|Lowest Recommended Age:||Middle School|
|MPAA Rating:||Rated PG for language, thematic elements and smoking images|
|Movie Release Date:||March 27. 2015|
Maybe you like Frank Sinatra and your friend likes the Mamas and Papas. Maybe you’ve argued about who is better, the Beach Boys or Simon and Garfunkel, or maybe you prefer Elvis. Each of those monumentally talented performers had a highly distinctive sound but each of them was backed by the same group of astonishingly talented and remarkably variable studio musicians known as “The Wrecking Crew.” Like other behind the music documentaries 20 Feet from Stardom, Only the Strong Survive – A Celebration of Soul, Standing in the Shadows of Motown, and Muscle Shoals, this is a riveting look at the people just outside spotlight. They may be every bit as good as the performers they stand behind, but for some reason — less charismatic, less determined, less in need of attention, less lucky, they do not get to be stars.
The Wrecking Crew backed up Bing Crosby, Glen Campbell (who was a Wrecking Crew member before he moved to the front of the stage), Herb Alpert, Cher, Nancy Sinatra, and the Monkees. The list of iconic albums that they didn’t play on is shorter than the one they did. Just as unforgettable as the timbre of the voices of superstars are the deedle-deedles or doot-doots (and the dum-dum-dum dum of the “Mission Impossible” theme song) and other musical cues and curlicues that make a song a hit. This movie has the pure joy of creating unforgettable music, and a satisfying chance to appreciate literally unsung heroes, but it also has loss and betrayal and secrets.
This is a love letter from filmmaker Danny Tedesco to his late father, one of the Wrecking Crew musicians, and those like him, who gave their best and were loved all over the world by fans who had no idea who they were. When Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys” tells us that Carol Kaye is the best bass player ever, it is impressive. When she shows us how she played the licks at the heart of “Good Vibrations,” it is soul-stirring. This is also a story that speaks powerfully to all of us who feel that our contributions are not as valued as they should be. And of course, it has some of the greatest music ever made, now to be listened to more thoughtfully and appreciated more than ever.
Parents should know that this movie has some sad stories, some strong language, and smoking.
Family discussion: Would you rather be a star or a studio player and why?