Mike Mills' blog of
the film Beginners.

Mike's Intro




Very proud graphic designer over here, I just did the new Beastie Boys record cover. And the B-Boys have had a huge influence on me over the years, one of the mountains by which I have orientated myself. I can remember listening to Paul’s Boutique way way too loud at my first graphic design job. It was kind of world-changing: culturally high and low, deeply funny and seriously attempting to break past what we thought was possible with music. And the lyrics? Such great writing - if I was teaching English I’d make my students read the descriptions in Johnny Ryall, articulate the humor of The Sounds of Science, and note the attention to detail in some of the sections of B-Boy Bouillabaisse. This record is full of the most inexplicable, I’m just gonna call them “charismatic,” combinations of beats, samples, cultural references - things that shouldn’t be together, featuring every kind of switch-up and surprising musical combination. To me, the Beasties’ music is part of the tradition of collage that I’ve always gravitated to; from Kurt Schwitters to Robert Rauschenberg, some of Ginsberg, The White Album, The Clash’s Sandinista, Fellini’s 8 1/2 (which leads us back to Woody Allen’s Stardust Memories). All of these are hybrids where the whole is built upon the impossibility of its parts going side by side. This way of putting things together has always excited me the most, felt the most alive and “real” – and I tried to trust this way with BEGINNERS. I’m remembering the Beasties’ Check Your Head - when I first heard the song Pass The Mic, it has so much air in it, it’s so loose, it sounded so strange with the distorted guitar and the raps, the loops, the big room sound on the drums, Ad Rock’s crazy sense of rhythm. For me, it was one of those times when you bump into something new, a new shape, a new color. They did what they wanted the way they wanted, with increasing social consciousness, and they were not afraid to be popular, to play in the big ring. I crossed paths with them in the 90s doing some posters and single covers for them, and I was in a little band that was on their label. So this was a great honor, and mental health-inducing continuity with my own past to get to work with them again. And inside the package, a surprise which I can’t show you yet, a bunch of drawings much like the ones the character Oliver does in BEGINNERS.