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DIG!
     

DIG!

5.0 4
Director: Ondi Timoner, The Dandy Warhols, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Courtney Taylor

Cast: Ondi Timoner, The Dandy Warhols, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Courtney Taylor

 
Courtney Taylor of the Dandy Warhols provides the narration for Ondi Timoner's DIG!, which documents the divergent paths of two rock bands with similar influences. While the Warhols, self-described as the "most well-adjusted band in America," sold a lot of records in Europe before achieving commercial success in the U.S., the Brian Jonestown Massacre, led by

Overview

Courtney Taylor of the Dandy Warhols provides the narration for Ondi Timoner's DIG!, which documents the divergent paths of two rock bands with similar influences. While the Warhols, self-described as the "most well-adjusted band in America," sold a lot of records in Europe before achieving commercial success in the U.S., the Brian Jonestown Massacre, led by the mercurial Anton Newcombe, self-destructed in an orgy of drug abuse and internal squabbling. Timoner followed the groups' fortunes for about seven years. In the late '90s, the groups met, and Taylor forged a friendship with Newcombe, whom he greatly admired. The bands often played together, and while BJM were being courted for a seemingly surefire major label deal, the Warhols signed with Capitol. As Timoner documents, the record deal and its attendant perks marked the beginning of a rift between the bands, as BJM members seemed to resent the Warhols' success, while the Warhols seemed all too willing to rely on their association with their out-of-control counterparts in BJM to gain a certain punk credibility. Timoner focuses more heavily on the antics of Newcombe and his band, capturing a spectacular meltdown at an industry showcase, a poorly planned tour that finds the band playing a ten-hour show for an audience of around ten people, and an embarrassing drug bust on the road. Eventually, the division between the former friends reaches the point where BJM puts out a record attacking the Warhols, and Newcombe, struggling with a life-threatening drug problem, begins stalking them at their shows, either in a misguided attempt to gain publicity or with sincere ill will. DIG! won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, and was selected for the 2004 edition of New Directors/New Films.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Bill Pearis
Ondi Timoner's wildly entertaining documentary tells a familiar rock n' roll tale, one filled with crazy nights, substance abuse, out-of-control parties, temper tantrums, art-versus-commerce debates, "musical differences," onstage fights, and smashed sitars. What makes DIG! so electrifying is that you see it all unfold in front of the cameras, as Timoner follows the highs and lows of two bands -- the Brian Jonestown Massacre and the Dandy Warhols -- over the course of seven years. The eye of this hurricane is BJM frontman Anton Newcombe, a walking anachronism and true believer who seems straight out of 1968 and worships at the altar of the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, and Love. Part genius, part snake-oil salesman, part megalomaniac, Newcombe truly believes the BJM are here to start a full-scale rock revolution. He picks the Courtney Taylor-led Dandy Warhols, with their similarly punning name and druggy riffs, as allies in the war. The Dandys have just signed with Capitol Records as DIG! begins in 1996, and the BJM looks to be the target of a major-label bidding war. But a showcase at L.A.'s Viper Room before a crowd of A&R people quickly turns into an onstage brawl involving nearly every member of the band. It's indicative of what's to follow: As the Dandys' career takes off, Newcombe's admiration for Taylor turns to jealousy and spite, and the BJM burns through band members like disposable lighters. Although Timoner employs Taylor as the narrator of DIG! -- a charge the latter undertakes with a tone of smug condescension -- the director clearly sees Newcombe (who has denounced this film) as the superior talent. The breakout star of DIG!, though, is the BJM's mutton-chopped tambourine player, Joel Gion, whose hilarious, knowing asides steal nearly every scene he's in. Filled with too many memorable scenes and quotable lines to count, DIG! works as both a cautionary tale and as pure, unbridled entertainment.
All Movie Guide - Josh Ralske
The bearing of temperament, as opposed to talent, on potential success in the music business is entertainingly explored in DIG!, Ondi Timoner's exhaustive document of the diverse fortunes of two bands, the Dandy Warhols and the Brian Jonestown Massacre. Culled from a mind-boggling amount of footage, which Timoner gathered over seven years while following the bands almost from their formations, DIG! isn't as concerned with differences in the groups' musical styles (few songs are heard for more than a few bars at a time) as it is with personalities and interpersonal conflict. In this regard, it echoes the purportedly superficial concerns of the fickle industry it depicts, and it's not entirely clear whether this is Timoner's intent. Still, what she does choose to show contains undeniably engaging drama. There is a brief period during which the band leaders, Courtney Taylor of the Dandy Warhols and Anton Newcombe of the Brian Jonestown Massacre, are on good, mutually admiring terms, and each appear to have a bright future. While the Warhols quickly get signed to a major label, the dementedly demanding Newcombe implodes at an industry showcase over the perceived musical inadequacies of his bandmates. This leads to a startling total meltdown on-stage, as band members quit in mid-set, and the hostilities get physical. Timoner captures more than a few such moments in this engrossing saga, and through such painful (though frequently darkly funny) detail, the film is successful in documenting how Newcombe's personal obsessions and failings derail his surefire musical career. But in presenting the self-proclaimed "most well-adjusted band in America," as a counterexample, complete with Taylor's self-promotional narration, Timoner makes Newcombe seem more responsible for his own failure in the industry than he may actually be. In the end, the music should matter more than it apparently does.
New York Times - A.O. Scott
If universities ever start graduate programs in rock stardom, DIG! will surely be a cornerstone of the curriculum, for it works as both an instruction manual and a cautionary tale.
Boston Globe - Ty Burr
One of the most unforgiving ground-level documentaries about the music business ever made -- the six-string equivalent of Hoop Dreams.
L.A. Weekly - Ernest Hardy
The no-frills documentary also makes it clear that Anton Newcombe is the real deal -- both supremely gifted and organically nuts.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/12/2005
UPC:
0660200310424
Original Release:
2003
Rating:
NR
Source:
Palm Pictures / Umvd
Region Code:
1
Sound:
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Time:
1:47:00
Sales rank:
35,746

