Apparently, I am suitably funky and off-white enough of skin tone to talk with gusto about three Jewish dudes from New York. So that is what I am going to do.
I’ve been a big fan of the Beastie Boys ever since I got a License To Ill cassette in my birthday stocking (it’s a long-ish story) and have been hooked forever after. So when word started getting about of their super star studded long form music video, needless to say I was damn excited.
I love long form music videos, for the most part. I can’t think of one that I haven’t enjoyed, from Jacko’s Thriller to David La Chappelle’s extended H&M commercial featuring Mary J. Blige. Even GWAR’s Phallus In Wonderland gets regular rotation on my dvd player. So, yeah, basically I was excited. And you all probably knew that, and are waiting with baited breath for my review of Nathaniel Hornblower’s (MCA aka Adam Yauch) 30 minute musical opus.
So here it is. Well first, here is the trailer.
I spent a lot of time waiting for this video, my breath was baited and my excitement was almost audible. Sure, Fight For Your Right isn’t my favourite Beastie Boys video (that honour goes, predictably, to Sabotage), but the idea that Ad Rock, MCA, and Mike D would be revisiting their roots on the new album is an exciting prospect. In all honesty, I’ve heard the new album thanks to the stream from Madison Square Gardens and it is every bit as awesome as you would expect it to be. We all know the B-Boys don’t ever work in half measures, and this video is evidence. Director Adam Yauch assembled a cast worthy of a high profile award show, featuring the likes of Seth Rogen, Danny McBride, Elijah Wood, Will Ferrell, Jack Black, Susan Sarandon, Steve Buscemi, Ted Danson, Kirsten Dunst, Orlando Bloom, among others. The plot immediately follows the events of the original 1986 video for (You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party), showing the group, here played by Elijah Wood, Seth Rogen and Danny McBride, leaving the trashed party and venturing out in the world to find more beer and more fun but coming face to face with their future selves, played by Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, and Jack Black. It’s a bit of fun, don’t get me wrong, but something about the whole affair just feels a touch forced. It’s an achievement, but one that is marred by the enormity of it all. As well as McBride’s inability to lip sync with any sense of timing.
Superstar cameos aside, and ignoring the references to other pop culture phenomena (such as hit shows like Arrested Development, movies like Back To The Future, and music videos from over the years), it all feels a bit self indulgent. Which is probably something you can afford to be, if you are a Beastie Boy. The long form video is enjoyable for what it is, but feels ultimately vapid and nowhere near as funny as it ought to be. It doesn’t deserve to sit comfortably alongside extended music videos like those of Michael Jackson.