REVIEW – Don’t sleep through “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead” (exclusive to Netflix)

A fascinating look at artist Steve Aoki, and his Benihana-founding father, Rocky Aoki.

I’d been super excited to check out I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead, which is a snapshot into the life of Steve Aoki. The work is exclusive to Netflix.

For those of you going, “who the heck is Steve Aoki?” Well, he’s worked on tracks like this…

…and this…

At one point, Aoki cracked over 300 shows in one year. Just think about that for a second. That doesn’t include all the jet-setting he had to do: he’s sold out concerts in Ibiza, Las Vegas, the United Kingdom…you get the point.

To coincide with the release of his album, Neon Future, Steve, his girlfriend (at the time – the two got married last December), his siblings, and his mom – among others, chimed in to tell stories about his life.

The documentary itself is well shot. The visual artistry is great. It essentially makes Steve look good, which is okay. However, the more interesting parts for me were the moments where Steve was raw in his emotions: the announcement of his concert at Madison Square Garden, the moment he finds out he can’t play there – even the tears he sheds recounting the last days of his father’s life. Rocky Aoki was a big name: not only did he establish Benihana, he was also an adrenaline junkie. I knew very little going in about the elder Aoki, but, by the time I’d finished watching the film, I had a solid idea of what he was like. Just to give you a taste – here’s a line from Steve:

“He broke a record hot air ballooning. He really didn’t know what the f*ck he was doing. He just did it. Growing up, it was always, ‘how do I impress my father?’”

Everyone in this film doesn’t shy away from the fact Steve not only wanted to impress his father, but that the two are so similar. You can tell that Steve really is his father’s son, despite Rocky’s claims:

“Business comes number one. Health comes number two. Family comes number three.”

This won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s worth checking out if you just happen to be surfing Netflix, and are curious to get a glimpse into the lives of both Aokis.

Three-and-a-half house records out of five.


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