The Beastie Boys are Back in Apple Vision

The Beastie Boys are Back in Apple Vision

The Beastie Boys are Back in Apple Vision

With the help of Spike Jonze, the garage-rap renegades reunite in a new doc.

With the help of Spike Jonze, the garage-rap renegades reunite in a new doc.

Text: Molly Lambert

The boys are back in a new documentary for Apple TV+. In Beastie Boys Story, streaming April 24 and directed by friend of the band Spike Jonze, the two living members—Adam “Ad Rock” Horovitz and Michael “Mike D” Diamond—are reunited with the late Adam “MCA” Yauch through archival clips and stagecraft by Jonze. Adapted from a live show and book of the same name, Story is a cinematic synthesis of the two, tracing the boys’ rise from garage-rap renegades to respected industry titans.

Still from Beastie Boys Story, directed by Spike Jonze for Apple TV+ (Courtesy: Rizzoli USA)

Before they were stars, Adam H., Michael, and Adam Y. were three teens, rollicking around the New York punk scene of the 1980s. As upstart performers, they were a novelty act—Run DMC meets the Marx Brothers. With their debut LP License To Ill, the unlikely MCs hit pay dirt; “Fight For Your Right (to Party),” though frat-guy satire, was also a banger. There’s no Icarus-like narrative here, but rather one that evokes three schoolmates getting bar mitzvahed. Still, the backstory reveals that the bigger they got, the more the joke got away. After struggling to deliver a follow-up record on time, Def Jam cut the group loose. The heady Paul’s Boutique, released on Capitol Records, bombed. Still, the making of it provides primo doc fodder. We see the boys re-engineer their sound—channeling their New York breeding through punk, rap, and dub reggae. We see them base business decisions on inside jokes, from hiring a manager because he also worked with Lionel Richie, to blowing the advance from Boutique on a Hollywood Hills mansion, complete with a pool and 1970s-style grotto. They’re adult men by this point, but to watch them live, work and dick around together is a teenage dream.

Throughout, Yauch, a sensitive punk who became unnerved by the excesses of their public personas, provides the film’s emotional and artistic core. He also did the most to ensure that, as the boys grew up, they didn’t grow apart. And while his untimely death cut that bond short, watching him offers a catharsis. Have you ever seen a Beastie Boy cry? Watch Story and try not to do the same.

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