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Beastie Boys Story

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

USA

2020

1h 59m

Director Spike Jonze

Starring Adam Horovitz, Michael Diamond, Adam Yauch, Bill Hader

Genre Music, Documentary

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Here’s a little story they’re about to tell… Mike Diamond and Adam Horovitz share the story of their band and 40 years of friendship in a live documentary directed by friend, collaborator, and their former grandfather, Spike Jonze.

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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

63

Slant Magazine by

Often feels like a cross between a TED talk and a memorial service, but one gets the sense that Diamond and Horovitz are finally getting years’ worth of grief off their chests. The cumulative effect is, at the very least, touching.
80

Empire by Alex Godfrey

A filmed stage show with barely any bells and whistles, this is an endearing trip through time, via a band who constantly changed the game. And the music is immense.
83

Consequence of Sound by Clint Worthington

To be sure, the concept of Spike Jonze directing a Beastie Boys documentary conjures up flashier results than this. But taking it for what it is, Beastie Boys Story remains an entertaining, insightful, and unexpectedly fun look back at three of hip-hop’s most iconic voices.
60

CineVue by Daniel Green

The tributes paid to Yauch throughout by both Horovitz and Diamond are genuinely touching, and it’s here that Beastie Boys Story breaks through its inherent – often distracting – staginess. While there is still a definitive, impartial Beastie Boys film in the offing, devout fans should be more than satisfied by this nostalgic oddity.
83

IndieWire by Eric Kohn

Much of the movie operates as a playful nostalgia trip, and at two hours that’s asking a lot, but Beastie Boys Story is also imbued with a moving sense of purpose: The story doubles as a tribute to beloved multi-hyphenate Adam “MCA” Yauch, whose 2012 death from cancer catalyzed the dissolution of the group.
80

Slate by Jack Hamilton

In typical Jonze fashion, the film is loose and anarchic yet deceptively well-controlled, its fourth wall always in varying states of permeability.
91

The Playlist by Jason Bailey

It is, in essence, a two-hour curtain call, a celebration of not only their music but their friendship, and a chance for the duo to have the last word on their legacy.
90

Uproxx by Mike Ryan

This is a film that’s hilarious, sad, and for some reason features an entire montage set to Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5.”
80

Variety by Owen Gleiberman

Beastie Boys Story is less seamless, but more personal, than a classic documentary. Horovitz and Diamond are infectious company, and the film does a meticulous job of presenting the evolution of Adam Yauch, who was always on the edge of technology (it was his idea to tape-loop “When the Levee Breaks”), as well as postmodern pranksterism.
80

The Guardian by Peter Bradshaw

This film is a time capsule of the 1980s: an era that was crass and excessive in so many ways, but now seems weirdly exotic.

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