Films that the Beastie Boys have appeared in
Back in the fall of 1982 when Adam Yauch
and Michael Diamond were first captured on film, it may have been difficult to convince others that the Beastie
Boys would appear in several major motion pictures as well as
a handful of straight-to-video releases. However, twenty years
later the entire world knows who the Beastie Boys are and just
how diverse and creatively competent they have proven to be.
Horovitz was not an original member of the Beastie Boys, by
1984 he had replaced John Berry
on guitar and was considering a possible acting career. The following
year, he made his television debut playing "Ronny",
a drug selling delinquent, in an episode of The Equalizer entitled
"Mama's Boy." Initially the only place a Beastie Boys
collector could go in order to find this rare Horovitz appearance
was pay the people at the Edward Woodward (who starred in the
Equalizer) fan club for a copy. Later on the cable network A&E
began airing old Equalizer episodes and before long multiple copies
of the "Mama's Boy" episode began circulating amongst
tape traders. Approximately at the same time, Adam filmed his
appearance with the Beastie Boys for Russell
Simmons' hip-hop movie Krush Groove. Both The Equalizer
episode and Krush Groove premiered in 1985.
In his autobiography, Russell Simmons tells
the story about how Krush Groove came into being. "In
the early '80s Kurtis Blow, Run,
and a lot of the other artists I managed began expressing interest
in acting. There had been a successful but exploitative movie
about hip-hop dancers called Breakin' that had been shot
in Los Angeles, and it looked to us, with all the talent around
us, that we should make a movie, too." That movie ended up
featuring a live performance of Beastie Boys 1985 Def Jam single
"She's On It." A studio version of the song later appeared
on the soundtrack along with a handful of songs by other artists
with ties to Russell's company Rush Productions. "So to be
involved in Krush Groove I was paid $15,000. Rick
Rubin got $15,000 (he also played himself in the movie). Run
DMC jointly got $15,000. Even though George Jackson's the guy
who executive-produced the soundtrack, the cool records on it
were all ours. I mean, we gave them a hit soundtrack."
Collectors will be thrilled to discover
that Krush Groove related items sell for much less
when compared to Beastie Boys eBay.com listings. The movie
has not yet been digitally transferred to DVD, so for now
picking up a used copy of the VHS for under ten American
dollars is a steal. In addition to the movie, fans may also
see Krush Groove posters and soundtracks regularly
changing hands on the auction website. The soundtrack was
available on vinyl as well as cassette, and as stated before
contains the Beastie Boys song "She's On It."
The Beastie Boys next theatrical
appearance in the movie Tougher than Leather has
traditionally been dated as 1988. However, most Beastie
Boys fans know that the band's business relationship with
Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons was well on its way to ending
by that date. So the year 1987, which is what Russell lists
in his book Life and Def, is more accurate and correct.
"For a $2 million budget it (Krush Groove) was
good. But in the end Rick and I were frustrated that Krush
Groove wasn't as edgy as we wanted. There were a lot
of scenes that embarrassed us. They were too bubble-gum.
So we decided to make our own movie...Jam Master Jay, D.M.C.,
Joey, Rick, and I split the cost five ways to make Tougher
than Leather, a film about Run DMC being harassed by
some gansta types; it also featured the Beasties, Slick
Rick, Rick (Rubin) and myself."
In the movie the Beastie Boys perform the
otherwise unreleased song "Desperado." In addition to
their live stage performance, which depicts them at the height
of their beer swilling period, the band members spend several
additional minutes acting rowdy inside of a snobby restaurant.
Wendell "DJ Hurricane"
Fite also makes an appearance in the movie, but not as the
Beastie Boys DJ. Instead, that role was filled by Sam
Sever. When people ask what the overall feel of the movie
is, Russell Simmons says it best: "Krush Groove was
a heartwarming little Hollywood film, whereas Tougher than
Leather was a fake street film. So those were my early Hollywood
experiences. Both experiences were so much fun that I never wanted
to make a movie again."
Approximately about the same time
(1987) on the heels of Licensed to Ill's popularity,
Def Jam in conjunction with CBS-FOX video released the Beastie
Boys self-titled home video. Advertisements for the videos
bragged, "Don't Fight It! Beastievision has arrived!"
