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  • Drive Well, Sleep Carefully - On the Road with Death Cab for Cutie
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Drive Well, Sleep Carefully - On the Road with Death Cab for Cutie


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Product Description

Drive Well Sleep Carefully joins Death Cab for Cutie on tour in the spring of 2004. Filmmaker Justin Mitchell captured dozens of shows across the country and interviewed the band at length in their hometown of Seattle.

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What Filmmaker Justin Mitchell captured in Drive Well, Sleep Carefully is a hybrid concert film and meditation on the strange loneliness and lure of touring. In the spring of 2004, Death Cab for Cutie were on the home stretch of their Transatlantisicm tour that spanned three continents over nearly four months. Mitchell (Dirty Old Town, Songs for Cassavetes) had never been to a Death Cab show before he hooked up with guitarist and vocalist Ben Gibbard, bassist Nick Harmer, guitarist and sometimes organist Chris Walla, and drummer Jason McGerr to shoot the tour's final three weeks, then met them in their hometown of Seattle for post-road interviews. The documentary catches the band at a moment fraught with possibility: after six years of extended tours, four acclaimed full-length albums, regular name-checks on The O.C., and the explosion of Gibbard's side project, the Postal Service, they're poised to trade hard-earned indie success for the wider possibilities offered by a contract with Atlantic Records.

Anyone getting their first look at Death Cab live on this film should expect to be set back on their heels by the band's capacity to tear it up. They’re frequently called "poppy," but what transpires onstage is flat-out rock & roll. Mitchell tucks most of the interview and road footage between the film's 13 performances, but when he overlays images with the music or breaks for commentary, the effect is nearly always complementary. "Title and Registration" in New Orleans feels even more bleakly beautiful spliced with rainy bayou road images. "We Looked Like Giants" smoothly detours into Gibbard's musings on young love, then cuts back into the performance for a duel-drum-set jam session. "Styrofoam Plates" gets briefly interrupted for an eloquent digression on the funeral that inspired the lyrics; it's just unfortunate that for the remainder of the song the vocals sound so submerged. Given that most of Death Cab's fans are enamored with their lyrics, the film's major flaw is that they're occasionally buried and indiscernible, particularly when a performance takes a ferocious turn--but in consolation, these smackdowns are when the band seems most in their element.

After witnessing this enthusiasm, it's a little surprising to hear that the touring life has started to feel mundane. Aside from the occasional ascent up the speakers to keep things lively, they’re fighting this sensation by putting themselves in the mindset of the folks at their shows. For Harmer, playing huge rooms has made him obsessed with the guys in the back: "Are they rockin' out?" Walla says that he's been making more eye contact with fans on this tour "just to see what's going on," and he's delighted by the huge grins that elicits. Due to their relentless schedule and the "comfy cocoon" of their new tour bus, shows provide their only opportunity to connect and glimpse the impact they're making outside of the dream state of the tour. As McGerr describes it, "You can't see in front of you or behind you. You're engulfed in a fog, and you don't know what things will look like when the fog lifts." This film draws viewers to the edge of this fog, and they sense its charmed disorientation.

DVD Features

The whirlwind nature of the project (compared to, say, the seven years of film that went into DiG!) presumably didn't leave Mitchell the luxury of a ton of spare footage, but the disc includes several worthwhile extras. The "Stability" rehearsal's marred by the muddy, distant quality of the vocals, but the instruments are solid, and it's interesting to see their practice space. An acoustic set of three songs at San Francisco's Metreon comes with some fun banter (Walla declaring his reverence for Sarah Vowell, Gibbard jokingly deflecting a question about his side project), and the stripped-down performance offers a spare beauty uncommon at their electrified shows. The additional interviews include a demonstration of drummer McGerr's rhythmic prowess; a story about the band embracing the slickest stage they ever played and, in Harmer's words, "turning it into the Death Cab on Ice Show" (Gibbard: "I must have fell five or six times on my ass"); and more historical details from "producer, sometimes-arranger-type" Walla on the Hall of Justice studios, a building that, before--becoming the secret headquarters for tracking and mixing The Photo Album and much of Transatlanticism--witnessed the creation of Nirvana's Bleach. The Andycam feature will be most enjoyed by expats of Spokane, WA, for a drunken late-night walking tour of their city, including perhaps the most hilarious 10 seconds of the entire film--the grim look on Gibbard's face as the camera pans the only nightclub they could locate. But the best extra is an intense, gorgeous demo version of "Lightness" with vocal percussion, playing over a triumphant tour montage. If only the circular nature of Transatlanticism hadn't precluded burying this treasure at the end. --Mari Malcolm

Recommended Death Cab for Cutie Discography


Transatlanticism, 2003

The Photo Album, 2001

We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes, 2000

Forbidden Love EP, 2000

Something About Airplanes, 1999

You Can Play These Songs with Chords, 2002

More Music Documentaries from Plexifilm


I Am Trying to Break Your Heart: A Film About Wilco

Moog

Gigantic (A Tale of Two Johns): A Movie About They Might Be Giants

Special Features

  • Track List:
  • THE SOUND OF SETTLING
  • THE NEW YEAR
  • WE LAUGH INDOORS
  • STYROFOAM PLATES
  • TITLE AND REGISTRATION
  • COMPANY CALLS
  • TINY VESSELS
  • TRANSATLANTICISM
  • EXPO  
  • WE LOOKED LIKE GIANTS
  • WHY YOU'D WANT TO LIVE HERE
  • PROVE MY HYPOTHESIS
  • BEND TO SQUARES
  • DVD Extras:
  • Acoustic Set at The Metreon, San Francisco
  • - The New Year
  • - Title and Registration
  • - Lightness
  • Stability in Rehearsal
  • Lightness Demo Montage
  • Andycam Behind-the-Scenes Footage
  • Additional Interviews

