Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Always On Vacation

The other day, I found out that the new Beastie Boys movie, Awesome; I Fuckin' Shot That!, would be previewed sneakily tonight here in the city. The bonus was that Beastie Boy MCA, who directed the movie (as Nathanial Hornblower), would be there to answer questions afterward.

That sounded sweet enough. Being an American between the ages of 15 and 40, I'm a fan of their music. I was in middle school when they introduced rap to the 'burbs (via Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin), and I've been down with their ever-changing schtick ever since. In fact, I think of them as the Beatles of my generation. Think about it: They came out of nowhere to introduce (or steal, if you will) a style of music primarily played by black people to white America. After several years of popularity, they changed their style while retaining that popularity. Then they became activists. And they both had feature films made about them. And no one seems to hate them. Something like that.

But I got more for my money than that. Before the film started, up on the fourth floor, SNL cast member Seth Myers came in, and stopped right near me to talk to someone. (Myers has made it known on SNL that he's a lifelong Sox fan.) As he finished up with them, he passed me. "Seth," I said. (I felt this was an appropriate opening line.) He looked down and I gestured toward my hat and said "Go Sox." He immediately gave me the "you're all right" handshake. He said, "You feelin' good about this year?" I started nodding and saying that I was, and we both did the head nod while saying "Feelin' good, feelin' good" to each other.

I also noticed another SNL cast member, Amy Poehler, zip past, with someone else who looked familiar.

Then MCA came out and briefly introduced the movie. It was great. More on that later.

At the end, he came back, only it wasn't just him as promised, but all three Beastie Boys. I was psyched. MCA was the granddaddy of them all, with his severely graying hair and beard, and green suit. Ad Rock was looking as slyngly and squirgy as he did in '86 (note: those aren't real words, just what I think of when I see his face. You know the face), with a gray overcoat and wacky hat. Mike D was quiet and looked like Perry Farrell, as usual, in a plain black suit.

They fielded some rather empty questions for about fifteen minutes. The funniest moment: Kid asks "Me and my friends have seen you in concert, I've seen this movie now, and we always wonder, and I have to ask, How do you go two hours without taking a piss?" They all look at him like he'd just asked the really stupid question he had, and MCA deadpans, "How may times did you piss during the movie?"

Someone else asked how much Ad Rock and Mike D contributed to the movie- and video-making processes. Mike D said "We usually put our two cents in...and they get sent back."

Then they said goodbye, and I left the room wishing I had a camera, especially when I walked right past Ad Rock, standing right there in the lobby.

As I went down the escalator, I realized Poehler was a few people in front of me. And that dude, I know him...it's that guy from Arrested Development. The guy who plays the brother. He's married to Amy Poehler. As we got to the second escalator, I was right behind them. I wanted their autographs, but didn't know how to approach the subject, knowing only one of their names. On the third escalator, I made my move. "Excuse me, Amy Poehler. I've been behind you for the last three escalators. I can't miss my chance now." She was really nice and complied with my autograph request. Then I came in with "It'd be cool if I could get both your autographs." I don't think Will Arnett--I know now--was too happy that I didn't say his name, but I got the 'graph nonetheless. Then as we reached the front door, she sees my Sox hat and asks if I'm from Boston. She's also from the Boston area, as almost all New Yorkers seem to be. I told her Connecticut, and that I talked to Seth earlier. And she invited me to join her and Will at their estate in the Hamptons. That's all true except for the Hamptons thing.

So, it was a great night. Stop reading now if you don't want to hear about the details of the movie, or if you don't give a crap about it.

The concept of the movie is: 50 fans at a Beastie Boys concert at MSG in 2004 were given camcorders. They all filmed the whole show, and the footage was compiled to make a feature-length film. I will say this: Great idea. I liked it the first time when it was called "Bad Medicine" by Bon Jovi! Remember? With Sam Kinnison handing out handi-cams?

Anyway, despite that no one's mentioning that they stole this idea, albeit taking it to full-length level whereas Bon Jovi's was just a three-minute video, this is a great film.

