Awesome; I Fuckin’ Shot That!

Awesome; I Fuckin’ Shot That!

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In terms of pure hyperspeed velocity, even breakneck turntable maestro Mix Master Mike has nothing on Awesome; I Fuckin’ Shot That!, an aggressively kinetic record of the Beastie Boys’s October 9th, 2004 Madison Square Garden show that boasts a visual rapidity apt to induce seizures. Comprised solely of material culled from 50 Hi8 digital cameras that were given to fans prior to the show—their sole instruction being to “do whatever you want, just keep shooting” (jaunts to the concession stand and the bathroom included)—the documentary, directed by Nathanial Hörnblowér (a.k.a. Beastie Boy MCA, a.k.a. Adam Yauch), is something of a virtual concert film made with even more DVD-ready multi-angle options than were found in the Criterion Collection’s exhaustive Beastie Boys Video Anthology.

The only aesthetic constant being that its editing structure faithfully keeps time with the group’s bouncy hip-hopping beats, Awesome has an undeniable verve thanks to both the enthusiastic energy of its rowdy camera operators and the surprisingly electric big venue-charisma of the Beasties themselves, who ably hold court (with brief assistance from Doug E. Fresh) on a stage decorated only with some straightforward lighting, Mix Master Mike’s DJ station, and video screen projections of computer graphics and a web-based clip of a boxing cat. As the trio races through a setlist of greatest hits (with special emphasis on the five boroughs-celebrating “Hello Brooklyn” and “Open Letter To NYC”), regular attention is called to the band’s fundamental fan-friendly approach to their mainstream art, from a sing-along of “Paul Revere” in which the crowd does all the heavy lyrical lifting, to a climactic rendition of “Intergalactic” performed on the opposite side of the venue amid jubilant spectators, to the DIY film’s status as a partially audience-authored construct.

That said, if Awesome highlights the inspired possibilities promised by give-and-take artist-consumer interaction, it nonetheless also reminds one of the kitschy pop-cultural sphere that the Beasties inhabit, a place made up of somewhat hackneyed allusions to Scrabble, Star Wars, and, as seen in a tongue-in-cheek opening text crawl, Scarface. Worse, though, is that—because of its amateur cinematography and Hörnblowér’s increasingly schizophrenic cutting and orgiastic use of CG effects—the grainy footage frequently looks like shit. And while such rough-around-the-edges shortcomings are intrinsic to the endeavor’s sought-after atmosphere of “you are there” immediacy, there’s still no getting around the fact that the film’s dynamism is too often weighed down by sloppy zooms, pans, and compositions that feel as if they’ve been executed by a coked-up monkey.

Buy
DVD
Distributor
THINKFilm
Runtime
90 min
Rating
NR
Year
2006
Director
Nathanial Hörnblowér
Cast
Ad Rock, MCA, Mike D, Mix Master Mike, Money Mark, Doug E. Fresh