Yesterday the Grantland channel posted a spirited discussion between Grantland’s Bill Simmons, Wesley Morris and Chris Connelly about which summer movies will be the box-office champs on their respective weekends. But the video must have been shot at least a week earlier because they debate whether Pitch Perfect 2 or Mad Max: Fury Road (i.e., last weekend’s face-off) will come out on top. The talk is pleasant enough until the very end when Connelly sticks his fat foot in his mouth by joking about whether audiences will have any interest in “John Cusack as Brian Wilson” — i.e., a reference to Bill Pohlad‘s Love & Mercy (Roadside, 6.5), which is one of the best rock-music biopics ever made (82% Rotten Tomatoes so far, 83% Metacritic) and the source of one of Hollywood Elsewhere’s biggest praise spewings in recent months.
Connelly then asks Morris for a reaction to “Cusack as Wilson” and Morris offers one of those blank expressions that aren’t really blank as much as “uhhm, are you serious…you’re asking me this?…nope.”
I wrote the following to Morris just now: “I was watching your recently-posted box-office predictions video with Simmons and Connelly (dated 5.21) and then near the very end Connelly takes a BIG THOUGHTLESS DUMP on one of the most engaging and sensitive movies of the year, Love & Mercy, which he refers to as “John Cusack as Brian Wilson.” And then you chime in with your dismissive bullshit two-cent expression. Nice going, guys. Cusack and Paul Dano both play Wilson, as you know, and the movie, directed by Bill Pohlad, is really moving and quite exceptional in the annals of rock-star biopics. BBC.com’s Owen Gleiberman called it “miraculous” in his Toronto Film Festival review. Your bizarrely dismissive TIFF review notwithstanding, Dano and Cusack nail their respective Wilsons (young and mid 40ish) with wide-open emotionality and extraordinary finesse.
“I honestly see serious awards-level attention down the line, particularly for Dano, and you guys can’t do anything but talk shit about it. Major dick move if you don’t mind me saying so, except I don’t actually care if you mind or not. You’re a first-rate critic, Wesley, but you’ve probably never been wronger in your life.”
A note from New York-based entertainment gadfly and stand-up comic Bill McCuddy about Love & Mercy: “Mindblowingly good. I just spent two hours inside Brian Wilson‘s brain and I understand the insanity of genius. Feeling now just slightly inadequate.”