Movie review: 'Beastie Boys Story' one of the most delightful things you can watch right now

Brad Keefe
"Beastie Boys Story'

Like many a cable-cutter, I’ve felt the slow drip of adding new streaming services until your monthly bills basically resemble the bill you were trying to replace in the first place. And from a content perspective, Apple TV+ didn’t have enough for me to bite.

Alright, Apple, you got me. Sign me up for that seven-day trial for “Beastie Boys Story.”

And what do you know, here’s one of the most delightful views of the quarantine, something that actually makes you feel good. Did “Tiger King” really make you feel good?

Directed by longtime Beasties collaborator Spike Jonez, who famously directed the band’s “Sabotage” video, the documentary feels like spending two hours swapping stories with old friends. It blurs the lines between documentary and concert film, capturing the live stage retrospective that Jonez also directed.

Surviving Beastie Boys members Adam Horovitz (Ad-Rock) and Mike Diamond (Mike D) chronicle the band they formed with the late Adam Yauch (MCA). And this is, like, the best “Behind the Music” episode ever.

Riffing off the energy of a live audience, Horovitz and Diamond recount their days as young goofy punk kids in New York City who would go on to be one of the more unexpected success stories of the ’80s and ’90s.

Even as a fan, “Beastie Boys Story” is a revelation. From the baseline of their hardcore roots, their discovery of early hip-hop and the evolution of a sound that’s still so uniquely their own, it’s a musical document.

But it’s also a story of friendship and, of course, loss, with Yauch succumbing to cancer in 2012, bringing an end to the band forever.

Jonez brings a loose DIY feel to the live act with some rough-around-the-edges touches that keep things light. Horovitz and Diamond are also loose and funny, self-deprecating and self-aware.

They also tell a tale of growing older and growing wiser. In one of the most profound moments, Diamond recounts an interview question Horovitz received questioning the band’s pro-feminist stance (Horovitz is married to punk icon Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill, btw) with some of the sexist lyrics of their youth.

Diamond paraphrases Horovitz’s reply as, “I'd rather be a hypocrite than the same person forever.”

I was lucky enough to see the Beasties live, but if you’ve got any connection to their music whatsoever, do yourself a favor, get that Apple TV+ trial (and quickly cancel it if that’s all you're here for).

“Beastie Boys Story” is just one of the most delightful things you can watch right now, and who doesn’t need that?

Now streaming on Apple TV+

5 quarantine stars out of 5

“Beastie Boys Story”