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TV to watch: Beach Boys documentary is fun, fun, fun

Neal Justin, Star Tribune on

Published in Entertainment News

The legendary band has had its fair share of challenges: Brian Wilson's mental health struggles. An ill-fated friendship with Charlie Manson. "Kokomo." This two-hour documentary hits them all. But directors Frank Marshall and Thom Zimny are more focused on the good times, when the group's sun-and-surf tunes dominated the airwaves. There are fresh interviews with the surviving members, but they're not nearly as fascinating as the commentary from celebrity fans like Lindsey Buckingham and Janelle Monáe, chiming in with the kind of praise usually reserved for the Beatles and Bob Dylan. Disney+

'Gaga Chromatica Ball'

Lady Gaga isn't as inventive as Taylor Swift or as athletic as Pink, but her concerts do show off her superior flair for melodrama. This greatest hits performance probably played better to the 52,000 people who were at Dodger Stadium for the 2022 taping. On the small screen, the theatrics are comically broad. But there's no denying that the Oscar winning star is a powerhouse performer, especially when she takes a break from mimicking Madonna's dance moves and gets behind an ornate piano that looks like it was designed by J.R.R. Tolkien. Max

'The Great War'

University of St. Thomas' Yohuru Williams is among the academics reflecting on World War I in this educational, engaging four-hour documentary that focuses on the United States' entry into the battle. There's a valiant attempt to tell chunks of the story through the eyes of Black soldiers, but the film is most engaging whenever it centers on Gen. John Pershing, who led the relatively green American forces. 8 p.m. ET Monday and Tuesday, History Channel

 

'MoviePass, MovieCrash'

MoviePass, a subscription-based ticketing service created a little over a decade ago, was poised to reinvigorate the movie theater business. But this documentary shows how a clumsy management and corporate can spoil the best of ideas. Director Muta'Ali Muhammad makes a strong case that the project might have soared if founders Stacy Spikes and Hamet Watt weren't Black. 9 p.m. Wednesday, HBO

'Buffalo Bill'

Tributes to Dabney Coleman, who died May 16, inevitably mentioned his roles as a creep in "Tootsie" and "9 to 5." But his most impressive performance was in a TV flop. "Buffalo" only lasted 26 episodes, but Coleman's turn as a self-centered talk-show host laid the groundwork for future sitcoms like "The Larry Sanders Show" and "Seinfeld" in which lead characters weren't forced to be likable. Not officially available for streaming, but easy to find bootleg episodes on YouTube


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