The home video featured music videos as well as live footage
and even gave fans a taste of the group's off stage exploits.
For those that were disappointed by the fact that Beastie
Boys Video Anthology DVD did not have any of the Def
Jam era videos on it, this out of print home video will
fill those gaps in nicely. Perhaps, Def Jam will eventually
bring back this title and give it the DVD treatment that
it deserves. Fans would likely race out to purchase a revamped
version if it contained a commentary track by either Rick
Rubin or Russell Simmons.
Adam Horovitz would begin filming
his 1989 movie Lost Angels almost immediately following
the end of the Licensed to Ill world tour. Diamond
and Yauch stayed behind in New York for awhile playing in
side-project bands such as Big
Fat Love, Brooklyn, and Flophaus
Society Orchestra. However, when it became apparent
that the band would be leaving Def Jam, all three members
relocated to Los Angeles, CA. Home to the film industry,
Los Angeles provided the Beastie Boys with a change in scenery
and also a change in sound.
During the release week of May 5th,
1989 Lost Angels was reviewed very positively by film critics
and even had Siskel and Ebert touting Horovitz's performance reminiscent
of a young James Dean. For those who have not seen the movie,
Adam Horovitz's portrayal of a troubled youth in Lost Angels
was similar to the role he had played a few years earlier in the
episode of the Equalizer. The movie was not a box office block
buster, but it did take in a gross of $1,013,619.00.
Lost Angels provided collectors
with several items depicting Adam Horovitz; the movie's posters
are probably the most popular. There were two different styles
of theatre posters which usually sell for less than $10.00 on
eBay. For completist collectors, similar posters also were created
to promote the movie in video stores. Also in addition to the
VHS tape, fans may want to pick up the Laser Disc version of the
movie since a DVD release does not seem very likely.
The rarest and most unique Lost
Angels promotional item to have turned up on eBay sold
for less than $3.00: a pair of promotional slides which
were sent to theatres prior to the movie's release. Press
kits which include 8" X10" black and white photos
of Adam Horovitz and the rest of the movie's cast are a
fairly common occurrence on eBay. If you watch for Lost
Angels items, be forewarned that the movie's soundtrack
does not feature any music related to the Beastie Boys.
With the disappointing sales of the
Beastie Boys 1989 release Paul's Boutique, the band
decided not to tour; this opened the door for Adam Horovitz
to pursue other acting jobs. Although it was not a lead
role, he did lend a memorable performance to the 1991 Matt
Dillion movie A Kiss Before Dying (it opened on April
26th 1991) and went on to make $14,769,755.00.
If you know your Beastie Boys timeline, you will probably
realize this movie was in theatres at about the same time
that the Beastie Boys were in the studio assembling their
1992 release Check Your Head.
A Kiss Before Dying posters and
other promotional items are relatively inexpensive on eBay, but
for collectors they are a constant disappointment. None of the
movie's promotional items ever seem to mention Adam; his name
was left off of the poster's list of credits and the movie's press
kit does not come with any Horovitz photos. Instead, most items
revolve around the movie's two main stars: Matt Dillion and Sean
1992 saw the release of the Beastie Boys'
Check Your Head album and the return of instruments to
the band's live performances. To showcase the music videos made
for Check Your Head as well as older music videos from
Paul's Boutique, the band released The Skills to Pay
the Bills home video in late 1992. The Skills to Pay the
Bills video has since been surpassed by the Beastie Boys
Video Anthology DVD, but in its day it was a fan favorite.
For those who want digital, a Laser Disc version of The Skills
to Pay the Bills has been known to appear on eBay.com.
One of Michael Diamond's appearances that you might have missed was that
which he made in the 1995 documentary The Legend of Dolemite. This feature consists primarily of
Rudy Ray Moore's spoken word performances mixed with a few contemporary interviews from the likes of
Mike D, Eazy E, Ice-T, and Eddie Griffin. Michael's comments are brief, but if you are a purist, who
has to have it all, this might be a release worth tracking down for your collection.
