TL;DR – If you ever wanted a visual representation of the descent into madness brought on by parental sports obsession and copious amounts of steroids, then this would be it.
Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Have you ever opened up a piece of media and have 100% no idea about what you are about to watch and then also a pretty good idea about what you are about to watch. It is an odd juxtaposition that I have never felt before, well that is before today. For you see, today we are exploring the fever dream of 1980s baseball culture by way of cocaine that is The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience, the latest thing from The Lonely Island.
So to set the scene, it is the late 1980s, an era of big hair, Madonna, and baseball. We open in on the titular Bash Brothers, Jose Canseco (Andy Samberg) and Mark McGwire (Akiva Schaffer). They were two of baseball’s greatest players, but they have a deep secret that no one knows about, they both did a rap video.
This is such an odd piece of media, that I was not actually sure how to classify it, I eventually went with movie just because that is where I put Guava Island from earlier in the year. I bring up Guava Island because structurally there are a lot of similarities even if they are both widely different in style and tone. What we have is a number of songs from The Lonely Island which have been brought together and strung together with a narrative. Though The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience is less on the revolutionary takedown of capitalist forms of oppression and more a drug fever dream about the pressures to take steroids.
be honest I don’t have a lot of experience with baseball, indeed I didn’t know
they were playing real people until the credits, and we are just going to blow by
Andy Samberg playing someone with a Cuban heritage because I’m not sure
anything here is meant to be taken too seriously, or maybe it is something that
wants you to take it seriously even though it is pretending not to be serious
about it, or maybe I am just overthinking it. So I can’t tell you if this is a
love letter to baseball or a vicious takedown of the sport, though I do wonder
how they got permission for all those logos to appear.
When it comes to describing just what The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience is, well that is actually a bit difficult to do. It is part music video, it is part comment on sporting culture, it is part love letter to the excesses of the 1980s, it is part exploration of masculinity, and it is part fever drug trip. You will spend half your time getting ripped back to the 1980s and the other half going ‘wait did they just say that’.
I would say that this has some similarities with Mandy,
if indeed Mandy had been birthed by
pop music and not metal. This is a film that swings for the fences when it
wants to get weird. You have moments of surreal what is going on as they return
to this TVs in a forest motif or the falling in water. But then it is also a film
that has Sterling K Brown playing Sia and I never knew I wanted to see that but
here we are. When it comes to the music, it is similar in tone to songs The Lonely Island have done before. So
if you have heard their music and liked it, this will probably be your jam, and
if you didn’t I’m not sure this will change your mind.
In the end, do we recommend The Lonely Island Presents: The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience? Um, that is a hard maybe. This is such a specific tone and content that I think if you like it you will love it, and if you don’t you will know it fast. It is also crass and more than a little offensive at times, but then that is kind of the style.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow
Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV,
he’ll be talking about International Relations,
or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of The Lonely Island Presents: The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience
Directed by – Mike Diva & Akiva Schaffer
Written by – The Lonely Island
Music by – The Lonely Island
Cinematography by – Aaron Grasso
Edited by – Mike Diva & Akiva Schaffer
Production/Distribution Companies –
Starring – Andy Samberg & Akiva Schaffer with Jorma Taccone, Hannah Simone, Jenny Slate, Sterling K Brown, Jim O’heir, Stephanie Beatriz, Alana Haim, Danielle Haim, Mya Rudolph, Ben Perez, Dave Faulkner, Denise Weintraub, Trinity Chanel, Whitney Moore, Sis Gold, Kyla Billings, Britta Grant, Jonetta Kaiser, Julia Nolan, Dan Wicksman and Jeff Torres.
Rating – Likely an Australia: MA15+