Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best


Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best

Edited by Annette Davey

Cinematography by Gavin Kelly

Production Design by Ola Maslik

Produced by Jason Michael Berman & Kwesi Collisson

Music by Ryan O’Nan and Rob Simonsen

Written & Directed by Ryan O’Nan




Ryan O'Nan

Michael Weston

Arielle Kebbel

Andrew McCarthy

Jason Ritter

Jake Miller

Melissa Leo



Theatrical: Soaring Flight Productions & TideRock Films

Video: Oscilloscope Laboratories



Resolution: 480i

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Avg Bit Rate: 6.3 Mbps

Runtime: 98 minutes

Chapters: 18

Region: All



English Dolby Digital 2.0

English Dolby Digital 5.1


Subtitles: Optional English



  1. Behind the Scenes of the Brooklyn Brothers (16:30)

  2. Northside Festival Performance and Q&A (28:15)

  3. Outtakes “A Musical Moose” (3:30)

  4. Tag Sale Salvation (2:50)

  5. Sweet Sounds of Casio (5:05)



Custom gatefold paper DVD case w/ slipcover

Release Date: January 8, 2013


Recently dumped by his girlfriend, underachiever Alex (Ryan O’Nan) embarks on an impromptu road trip with his new bandmate. By channeling their inner children and giving a new meaning to the term “lo-fi,” Alex and Jim (Michael Weston). find their unique style by bringing the sound of children’s instruments to their unsuspecting fans. Playing a series of bizarre shows and experiencing multiple near-disasters, Alex and Jim’s persistence takes them on a true coming-of-age journey – one that may be their last shot at achieving their childhood dreams.



The Movie: 6

Critical Press:

Hollywood Reporter

A road-trip musical for unjaded hipsters and their younger siblings, Ryan O'Nan's The Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best treads familiar ground but has enough charm to woo viewers who don't know the genre so well they flinch at every rest stop. Solidly made (especially for a debut) and likeable even when it stumbles, it could be a modest success with younger audiences.  . . In what might have been the ultimate vanity-project disaster, writer/director O’Neal casts himself in the lead role as a songwriter whose material O'Nan himself wrote. Happily, though, the filmmaker can write a credible sensitive-indie pop song and has no problem putting it across on acoustic guitar.  Still, the movie's modest quirks and its tendency not to lean too hard on any one conflict make it easy not to scrutinize the de rigueur squabbles, setbacks and lucky breaks that keep the wannabe troubadours moving West -- especially for viewers whose familiarity with road movie conventions doesn't stretch too far back beyond Due Date. - John DeFore



Philadelphia Inquirer

A pair of misfit hipsters hit the road in Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best, a likably goofy, lo-fi indie propelled by the syncopations of a cheesy keyboard - and the cheesy dreams of its hapless heroes. Deadpan and a bit dopey, Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best has a shaggy charm, and the chemistry between the tuneful twosome's would-be Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty makes up for the inevitable rock-and-roll road movie clichés. Their songs are kind of catchy, too. - Steven Rea



Slant Magazine

Do we really need another film about underachieving white men with scruffy beards? Ryan O'Nan thinks so. He directs and stars in Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best as Alex, a struggling too-artsy-to-keep-an-office-job musician who heads from the East Coast to California to finally pursue his dreams with his bandmate, the hysteric but not hysterical Jim (Michael Weston). They pick up a few strangers along the way, such as the plucky Cassidy (Arielle Kebbel), and also pick a few fights. It's sort of like The Wizard of Oz, and just as nuanced. Here funky girls have pink hair, funky guys have pink and blue hair, and those who represent the stiff non-artistic mainstream are Bible freaks who don't believe one should utter the word "homosexual" in front of children. . . The film has, at its source, a pool of affectations that so often constitute, or plague, American indie films—and, perhaps, American culture more generally. These affectations come from a resistance to the unpredictability of human emotion, replacing feeling and spontaneity for the various ersatz mechanisms of defense we use against them. O'Nan creates creatures whose gestures feel rehearsed and whose utterances are canned, but he doesn't seem to have anything to say anything about that. . . The music is pretty good, though it overwhelms the film functioning as its transitions, concept, and content. - Diego Costa



Extras: 8

In place of a commentary – not that one is particularly called for in this instance – Oscilloscope offers two substantial bonus features that address details of production as well as comment on the background for O’Nan’s inspiration for his film  The sixteen-minute “Behind the Scenes of the Brooklyn Brothers” is self-explanatory.  The Northside Festival Performance from the summer of 2012 includes three songs by the band and an audience Q&A with four of the filmmakers.  Two short films - Tag Sale Salvation and Sweet Sounds of Casio – are smartly made and well worth your attention. They have the unusual recommendation of being every bit as well transferred as the main feature.  The only blight on this collection of extra features is a routine and useless set of outtakes, mercifully brief at three and a half minutes. 


Once again Oscilloscope presents their DVD in a custom paper gatefold with their characteristic wall painting artwork.



Image: 8

I’m not certain but this may be Oscilloscope’s first movie in super widescreen format (2.35:1).  Of course it’s anamorphic, and, of course, the DVD gets the usual Oscilloscope treatment in the transfer - by which I mean that it gets out of the way.  No enhancements, no color or contrast boosts, no noise that wasn’t already in the source elements – and precious little of that.


Audio & Music: 8/7

Missing only a lossless option, the sprightly music is especially well presented. Dialogue and effects are clear and appropriately shaped into the soundscape.



Recommendation: 7

Given the widescreen format, it’s a little surprising that Oscilloscope chose not to release Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best in high-def, not that the movie cries out for such treatment. Fortunately, Oscilloscope’s usual hands-off approach to video and audio transfer makes for a satisfying experience even on a large screen, providing adequate upscaling processing at your end.  Don’t expect anything edgy in the film’s narrative, but Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best makes for a peasant enough diversion.


Leonard Norwitz


December 15, 2012


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