it should get annoying by the halfway mark, and it sort of does... but there's no other concert film like it
The Beastie Boys are hard to classify. You could call them white Jewish rappers out of NYC (one from Brooklyn, Adam aka Nathanial Hornblower, also the director of the movie). But they also were punk rockers, and this never really left them completely. They just love a good beat, and they'll do whatever to get it. Of course they have their Mix Master Mike at the turntable (probably some of the best turntable stylizations I've ever heard), but there's a moment during the concert when I knew more than ever that the Beasties are a unique lot. They go back behind the stage after a number and come back out on some contraption that wheels them and a couple other back up band members, all donned in clothes from a 2nd rate mariachi group, and proceed to play music- without really rapping through both songs- like a cross between Phish and Peter Frampton! It's a very weird moment, but it's still groovy to see and experience. Just like the movie itself.
Done in a completely freewheeling style, Yauch decided to let a whole s***load of fans bring in cameras, contrary to the usual tact of not allowing any cameras (albeit cell phones are now the name of the game for that), and let fifty amateurs film at will during the concert. What ends up being the concert has more edits than Requiem for a Dream squared. It truly goes get crazy, over and over again, as the Beastie Boys go through a terrific show at Madison Square Garden. And it's presented like some crazy art movie from the 60s, without any regard for any of the conventions (well, maybe one or two, but I'll digress). There's rotoscoping, there's disjointed close-ups, there's free-framing during songs, there's real rhythm put in to have the viewer get into the editing along with the songs. Now, to be sure, sometimes this does get tiresome, especially during a song or two (I forget the names) that aren't that good anyway.
But for the most part the Beasties deliver, and the style goes hyper-kinetic to make a point in visual terms that follows along from a tradition started in the movie Woodstock: it's about the audience just as much as the group on stage, so it becomes totally communal. The audience knows all the words to Paul Revere's Horse, and there's even a juxtaposition of a girl dancing and one of the Beasties busting a move on stage. And in terms of a concert movie the group delivers their best work: Body Movin, Brass Monkey, Mic Check, and two of my favorites (in encore, naturally) with Intergalactic and Sabotage (the latter with moshpit in tow, a surprise as the finishing number). The energy is high, the technique is bravely 'anything goes', and as should be with the Beastie Boys it's a lot of fun.
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