You really feel like you're in the Garden. It helped that they turned the volume up to concert level. (Yauch even said during the Q & A afterward, we put some extra subs in here for you tonight, tapping on the speaker he was sitting on.) See this in the theater, unless you have a Butchie-esque* home theater set-up.

When I see concert-type films, they're always so polished. You get to see the band close-up and in brilliant color, with perfect sound. That can be cool. But if you want to feel like you're at a concert, you need shots from crappy seats, with crappy quality video, and muffled sound. It really works here. They'll cut from a shot right on stage, to a dude in the john, with the audio track going from crystal-clear to, well, what it sounds like when you're in the bathroom at a concert. But perfectly edited at all times, so you never miss a note of any tune.

That is unless someone goes so far from the stage you can't hear the band anyway. One group snuck around the arena, even trying to pick a locked door with a credit card. But the concert never "stops."

While the show is going on, we see shots of the crowd occasionally, but it's mainly the band from every imaginable angle. Hornblower throws in some camera tricks, though. They always catch you off guard. You're at the point where you think you're there, and then all of a sudden an effect comes in. At one point, they cut between a girl in the crowd and a band member doing a similar dance. Soon they are transposed on top of one another, and appear together with an island background. Sounds silly, and is, but these things only occur enough to add a little something extra to the basic concert style of the film.

The concert went down like this, to the best of memory and from what I sribbled down:

A song I forgot, Sure Shot, and Root Down.
Then, Doug E. Fresh came out and did a song with them, I can't remember which one.
Then Pass the Mic and Shake Your Rump.

Then, a big, lit up, rolling vessel comes through the darkness. The Boys now have instruments, and do some loungey stuff with some other dudes, while resting their voices.

Then, I wrote some word, but the pen didn't work. It looks like "fishback."

Then the vessel leaves and they come out wearing shirts with game names on them: Boggle, Yahtzee, Mah-Jong, Critters, Scrabble. Mixmaster Mike has an Electronic Battleship shirt on. They had started the show with matching green sweatsuits.

Then Right Right Now Now, followed by a version of Paul Revere sung almost entirely by the crowd.

Then Body Movin.' Then 3 MCs and 1 DJ. Then Brass Monkey and So Whatcha Want. Then Ch-Check It Out.

At this point, they all start running away through the arena. They get to the elevator, where we cut back and forth from them with the elevator music to the waiting crowd. They arrive in the upper level of the arena, where they proceed to do Intergalactic amongst the people in the nosebleeds. Then they run back down to the stage.

Now they have instruments again, and they play Gratitude. At this point you know they're gonna close with Sabotage, and they do. Ad Rock dedicates it to George W.

It's a cool movie, and it's now 1:30 AM, so I'm done. Go see it.


*A dude I know named Butchie knows a lot about home theater systems and whatnot.

Comments:
Jere, if (or when) you ever upgrade to Hi Def, you should definitely talk to me before your mind is filled with bizarre theories on the different formats by a crazed salesman. I know a lot about all the different kinds of displays, and the info is free if it comes from me. Just FYI. That goes for your Mom and Dad, too.
 
Brother's name on AD is Gob (pronounced Jobe).
 
Peter, I'm more interested in Def Leppard than hi-def, but thanks.

WC: Thanks. Yeah, I meant him, not Buster.
 
I guess my comment fell on Def Ears........jst kidding....
 
Did you leave the u out of just to stay consistent with deaf/Def?

Anyway, thanks for reading this story about former DefJam recording artists The Beastie Boys.

Actually, Peter, I thought your reaction to this would've have been "Did you just compare the Beastie Boys to the Beatles??"
 
If 1980 is your favorite year Jere, U2 has much more in common with the derivative wave of the Beatles or the Stones than the nascent rap of Grand Master Flash +. That was a comet and one that has taken whitey a decade and a half to embrace.
 
Just so you know, '80 is my favorite year due to three stories: One about a peppermint candy, one about Adidas shorts, and that "words can't describe." It really isn't about what happened specifically in '80, although I do like a lot of stuff from that time. Late 70s/early 80s ruled. So, I guess I contradicted myself. My point is, I turned 5 in 1980. So, it's not about my memories. Although the ones I have from them are pretty sweet.
 

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