A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Mike D. and Adrock reflect on their careers in music, talk about how much work they put in to reinventing their sound once they grew increasingly uncomfortable with their image as obnoxious hedonists. They address how some songs intended to be ironic (like "Girls") ended up being taken seriously by some members of the audience, and talked of how they tried to make things right in their later music and actions. Talk of the late Adam Yauch's (MCA) activism in setting up "Free Tibet" concerts. Talk of their creative process over the years.
Positive Role Models
The three members of Beastie Boys showed how it's possible to reinvent one's lives and artistic careers instead of remaining stuck in arrested adolescence. They talk at length about the time and effort it required to attain their later success.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Old photo of Rick Rubin holding a magazine opened to a centerfold of a nude woman.
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"Motherf---er" used a few times. "F--k" used a few times. "S--t," "damn," "hell." Middle finger gesture.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Photos and video footage of Beastie Boys in their early years drinking beer, acting drunk. They talk of drinking underage. Cigarette smoking. Marijuana smoking in one scene.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Beastie Boys Story is a 2020 documentary about the life and times of one of the most iconic musical acts of the last 40 years. The story is told by members Mike D. (Michael Diamond) and Adam Horovitz (Ad-Rock) in front of an audience in Brooklyn's Kings Theater. There's profanity throughout, including "f--k" and "motherf---er." There's an old photo of Rick Rubin holding a magazine opened to a centerfold of a nude woman. Photos and video footage show Beastie Boys as teenagers and in the midst of their "Fight for Your Right to Party" days -- drinking and partying while underage. There's also talk of some of the drug use of band members over the years, but all of this is placed in the context of both regret over how their obnoxious behavior came to define them in the mid-1980s, and how much the group grew up personally and artistically over the course of their careers. Horovitz also addresses and expresses remorse over the sexism of the song "Girls," and how a lot of the male members of their '80s audiences took their lyrics more seriously than the Beastie Boys did. For the aspiring musicians in the family, this documentary does an excellent job of showing the creative processes behind many of Beastie Boys' best-known songs, and the amount of work that goes into becoming and staying successful in the music industry. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
As much as anything else, this is a movie about best friendship, growing up in public, and the love of music. It's presented as a kind of Ted Talk in front of a live audience, only instead of some turtlenecked technocrat waxing philosophical about world problems while over-gesticulating their hands, it's Mike D. and Ad-Rock reflecting from their middle-aged vantage points on the highs and lows of their careers. Like Beastie Boys themselves, this documentary is often hilarious, and this overview is remarkably comprehensive, considering the vast evolution that happened collectively and individually over the course of their existence.
Unsurprisingly, Diamond and Horovitz devote considerable time to the role the late Adam Yauch (MCA) played in the band, and through their stories, Yauch comes across as a creative force, enigma, and someone with a profound love of life and adventure, whether it be venturing into a near-empty punk club to see Bad Brains as a teenager, or in meeting the Dalai Lama and becoming a champion for Tibetan independence later in life. For aspiring musicians, Beastie Boys Story is also an inspiring glimpse into the creative process of Beastie Boys, and how they found ways to incorporate their myriad musical influences into their own sound.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.