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Dig!

4.2 out of 5 stars 86 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

ANTON A NEWCOMBE OF THE BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE & COURTNEY TAYLOR OF THE DANDY WARHOLS ARE STAR-CROSSED FRIENDS & BITTER RIVALS - THIS IS THE TRUE STORY OF THEIR LOVES & OBSESSIONS, GIGS & RECORDINGS, ARRESTS & DEATH THREATS, UPPERS & DOWNERS - & THE DELICATE BALANCE BETWEEN ART & COMMERCE.

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Italian fabulist Italo Calvino observed that there are two kinds of artists--those who are prolific and successful, and the tortured geniuses, each gazing at the other in deep jealousy and admiration. The two rock bands chronicled in the documentary DiG! fall easily into this equation. On the side of the tortured geniuses is the Brian Jonestown Massacre, led by the psychedelic and volatile Anton Newcombe. Portland's the Dandy Warhols, fronted by Courtney Taylor, fulfill the role of the artists who, while unable to plumb the artistic depths of their friendly rivals, achieve a fair degree of popular acclaim (in Europe, anyway). Shot over seven years and containing some astonishingly intimate footage, the film represents a labor of love for director Ondi Timoner, who befriended, lived, and traveled with the bands. DiG! will likely be most remembered for a remarkable scene of rock and roll implosion--a show in LA's Viper Room after which the Brian Jonestown Massacre were expected to ink a record deal. Instead, the band erupted in a fist fight onstage. Among themselves.

Does it go uphill or downhill from here? Depends on your definition of the terms. While dooming their careers, the Brian Jonestown Massacre manage to crank out an insane number of self-distributed albums--including three records in a single year. Courtney Taylor and the Dandies regard the musical output of their peers worshipfully and find themselves virtually ignored stateside but huge stars across the pond. While tens of thousands of fans in Germany and the UK sing along to every word at sold-out festivals headlined by the Dandies, Newscombe leads his crew in a nine-hour set in a dingy club for an audience of ten. Throughout the film there are controlled substances imbibed, clothing shed, sitars broken, punches thrown, arrests made. Taylor performs double duty as narrator of the film, begging the question of whether to accept his assertion that he fronts "the most well-adjusted band in America" at face value. The destined-for-greater-things Joel Gion, BJM's tambourine player, is the thief of every scene in which he appears, playing Flavor Flav to Newscombe's Chuck D. For those who want even more immersion, the DVD includes the option to "zoom," or expand, various scenes--a very cool feature. Those responsible for the hilarious excesses of DiG! have made a movie worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as This Is Spinal Tap, as mixed an honor as that might be.

DVD Features

The second of this set's two discs is practically its own sequel. Director Ondi Timoner had 1500 hours of footage to work with, so there was plenty of good material left on the cutting-room floor that found its way onto this supplemental disc. The deleted scenes include an unintentionally haunting pre-9/11 interview on a New York rooftop with BJM's Anton Newcombe; the twin towers loom behind the singer as he attempts to justify singing about love yet engaging in violence, drawing tenuous parallels between himself and militant prophets throughout history. This, and Newcombe's delight in listening to Charles Manson's musical recordings, is about as heavy as it gets, though. Other extras include various videos by the bands, with the conspicuous absence of the Dandy Warhol's David LaChapelle-directed "Not if You Were the Last Junkie on Earth." (The omission is understandable in light of the Dandies' sour grapes over the $400,000 video.) The Where Are They Now features find various members of the bands a little older and reflective, with new families and new gigs, reminiscing fondly on the seven years spent under Timoner's watchful spycam. As is the case with the film proper, the mood picks up whenever Joel Gion appears. When is this guy going to get his own talk show? For fans of Timoner's commentary on disc 1 there is--get this--footage of the director and her partners recording that commentary. Why there's no footage of Timoner watching and commenting on the footage of herself recording the commentary is anyone's guess. --Ryan Boudinot

