As always, Sundance plays host to a number of exclusive events with appearances by acclaimed performers. This year’s opening party, as it were, was graced with a surprise performance by Snoop Dogg and Lil’ Jon. As the week progressed, smaller events were held all over Park City and Salt Lake City in honor of Sundance. You think club promoters would pass up a chance to get out-of-staters into their bars? No way. SLC’s Urban Lounge takes the cake, playing host to Tennis, RJD2, and Little Dragon over the course of the festival.
On top of that, Danny Masterson (who you might remember looking like this), who owns a club called The Downstairs in Park City, threw a celebrity event headed by Slick Rick in honor of the festival. Even the Sundance organization themselves put together a solid lineup, with particularly hailed performances by Guster, Manchester Orchestra, K’naan, and St. Vincent.
Shorts Program I
What the hell is Shorts Program I, you ask? Oh, only the shorts program in which Beastie Boys decided they’d debut their eclectic hodge podge of a short comedy/music video.
Accompanied by a wide variety of other short films, Beastie Boys’ program was just a half hour set in a three-hour program. However, the short headlined the set of six films whose subjects were just as eclectic. From the claustrophobia accompanied by spending three months on a Russian submarine to what would happen if Tim and Eric of Tim and Eric’s Awesome Show lived in a trailer park, swore profusely, did meth, and gave birth to a mysteriously wise puppet.
But the highlight of the six short collection was without a doubt Fight For Your Right Revisited. Certainly filmed on the biggest budget, the film included a constant barrage of cameos from A-listers with main roles played by Elijah Wood, Seth Rogen, Danny McBride, Will Ferrell, Jack Black, and John C. Reilly. (Warning: Spoilers Ensue Below)
Picking right up where they left off in 1987, the film begins with a slow-motion exit from the party the B-Boys just crashed. Elijah Wood as Ad-Rock, Seth Rogen as Mike D, and Danny McBride as MCA make their way down the stairs out of the building where the party was being held, only to bump into the parents (played by Stanley Tucci and Susan Sarandon) and owners of the house they just destroyed with pies, booze, and sledgehammers. They feign ignorance and give the parents the slip, only to continue the party out on the street.
The boys, still hungry for partying/alcohol, break into a convenience store down the street to get more beer. Upon emerging from the store, beer in hand, the film starts leaning in the direction of music video. The boys drink/barrage the innocent bystanders with the cans of booze, all the while rhyming along to a brand new Beastie Boys’ song, “Make Some Noise”, presumably to be released on their upcoming Hotsauce Committee Pt. 2. From a film standpoint, this portion is delightful to watch, as it’s very physical improv comedy, and Elijah Wood might have very well been a Beastie in another life. Musically speaking, it only gets better. Beastie Boys haven’t sounded this raw or this cohesive in years. Maybe it was the scenery of the film, but the song felt like it was straight out of the early 90’s.
The boys continue to wreak havoc in the city, thrashing into a high-end restaurant, which is where the majority of the cameos happen. They are eventually thrown out, and sent back to the street, where they meet some metal-head girls, who offer them a ride in their limousine. The boys say they are the backing band for Bon Jovi, and the girls are so impressed they offer them some acid. After they all do a very tongue-in-cheek tribute to Bon Jovi, Will Ferrell is revealed as the limo driver and the song continues with a dance number involving Ferrell revisiting his true calling: the cowbell.
The boys leave the limo, hit the streets, but this time in an altered state – hilarity ensues, as does another new Beastie song, “Say It”. Eventually, the roads become inexplicably empty and a Delorean appears, carrying three individuals (Jack Black, John C. Reilly, and Will Ferrell) who claim they are the Beastie Boys from the future. When the original Beastie Boys call BS, the B-Boys from the future challenge them to a throwdown dance to decide who are the real Beastie Boys.
Each Beastie, present and future, gets his turn on the dance floor insulting his opposite in absurd/hilarious ways. And what better music to hold a dance-off to than the Beastie Boys’ most recent drop, “Too Many Rappers”, which features Nas. When it comes time for Wood’s Ad-Rock to dance, John C. Reilly’s MCA becomes so infuriated that it becomes a literal pissing contest. All the boys, both old and new, begin to urinate on each other, which the police obviously has to stop. When they paddy wagon pulls up, who’s driving but none other than the actual Beastie Boys. After some police brutality, all six Beasties are arrested and driven away, and the film closes with the words “To Be Continued… Check Back In 25 Years.”
Sure, it’s a whimsical, nonsense story that certainly wasn’t destined to win any awards at Sundance, but it was no doubt the most fun anyone had during Shorts Program I. The acting crew signed on, surely, to pay tribute to one of the most influential hip-hop groups of all-time, and they did their job magnificently.
CoS Verdict: Fight For Your Right Revisited is non-stop fun, and worth every bit of your time. No word yet on what platform this will be released on, but once it is released, get your hands on a copy.