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What’s on TV Friday: ‘Beastie Boys Story’ and ‘The Hottest August’ | Press "Enter" to skip to content

What’s on TV Friday: ‘Beastie Boys Story’ and ‘The Hottest August’

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BEASTIE BOYS STORY (2020) Stream on Apple TV Plus. The two surviving members of the Beastie Boys, Adam Horovitz and Michael Diamond, walk an audience through their band’s history in this unconventional documentary. Think of it like a Beastie Boys TED talk: Directed by Spike Jonze, the film shows the present-day Horovitz and Diamond onstage, telling their story as archival footage and video is projected behind them. (The documentary is an adaptation of a stage show Horovitz and Diamond hosted in 2019.) The setup allows for some entertainingly peculiar moments, as when the elder Horovitz interrupts footage of the band’s early shows, where his younger self is reading rap lyrics off a crumpled piece of paper. Turning from the projected video to the audience with apparent embarrassment, Horovitz asks, “Most rappers hold their rhymes in little pieces of paper, right?”

THE HOTTEST AUGUST (2019) Stream on PBS.org. New Yorkers sweat, sunbathe and ponder the future in this documentary from the filmmaker Brett Story. Shot in New York City in the summer of 2017, the film compiles interviews with people around the city. They talk about their personal hopes, and where they think the planet is headed. That footage is paired with excerpts from writing by Zadie Smith, Annie Dillard and Karl Marx, which are read for narration by the Canadian actor Clare Coulter. In his review for The New York Times, Glenn Kenny wrote that the combination adds up to “a cinematic gift both simple and multilayered, an intellectual challenge and an emotional adventure.”

AFTER LIFE Stream on Netflix. “I still miss Lisa,” Tony (Ricky Gervais) says near the start of Season 2 of this dark comedy series. The line is essentially a summary of the show’s premise: The first season began with Lisa (Kerry Godliman) dying, leaving Tony to wrestle grief while carrying on life in his English town. With little direction left, he started treating everybody with a comic level of contempt. He resolves to do better in Season 2 — with inconsistent success. “With other shows of mine, people come up to me on the street, and they usually say, ‘I love the show,’” Gervais said in a recent interview with The Times. “But with this one — and this was before coronavirus — they come up to me and say, ‘I just want to say, I lost my sister three weeks ago.’” He added, “You suddenly realize, of course — everyone’s grieving. And the older you get, the more you’ve got to grieve.”

WONDER WOMAN (2017) 8 p.m. on TNT. The celebrity-laden online cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine” recently orchestrated by Gal Gadot didn’t get great reviews, but Gadot’s performance in the title role of this superhero blockbuster very much did. See Gadot clobber bad guys alongside a World War I pilot played by Chris Pine, as she moves through an origin story that puts pieces in place for the upcoming sequel, “Wonder Woman 1984.”


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