Love & Mercy (Movie Review, 2015)

Love & Mercy (PG-13), the story of Brian Wilson, singer/songwriter of The Beach Boys fame, is an amazing movie. Much more amazing than I could have anticipated. My experience with The Beach Boys was limited to Surfin’ U.S.A. and Good Vibrations – neither of which I was particularly fond of. How interesting could a band be that produced that sort of pop songs? As it turns out, quite interesting.

Love and Mercy Photo

Brian Wilson is portrayed as a musical genius and watching the film drives a deeper appreciation for The Beach Boys’ music. Wilson is also a deeply broken individual who struggles desperately to please his demanding and self-consumed father. Wilson spirals downwards into drugs and mental illness and then stuff happens. I don’t want to give it away, but the story is gripping. Will everything turn out okay? Will Wilson regain his sanity? His life? Go see!

I’m not the only one who thought it was a good movie. Rotten Tomatoes has it pegged at an impressive 89% fresh while the IMDb has a rating of 7.9/10. For those who don’t surf these sites on a frequent basis, let me just note that these are very impressive scores.

Paul Dano does an amazing job of portraying a young Brian Wilson while John Cusack does a solid job as a middle-aged Wilson. A favorite actor of mine, Paul Giamatti, does a turn as Wilson’s psychiatrist. But honestly, the other real star of the show is Elizabeth Banks who plays an older Wilson’s love interest.

So what are you waiting for? Go see it already!

ClearPlay DVD Player.

Ledger at the 2006 Berlin Film Festival PhotoImage via Wikipedia

Movies and television shows have allowed us to experience entertainment in ways never before possible. We can travel the world, experience adventure, discover ancient lands – such a multitude of experiences is laid out before our very eyes. Yet at the same time the advent of movies and television has brought much that we would rather not interact with on a personal or family basis. Depending on your individual and family beliefs you may have issues with extreme violence, drug or alcohol abuse, strong language, or explicitly sexual content.

This left many in a bind. Oftentimes the only movies that didn’t contain at least some of these elements where boring or childish. Great for when you have children – not so great when you get together as a family to watch a film or want something with more mature topical material for yourself. Even many great movies contained stunning – if brief – moments where they shot out some unexpected content. Ned Kelly starring Heath Ledger comes to mind with its unexplained and brief nudity. Awakenings starring Robin Williams, a moving film about disease and a courageous medical doctor contains a brief outburst of strong profanity.

An entire industry rose up to combat these issues. Edited DVD’s became very popular but were eventually outlawed by the courts as infringing upon the rights of the artist – manipulating the artist’s original intent. One vendor was found innocent of these accusations and continues to operate successfully to this day – ClearPlay.

How does it work? The ClearPlay DVD player doesn’t require special edited DVD’s, rather it has a small storage space inside the DVD player on which filters reside. These filters contain logic that says “skip time 01:15:33 to 01:15:35.” Thus the DVD player seamlessly skips over objectionable content – or mutes it. These filters aren’t blanket either. One can customize the filters according to one’s personal preferences. Don’t want to see explicit sexuality but drug and alcohol use doesn’t bother you? No problem, you can customize for that. Don’t want to see extremely gory violence but normal wartime or drama violence is acceptable? Can filter for that as well. ClearPlay offers extensive customizability on a per DVD basis.

Well, this DVD player must be exceptionally expensive to offer such advanced and useful technologies, right? No! The device is right around the same price as competitive DVD players that don’t offer the ClearPlay technology (every device should utilize this technology!). Right now ClearPlay has two models available, one priced at around $70 and the other around $80.

This is because ClearPlay doesn’t really care about the cost of the hardware – it makes its money from the filters. A subscription is $8/mo. with discounts available for annual, bi-annual, etc. purchases. These subscriptions allow you to download and install all the latest filters onto your DVD player. ClearPlay is constantly adding additional films to its list of filters. Or, if you don’t watch many movies you can purchase filters individually – when you feel it is necessary for the film you are watching.

I can’t recommend ClearPlay enough. So go out and buy one today – or at the least, next time you need a DVD player, make it a ClearPlay DVD player. It doesn’t cost any more than your average DVD player and even if you don’t subscribe to their filter subscription – at least you will have the technology available should you decide you need it.

I’ve been using my DVD player for around four years now without a problem! That is much more than I can say for some other DVD players I’ve utilized. Two thumbs up for ClearPlay!