Ignoring typical tropes of most documentaries, Beastie Boys Story refreshingly presents itself as comedy show to a live audience. Michael “Mike D” Diamond and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz, the remaining members of the Beastie Boys, Adam Yauch aka MCA sadly passed of cancer in 2012, speed through almost three decades of the group’s history.

While the documentary could easily have been twice as long given the scope, Spike Jonze effectively directs the rollercoaster ride down Beastie Boys memory lane. From being high school kids, playing hooky and discovering new punk bands, to becoming one of the most important bands in music, Jonze crams as much information as possible into its two-hour runtime.

The film provides many great examples of how important Yauch was to the band’s success. ‘An enigma’ who never took a break from exploring all that life had to offer, both musically and otherwise, he consistently surprised even his bandmates. A perfect example of this is when Yauch bought himself a giant double bass and was instantly able to play it.

Beastie Boys Story

These loving tributes are spread out evenly amongst the film as the two remaining emcees reflect on everything from when they first met to the last show they played. Mike D, clearly fighting back tears at one point, talks glowingly of how much fun they were having in 2009, unaware that the particular performance was going to be their last show.

The emotion displayed speaks to the theme of friendship that runs through the film’s veins. The Beastie Boys were more than a band, they were best friends who spent more time with each other than with their families. The importance of this simple fact supersedes their musical accomplishments.

Far from a simple tribute, Beastie Boys Story is a humorous, interesting and informative film. Spike Jones, who shot multiple videos for the band, holds back his usual creative flourishes to focus solely on the band’s bond. The film even features very funny cameos by Steve Buscemi, Ben Stiller and comedian David Cross, who poke fun at the two mid-credits. Available on Apple TV, Beastie Boys Story is a tale of friendship that is not to be missed.

12 Comments

    1. it is a must watch for any fan, whether casual or hardcore. I’m of the latter, but still learned a ton of stuff that I didn’t know.

      Its pretty damned funny too.

      Apple.tv hasn’t really released anything of note until this. Looking at what is to come, I wouldn’t be surprised if they become a major player in a year’s time – they certainly have the resources!!!!

    1. As i wrote just above, I think the next year may be big for them. There seems to be a definite focus on quality over quantity, which I don’t think anyone could say about Netflix. Given Apple already have huge recognisable name – a huge advantage, if they play their cards right they could become one of the giants of the history. A look at what they are releasing soon gives a slight indication that this at least what they are aiming for.

      I’ll admit, I hate their phones, but I’m rooting for them and would love to see them take on Netflix. They’ll need a lot of luck along the way though, for sure.

      1. Yeah.. I’m not about to go out and spend all the money to get an apple TV or player etc. or ipad or any such thing just to watch TV tho. It’s too exclusive and that will be it’s failing. Netflix is available on every platform – that’s how I want to watch things so is Amazon & Hulu & every other single app. so the fact I have to ‘go’ Apple to watch a TV show is never going to happen so I guess I will just miss out. and so it goes.. there is so much more out there.. 🙂

        1. I agree with you totally, Apple have always been elitist in that regard. Though overall, I am a opposed to streaming in general and I’m actually writing something to (hopefully in its entirety) be posted here soon,

          Sorry for an inevitably lengthy rep[ly, but I’d like to hear your thoughts.
          Example, if your credit card is hacked, or even has a simple problem (mine was ‘corrupted’ once and auto-bill-payments were declined) so subscriptions aren’t renewed, Suddenly, you have nothing, All that money and you never actually –owned– anything, its almost like an illusion of owning a massive library of, lets be honest, mostly b-grade stuff when it comes to movies. But you quit the membership in any way and its all gone.

          Physical media, which is obviously dying out unfortunately – imagine how many hands a BR disc goes through after the actual filmmakers?! Distributors, production companies, the actual shop you bought it from and whatever shipping costs involved. That’s just a few obvious ones off the top of my head…. I of course could be wrong, but I can’t see any way where the actual artists see any money in that scenario either, at least not directly.

