Beastie Boys Story (Apple TV+) - Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Saturday, November 28th, 2020  

Beastie Boys Story

Apple TV+

Apr 24, 2020 Web Exclusive
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Beastie Boys Story is a documentary in which the two living members of the group, Adam “Ad Rock” Horowitz and Michael “Mike D” Diamond narrate the history of the beloved trio on stage at the Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, over the course of three nights, to a live audience while being filmed. 

Directed by long-time Beastie Boys collaborator Spike Jonze, this unconventional way of delivering a music documentary—the “live documentary, as it were—is one Horowitz and Diamond did in 2019 as a series of live appearances called Beastie Boys Show, also directed by Jonze. Those took place at events in New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and London. Beastie Boys Show itself was the stage show iteration of the multiple voices Beastie Boys 2018 memoir, the 500+ page treasure trove, Beastie Boys Book.

No matter what the format, there is no dispute that the story of Beastie Boys is fascinating and unique. Watching Horowitz and Diamond do a PowerPoint presentation/TED Talk narration of it is not. Any interview with the two, especially in the last decade or so, is highly entertaining, with perfect comedic timing that is unplanned and entirely natural. None of that is part of what’s happening on stage in Beastie Boys Story, where the two are unnatural and overly rehearsed and not sounding at all like themselves. 

Still, there is a wealth of footage, 40 years’ worth. These go as far back as their young teenage years and the early iterations of Beastie Boys, which also included a girl. There are a ton of video clips that show the evolution of their personas and the band over time. Seeing them on American Bandstand and on The Late Show with Joan Rivers is particularly mind-blowing and incongruous. There are physical props that are pulled onto and off stage, with the camera angles giving you the behind-the-scenes experience of putting on a wholly live show that is being recorded. At all moments, Horowitz and Diamond keep the spirit of their deceased third member, Adam “MCA” Yauch alive. This is done both through imagery, but also through their own telling of the stories, which highlight Yauch and makes sure to give him the credit for everything he did, which was a lot.

The story of Beastie Boys is so remarkable and so rare, that no matter how it’s awkwardly it’s delivered, it is worth the watch. There are glimpses of Horowitz’s and Diamond’s actual personalities when they go off the stilted script. Stay tuned through the credits for some special appearances. (tv.apple.com/us/movie/beastie-boys-story/umc.cmc.6d0mrskjsusw2jd2d228p88c2)

Author rating: 5/10

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Average reader rating: 10/10



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