Feeding off of the popularity of
Ill Communication, on July 13th 1994 the
Recording Industry Association of America (R.I.A.A.) certified
the Skills to Pay the Bills home video with its own
gold sales award. As was the case with the 1987 self-entitled
home video, The Skills to Pay the Bills home video
promotional materials were limited to posters. The double-sided
posters were sent out to music shops, and very likely many
have been lost or destroyed over the years. From time to
time though, a The Skills to Pay the Bills advertising
poster does come up for auction on eBay.com and usually
receives a winning bid of less than $10.00. The Licensed
to Ill era home video poster sells for slightly more
and due to its age is often found in less than mint condition.
It should be noted that the Beastie Boys (1987) home video
also earned an R.I.A.A gold sales award on February 17th,
As a flood of fans rediscovered the
Beastie Boys in 1992, a few fans followed the film exploits
of Adam Horovitz and made it a point to see his 1991-1992
movie Roadside Prophets. Although MTV did its best
to promote the movie, Roadside Prophets did not do
well commercially and earned only $147,724 in the United
States. The 16mm print of the film saw a very limited distribution
when New Line Cinema originally released it, so both dates
1991 and 1992 are used depending on the source. The official
non-theatrical release date was August 15th, 1992.
Lack of interest in collectable Roadside
Prophets pieces has kept prices on eBay.com low just as the
case was with Lost Angels. Laser Discs and VHS tapes of
the movie are on eBay.com nearly every week and often sell for
less than the postage will cost. Posters for Roadside Prophets
appear from time to time as do press kits, but neither bring the
bids that they are capable if had the seller listed the items
using Beastie Boys as keywords. As a potential buyer
it pays to take advantage of an eBay sellers ignorance,
search for Horovitz and you will likely find several
of his films for less than you would pay to rent it. For fanatical
collectors the ultimate would be to obtain this film, as well
as Lost Angels on 16mm film. One could expect to pay anywhere
from $150.00 to $500.00 for such a rare find. For the less fanatical,
owning one of the films 16 mm trailers should cost less
than $15.00. Getting into collecting 16mm is a challenge unto
itself, 16mm projectors and films are expensive and since they
are being snapped up by film historians and collectors the hobby
is very competitive.
Following the 1992 Check Your
Head tour, the Beastie Boys went back to California
and recorded Ill Communication which came out in
May of 1994. That release date was perfectly timed, since
Sabotage went on to be the song that defined
that summer. As co-headliners on the Lollapalooza tour the
Beastie Boys brought their brand of funk and hip-hop to
across the United States and Canada. Even though Sabotage
and Sure Shot were still in heavy rotation on
MTV, rabid fans raced out to pick up the Sabotage
home video the day it went on sale.
The Sabotage home video was
as much about the bands 1992 tour as it was about
the music videos from their 1994 album. The combination
of raw live performance footage and polished studio produced
shorts was the perfect companion piece for what has become
a legendary record. By enlisting the help of Ari
Marcopoulos, the Beastie Boys put out an hours
worth of video excellence that was worthy of the DVD treatment,
even though it initially only saw a VHS release. As fate
would have it the Sabotage home video has recently
been released on DVD. It should be noted that the Sabotage
DVD does not contain any extra footage that was not already
available on the VHS version.
Cityscrapes Los Angeles, in which
both Adam Horovitz and Ione Skye
appear, also made its debut at the Sundance Film Festival in 1994.
The independent movie starred Horovitzs friend Max
Perlich who had also been in Lost Angels, and immediately
made its way into the hands of collectors following its broadcast
on the Sundance Channel. For those who are not interested in getting
a high generation VHS copy through trading, the entire movie may
be downloaded from cinemanow.com.
Promotional items from Cityscrapes
Los Angeles are extraordinarily rare compared to those
from Horovitzs other movies. For those trying to complete
a collection of theatrical posters, the Cityscrapes Los
Angeles one-sheet is next to impossible to locate. Hopefully
as time goes on some will appear on eBay.com. The auction
site has proved to be helpful time and time again for hungry
collectors with deep pockets. Considering the attention
Cityscrapes Los Angeles has obtained among Beastie
Boys fans, it would be interesting to see just how fierce
the bidding wars would become if movie props were to surface.
