Awesome; I Fuckin' Shot That!: Remembering MCA with the Beasties of the Northern wild 

The first (and last?) full-length concert film starring the Beastie Boys is not a great movie. Recorded in 2004 at New York's Madison Square Garden and released the following year, the film finds the Beasties giving 50 camcorders to their adoring fans and telling them to shoot the show. The resulting footage, rounded up by the late, great Adam "MCA" Yauch himself (under his filmmaking nom de guerre Nathanial Hornblower), is something of a frenetically paced mess. The fans' shaky, amateurish camerawork, not to mention Hornblower's seizure-inducing editing skills, may remind viewers why recording artists typically hire actual filmmakers to helm their concert films.

But the movie's more of a valentine to Beastie Boys fans than a testament to the Beasties' live capabilities — and in that, it captures the group's egalitarian spirit perfectly. It's also notable for ushering in the gonzo, go-for-broke daring that Oscilloscope Laboratories, the indie film distributor founded by Yauch (which produced Awesome), would bring to the art-house landscape. Oscilloscope would go on to release, or have a hand in releasing, films that are just as visually, aesthetically daring as Awesome (love it or hate it). Just for a start, Oscilloscope released the most recent two films by proudly minimalist filmmaker Kelly Reichardt (Wendy and Lucy, Meek's Cutoff); Banksy's is-it-or-isn't-it-a-put-on art doc Exit Through the Gift Shop; the career-rejuvenating Woody Harrelson Iraq War drama The Messenger; and two of last year's most polarizing movies, Evan Glodell's Bellflower (worst date movie ever!) and Lynne Ramsay's We Need to Talk About Kevin (basically porn for self-loathing moms). It even gave the late Nicholas Ray's legendarily chaotic feature We Can't Go Home Again a proper release after decades in the vault.

Much like when Yauch dropped Awesome back in 2005, he and Oscilloscope prided themselves on releasing movies that were refreshingly different. They insisted on pushing the boundaries of what cinema would exhibit. Oscilloscope will carry on without him — it's screening the LCD Soundsystem doc Shut Up and Play the Hits July 18 at The Belcourt, one night only — but his absence is keenly felt. While many people will miss Adam Yauch for the groundbreaking work he did in hip-hop, film nerds will miss him for simply taking gotdamn chances at the art house — something that is truly awesome. (Midnight July 6-7 at The Belcourt.) CRAIG D. LINDSEY

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