Product Details

  • Actors: Death Cab for Cutie, Benjamin Gibbard, Nick Harmer, Jason McGerr, Chris Walla
  • Directors: Justin Mitchell
  • Producers: Justin Mitchell, Andrew Dreskin, Chris Ronis, Gary Hustwit
  • Format: Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Plexifilm
  • DVD Release Date: July 26, 2005
  • Run Time: 127 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009UZGHI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #90,866 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Drive Well, Sleep Carefully - On the Road with Death Cab for Cutie" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By C. Mackey on July 27, 2005
Format: DVD
Not many "indie" bands get to have their own DVD, especially one of this quality. From start to finish "Drive Well, Sleep Carefully" is a joy for any fan of Death Cab or indie music. The interviews are very insightful (and often times funny) and the music is just awesome. Death Cab sound a lot different live than on record (read: heavier), and it is really great to watch such a finely tuned band play with eachother, giving new dimensions to their songs(new & old alike). Definitely worth a purchase!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By ebmAddikt on December 12, 2005
Format: DVD
Every rock band needs to make at least one tour video like this! Drive Well, Sleep Carefully portrays an honest and humble perspective of the band playing at sell-out venues accross the country. What I find really great about this film is, for one, the live songs are not from one single showing, and the track listing on the back cover tells you which city the song is played in. Another is that throughout the video you get to see and hear the band talk about life as a rock band, or life in general, and they may sometimes comment about the song they're about to play or tell you which up-coming movie they're excited to see - it's very fun to watch the band just be themselves having fun and admitting that they're just ordinary people like everyone else.

In addition to this, there are plenty good extras to burn your time away for 41 minutes. One of my favorites is the band practice for Stability - anyone who's ever been in a band can relate to just zoning out and getting lost in a few good measures of music played in a seemingnly endless cycle... that's now captured here on video! :) Altho obviously cut short (10 minutes), Im sure the band carried on for at least another hour.

enjoy!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By DrumJ8 on March 11, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I had a Death Cab for Cutie phase, so this DVD was perfect. If you're only semi into them, or only like a few songs, you might not like the DVD. If they're at the top or near the top of your list of good music these days, I'd recommend it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By volto on July 25, 2007
Format: DVD
I saw this last night on the Encore channel and am looking this group up for the first time. So in a sense I'm reviewing this film purely, with no previous notion of who they are. I thought it was a very honest portrail, and showed a beautifully unpolished side of this group, a group which I've only heard as hit songs on the radio until last night. I was struck by how different they sound at live shows. More grinding, organic and when I listened to deeper songs than what I have heard on the radio, their rhythems are really interesting, especially to a musician like me. It's a great thing when I can hear many different layers of things going on in a song. They play loose and tight at the same time. I was impressed with their character too. They seemed very gratious, for example, saying several years ago they couldn't have imagined that they would go from having a little van to a giant tour bus, let alone a need for a bus. I was encouraged by discussion about their song "We Looked Like Giants", how when you are a kid your opportunities seem unlimited and as we get older some of those opportunities become less and less. I was glad someone else felt the same way. I like how the film goes back and forth between songs and interview. And like a previous review said the film matches some of the tour footage really nicely with songs.

Well, this film was good enough to a) stop me from flipping through channels and watch it till the end, b) look up their songs on the internet the next morning, c) write a review about the film. So with that considered i'd say it's a great film, especially for anyone who wants a little more depth in their music. I think I'm going to have some fun now discovering the different songs I liked from the film, this morning I had the song "Transatlanticism" in mind to look up, because I liked the distant drum beat.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Chris Daniel on September 23, 2005
Format: DVD
i love the dvd the only thing that irkes me is the way that interviews are intertwined with concert footage. sometimes i really want to hear a part but conversation interrupts it. thats the only thing that bothers me. other than that the dvd alone is worth the price to hear the lightness demo.. its so amazing. its funny, on the back it says "the sound of settling" demo but its not on the dvd anywhere. did they just mess that up or is it hidden somewhere?
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mayberry That's Me on August 7, 2005
Format: DVD
And I mean that in a good way. There often isn't much connection between what is being said by Death Cab and what is being shown on the screen, but it all works nicely in the end. The concert footage is good, and the guys were really mellow, and all seemed like genuinely nice human beings with zero rock star attitude.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kida on March 2, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Drive Well, Sleep Carefully is visually interesting with great tunes and tons of live footage. For those who are looking for a "live" dvd with uncut performances, this dvd is not for you. The whole disc feels more like a documentary than a live and uncut sort of disc. That's not entirely a bad thing, because voice overs add to the overall artistic feel of the disc. It seems like some people have given this dvd a lot of negative feedback because the members of Deatcab come off as whiny occasionally;however, it seems that many reviews that give negative feedback do not take into consideration that being a "rockstar" is a difficult job. Frankly, Deathcab is rather honest in many parts of the film, and Drive Well, Sleep Carefully shows a dimension of touring that a lot of music fans do not see. Overall, this disc is worth adding to a disc collection for non-Deatcab and Deathcab fans alike.
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