The first annual Tibetan Freedom
Concert was held in San Francisco, California during June
of 1996, but it was not until a couple of years later in
1998 that the motion picture Free Tibet finally made
its way to screens in a limited theatrical release. The
Free Tibet movie is entertaining and educational
at the same time. During the summer of 1998 the film actually
toured around North American movie theatres and then later
was released on DVD complete with an Adam Yauch commentary
option. On August 15th, 1998 Much Music interviewed
the Beastie Boys prior to their performance in Barrie, Ontario.
Yauch was asked about the documentary and he said the following:
"The name of the documentary is Free Tibet and
we just signed a deal with Shooting Gallery to distribute
it. So it is going to be playing all around, so people should
look out for it...it is just going to do some limited showings.
They are likely going to tour the print, so it will probably
just play one night around here." As an added bonus
on the Free Tibet DVD, fans can watch the Beastie
Boys Tibetan Freedom Concert "Root Down" music
video which does not appear on any other video or DVD release.
Hello Nasty was released in July
of 1998, and even though the band made three music videos for
songs on the album, they did not release a home video to compliment
the album as they had done in the past with previous releases.
The band did however release the Beastie Boys Anthology: Sounds
of Science the following year (1999) and fans enjoyed the
handful of new songs that the double disc set offered up. Following
the success of the career spanning audio anthology project, Adam
Yauch spearheaded an effort to create a Beastie Boys video anthology.
It was a DVD only release because it wouldn't be feasible to release
the tens of VHS tapes necessary to hold all the possible audio
and video combinations.
For many fans the Beastie Boys
Video Anthology DVD was a dream come true. Yet others
found the double disc collection disappointing. Those who
were enthralled with all of the various onscreen options
found themselves soaking up hours of previously unreleased
remixes and commentary. The largest complaint though was
that the DVD collection should have been three discs long
and contained videos from the Licensed to Ill period.
Another complaint was that although they were rarely shown
on MTV, fan favorites such as Jimmy James, "Root Down
(Tibetan Freedom Concert version)," and the remix video
made for the Soul Assassin's version of "So What'cha
Want" were all left off of the video anthology.
As with previous releases, there
were a few promotional items for the Beastie Boys Video
Anthology DVD, T-shirts and posters perhaps being the
most common Also, press release packets for the DVD have
fetched unexpectedly high bids. Perhaps the nicest promotional
item created was the promo-only DVD, which featured the
Intergalactic music video and its extras condensed onto
After the Beastie Boys departure the Def Jam Recordings label, it was
believed that their interaction with Rick Rubin was nonexistent. Then Jay-Z released the Fade to
Black DVD, which changed our perspective. It turns out that there is a scene in this concert
documentary where Mike D is over at Rick Rubin's house/recording studio in Los Angeles listening to
Jay-Z lay down the vocals for "99 Problems." Although the scene only lasts a few minutes, the DVD is
definitely worth buying or renting. In addition to a great concert performance by Jay-Z, you are
given an opportunity to look into an alternate universe and see what it would be like if the Beastie
Boys had never left Def Jam. Even though you only see Michael in the film, it is not a stretch to
imagine Yauch and Horovitz still working along side of Rick Rubin today.
In the summer of 2006, the Beastie Boys released the Awesome I Fuckin'
Shot That DVD. Although some fans "in select cities" had already seen the concert film in a
movie theater, for most this was their first opportunity to view it. The film feature the Beastie
Boys performance at New York's Madison Square Garden back in October of 2004 on the To the Five
Boroughs Pagent Tour. As you likely know, the concept of the film was to have 50 people, who
were positioned throughout the audience, film the concert. Then, once everyone's footage was
collected it would be edited down into a feature film. Thus giving the at home viewer a taste of
what it was like to see the Beastie Boys perform live.
Since the release of the DVD, a few Awesome I Fuckin' Shot That promo
items have surfaced on eBay. Perhaps the nicest of the lot is the black AIFST t-shirt. Also popping
up fairly regularly on eBay are AIFST postcards and posters. None of these items have grown too
expensive yet, so now may be the time to snatch them up.