Movie: Beastie Boys Story
Beastie Boys Story dir. Spike Jonze
The first victim of the COVID pandemic seems to be the cinema, but finally, here’s something to get excited about: Spike Jonze’s Beastie Boys Story drops Friday on Apple TV+. Based off the 600+ page book of the same name released last year, this flick is being described as a “live documentary” which means it’s essentially clips of Adam Horovitz and Mike Diamond on stage shepherding live audiences through what’s essentially a Powerpoint presentation of their lives in one of the most watchable and respected bands of the past 35 years.
While some critics are deriding the “TED Talk” presentation (who wouldn’t want to watch a Ted Talk by the Beastie Boys though?) the causal, conversational format provides a unique sense of intimacy, like going through old photo albums with the people who were there, except the photos are also the soundtrack of your life. There’s insight into the early days (yes that bro-rock vibe was supposed to be parody, even if it eventually took over) and behind-the-music history on how the band was able to continuously re-invent themselves and their music. Much of the credit, it seems, lies with Adam Yauch, aka MCA, whose death from cancer in 2012 brought an untimely end to the group, and to whom much of the film’s emotional core is dedicated. While Jonze doesn’t totally capture that Beastie trickster spontaneity (Horovitz credits “f*king around” as their lifelong creative process), Beastie Boys Story is still a poignant bit of nostalgia, boosted by the lifelong familiarity and friendship of its subjects. Plus, it’s filmed in a packed theatre, for extra quarantine nostalgia. Oh, the warmth of a shared human experience…