Special Features

Disc 1

DIG! viewers can watch extended scenes and extra footage in the context of the film. Extended scenes include The Brian Jonestown Massacre showcase meltdown at the Viper Room in Los Angeles and their trip to the Communist Party Headquarters in Cleveland; Three commentary tracks -- The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Dandy Warhols, the filmmakers Disc 2

15 deleted scenes: Live performances and music videos; "Where Are They Now?" features with many ex-memebers of the BJM; film festival footage, trailers, and more!

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Scene Index

Side #1 -- Feature Film
1. Destroy the System
2. Join Us
3. Ambition and Productivity
4. In Portland Now
5. A Love/Hate Relationship
6. Heroin Makes Him Evil
7. Across America
8. Detroit
9. New York City
10. Busted
11. Shotgun Shells
12. Signed to TVT
13. Tokyo
14. Death Was Everywhere
15. So Lucky
16. Hiding in Darkness
17. I Am the Record Company
18. Credits

Videos

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DIG! 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was quite impressed with this film and found it to be both entertaining and enlightening. Full of some classic scenes (most of which feature the hilarious Anton Newcombe) and great music, the film keeps you glued the whole way through. It offers a good look at the lives of musicians, and at the industry in general. Definitely a must have in the collection of any self-respecting music fanatic.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you like music, enjoy documentaries, or want to have a good laugh you should see this film. The director has done an excellent job and clearly spent a lot of time with this project. This is by far the most entertaining music documentary I have seen in a while. Definitely comes with my recommendation.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is a must see for anyone who likes the Dandys, the Masacre, or just music in general. It follows the bands for something like seven years so it really covers a lot of the ups and downs. It really gives an insider view of the industry. Aside from that it is just wonderfully edited and directed, which makes it an entertaining film all around. I definitely reccomend it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Even if you dont like the two bands, Dig! provides a very intense look into the music industry. There is some really crazy footage of the Anton, the Brian Jonestown Massacre's frontman. This documentary is one of the most entertaining films I have very seen