Avoiding the conventions of music documentary, I Just Wash for Made for These Times magnificently captures the essence of Beach Boy Brian Wilson's musical genius and eccentricity. As opposed to a typical biography, the film offers instead a selective view of the man through interviews with family and colleagues in conjunction with an infectious collection of music excerpts.
A founding member of the Beach Boys and its creative engine through the band's seemingly endless summers of superstar popularity, Wilson introduced song forms and impressionistic sound textures that in the 60s were years ahead of many of his contemporaries. The album Surfing seemed to come from out of nowhere stylistically, and even the Beatles recognised and acknowledged the Beach Boys unique artistry.
This is no simplistic exercise in rockumentary idolatry. Director Don Was (noted musician and record producer in his own right) though obviously full of admiration for his subject, has debuted with an intimate portrait of a complex man. Most illuminating are the film's moments with Wilson himself—strangely naive and childlike—speaking candidly about the flipside of his prodigious talent: drinking, drug abuse and self destructive emotional illness. Featuring new performances and interpretations of Wilson's work, this is a fascinating and refreshing excursion into the mind and music of an important contemporary artist.