson discusses how "Rubber Soul" influenced "Pet Sounds." Offering thoughts on the Beach Boys career are Don Was, Kim Fowley, Greg Shaw (of the great Bomp! magazine) and Brian Wilson himself. When the documentary starts discussing Charles Manson, though, the film turns away from the Beach Boys almost entirely. Adding to the strangeness is the use all the way through of German subtitles you can't turn off. The disc also has no scene breaks or extra features. Given the fact, though, that most of the Beach Boys documentaries were done by the band themselves with their spin, it's nice to see the band get a fresh look. And the disc includes enough vintage Beach Boys clips to please any fan. Still, though, this is one strange trip.

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