          A bandcamp type system should be in place so artists can be properly supported – DIRECTLY. Subscribing to streaming services/buying physical media might make some folk feel like they are supporting artists (maybe not a ton but some of my friends do), but really they’re just supporting a giant corporation in the case of Netflix or Amazon.

          If a director could offer films for sale in a bandcamp style but movies instead of music – ie, the higher quality, the more it costs – you could stream the movies (WITHOUT having to log into anything) or you can download the file directly and own it to put it on a USB to play at a school say, or to watch it on your tablet on the train.
          You -own- that file, yknow?

          I’d honestly like to know why if this isn’t feasible and why. Though I think I know the unfortunate answer: this would never benefit bigwigs/producers and it would mean anyone could get their movie out there as soon as they are able, rather than having to secure distribution and all the headaches that come with that.

          Sorry, I know that’s a long ramble, but I’ve been looking into this for a while now and it seems obvious (to me at least!) that such a system would benefit the filmmakers far more than any existing platform, plus it’d allow consumers to directly support exactly who they want rather than paying for five-plus streaming services for a small portion of what these services offer.

          Sorry again, I know that’s a lot of food for thought. But I’m interested to hear others’ opinions.

          1. The main problem I see here is who would finance the films? A first time director does not have the money to make a big or even medium budget movie – hence the studio system. What you’re asking is that they would have to have the money to make their own movies and then make it back from the public which I get and understand the idea completely…but it’s just not a feasible notion unless only rich people get to make movies.

            1. Good points, unfortunately for what I see as the best way to directly reward filmmakers would be to redefine all the middlemen in between artist and consumer, I don’t think it would be impossible but it wouldn’t be easy. But no major change is eh?

              Though I fundamentally disagree with the notion that ‘medium budgets’ for example are needed for quality film. This is obviously a matter of taste, but I find that lower budget films are, for the most part, the ones I enjoy the most. I think the lack of access to big name actors and CGI/other tech that makes life easier forces writers to up their game and be more creative.

              I guess the way I see money and film is different to most, partly because almost every Australian film is made on comparatively shoestring budgets and almost always have the backing from the government and Screen Australia. If that were the case worldwide, rather than the uber-rich calling all the shots, I reckon the cinematic landscape as a whole would be very different

              I think too that a lot more interesting innovation could come from the consumer being involved in filmmaking financially. You have the kickstarter campaigns of course, but not much else.

              I admit this reply is very scatter-shot, but that’s precisely because I think there are a number of areas that could be open to change. But the current system benefits the aforementioned middlemen far too much. Bridging that gap would be the best place to start, but of course middlemen want to keep making money. I guess my babbling is more along the lines of a ‘thought experiment’ more than anything else cuz above is just how capitalism works. And for the last three or four decades, art in general has lost a ton of monetary value, an unfortunate truth.

              Ha, you’ve certainly gotten my brain stirring though with your reply Peggy! 🙂
              I’m probably following you on twitter, if you’re interested I’d love to discuss this type of stuff more. Cos you’re 100% right in what you said, which caused me to reassess what I’d originally said – and that’s precisely the sort of discussion I love 🙂

              Apologies again for the essay of a reply

    1. You know, I have never listened to that album. Blasphemy indeed.

      But after seeing this and hearing a clip of Yauch talk about how he thought that album was so much better than ‘çommunication’, yet flopped commercially, has me aching to hear it. Now that you have reminded me, I think I’ll do it right now! 🙂

      thanks! I’ll have to let you know what I think, I’ve got myself all excited now – an entire Beasties album that I have never heard before!

      Time to push play…

      1. That’s OK. I don’t consider it blasphemy as there’s a lot of great records I haven’t heard of. There’s some jazz records I had never listened to but I want to.

        1. Heh yeah, even moreso that movies, there is just a seemingly infinite number of amazing albums to listen to – especially if you are like me, and it seems you are, in that you like multiple genres.

          Funny you mention jazz, I finally got around to some Miles Davis classics, i just googled the best of his stuff and listened to Some Kind of Blue. And again…. and again… Jeebus it is such a beautiful listen.

          The Dave Brubeck Trio are my personal favourite but I think Miles will replace them after I listen to more. I’m enjoying Bitches Brew currently 😉

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