Beastie Boys Video Anthology

A part of this view­ing list: Criterion Collection Spine #100: Beastie Boys Video Anthology.


I have a dis­tinct mem­ory of danc­ing Intergalactic stop-mo­tion style at some dance or other with my high school bud­dies se­nior year. I was never a huge Beastie Boys fan, though I cer­tainly got down to their mu­sic. For a per­son my age, it is pretty much im­pos­si­ble to quan­tify the many ways their im­pres­sive ca­reer has af­fected the pop­u­lar cul­ture I was ex­posed to in my teen years. That’s pretty much Criterion’s rea­son for putting this col­lec­tion to­gether. The main sell­ing point for the Criterion edi­tion is the wealth of ex­tras that come with it, mul­ti­ple an­gles, remixes, spin­offs and other ac­cu­mu­la­tions of mu­sic video loose ends are all gath­ered here for a Beastie feast.


The videos them­selves sort of run the gamut, from pure stock footage to height of their power pro­duc­tions to hand­held base­ment hi­jinks. The trade­mark low-an­gle fisheye fronting is present in just about every video, and it is this, cou­pled with the fre­quent home-movie as­pect of many of the videos, that de­fines the tech­ni­cal side of their video con­ceits. This is a good thing, since the rough-cut feel makes the Beastie’s seem like your friendly neigh­bor­hood MCs. Even their videos with higher pro­duc­tion val­ues have an air of de­lib­er­ate whim­si­cal­ity to them. I’d never ac­tu­ally seen the video to Body Movin’ so it was with great de­light that I pegged it as a spoof of the ul­tra-campy 60s spy flick Diabolik! which is prob­a­bly one of my fa­vorite Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes as well. The hand-painted an­i­ma­tion of Shadrach was also a sur­prise, and re­minded me of Gondry’s Lego-an­i­mated White Stripes video.


My fa­vorite video of the col­lec­tion was Three MCs and One DJ, mainly be­cause of its ef­fec­tive sim­plic­ity, it is a bit goofy, of course, but also prob­a­bly their most in­ti­mate as well, and you re­ally get to see Mix Master Mike go nuts. I don’t re­ally have a lot more to say about their videos, but the two-disc an­thol­ogy is a choose-your-own-ad­ven­ture romp through Beastie cul­ture that is worth any audiophile’s time and money. Check out the links be­low, es­pe­cially the Paul’s Boutique one and their an­no­tated lyrics. And don’t sleep ’til B-lyn.


• Paul’s Boutique Samples and References List.
Official Site.
Beastie Museum.
Beastie Mania.
Mic to Mic weblog.
Annotated Beastie Boys lyrics.
• Beastie Boys YouTube Group.

3 thoughts on “Beastie Boys Video Anthology

  1. I’ve got ten years on you and they were a HUGE in­flu­ence on me as well. I saw them open for Madonna at the Palace in ’85. I have seen every Cleveland show since. I was at Sandy’s on Sunday and checked out your house. LOVE IT!

  2. I’ve al­ways had a soft spot for the “Fight For Your Right” video, mostly on ac­count of get­ting to see Slayer’s Kerry King hit in the face with a pie.

    Now that’s com­edy.

    Also, you have to ap­pre­ci­ate the sub­lim­i­nal “FREE JAMES BROWN” mes­sage in the “Hey Ladies” video.

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