Dig These Discs by the Brian Jonestown Massacre


Tepid Peppermint Wonderland: A Retrospective

Strung Out in Heaven

Bravery Repetition & Noise

And This Is Our Music

Thank God for Mental Illness

Bringing It All Back Home Again

Dig These Discs by the Dandy Warhols


Welcome to the Monkey House

Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia

The Dandy Warhols Come Down

Dig These Documentaries (and One Classic Mockumentary) on DVD


This Is Spinal Tap (Special Edition)

Metallica: Some Kind of Monster

Hype

X (The Band): The Unheard Music

End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones

Gimme Shelter


Special Features

  • 3 audio commentaries: members of the Brian Jonestown Massacre, members of the Dandy Warhols, and the filmmakers
  • Link-outs: an interactive technology allowing viewers to watch the film with extended and deleted scenes
  • Over 2 hours of never-before-seen footage and deleted scenes
  • 3 Dandy Warhols music videos: "TV Theme Song," "Last High" (uncut version), and "Bohemian Like You" (uncut version)
  • 3 Brian Jonestown Massacre live performances: "Anemone," "Oh Lord," and "Jesus"
  • Courtney Taylor and Anton Newscombe jam session
  • "Where are they now?" band member updates
  • A behind-the-scenes look at the commentary track recording sessions
  • Footage from Courtney Taylor's MTV2 Subterranean appearance
  • DiG! at Sundance; awards and interviews

Product Details

  • Actors: Anton Newcombe, Courtney Taylor-Taylor, Joel Gion, Matt Hollywood, Peter Holmstrom
  • Directors: Ondi Timoner
  • Writers: Ondi Timoner
  • Producers: David Timoner, Ondi Timoner, Jeff Frey, Tim Rush, Vasco Nunes
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Special Edition
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Palm Pictures / Umvd
  • DVD Release Date: April 12, 2005
  • Run Time: 107 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007IO740
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,702 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Dig!" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Sure, "Metallica: Some Kind of Monster" got all the love in 2004, but my favorite rock-doc-as-car-crash of last year was this: "DiG!"

Seven-some years in the making, it's director Ondi Timoner's crazy love letter to two men -- Anton Newcombe, leader of The Brian Jonestown Massacre; and Courtney Taylor, head of the Dandy Warhols. Both groups ignited like Apollo 11's on the launch pad of the 1990s music scene but slowly sputtered back down to the ground just as spectacularly.

Newcombe seems like a musical genius who can't resist imploding at the worst possible times and places, while Taylor has the drive and accessibility to succeed without the crucial spark of crazed brilliance. Their friendship/rivalry takes a lot of turns during the course of this film, which was mostly recorded on handheld cameras as the events unfolded.

Everything that's right and wrong with the music industry is here: the inescapable mechanics of the game; the perils of drugs, egomania, overambition, pride and possession of mass quantities of obnoxiousness. Anybody who thinks they might want to make music for money should see this film first.

Plus, there's a lot of great, entertaining footage here: Newcombe's ill-advised handling of a Georgia roadcheck; a run-in with David LaChappelle; and especially the BJM's disastrous, Andy Kaufman-esque meltdown in front of record execs at the Viper Room (you gotta love any fight scene that ends with "motherf----r broke my sitar, man!").

The movie's only significant weakness the fact that Taylor voices the film narration. Yes, he was there and can comment on the events unfolding with a distinct air of authority, but his reading also gives the lines an unignorable bias.
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Format: DVD
"Dig!" is a hilarious, heartbreaking documentary about the dueling indie bands of the '90s--the Dandy Warhols and the Brian Jonestown Massacre. The Brian Jonestown Massacre are the Bad Boys--the Rolling Stones compared to the rather staid (in their private lives,at least) Beatles that are the Dandy Warhols. Anton Newcombe (of the BJM) is the mad genius at the documentary's heart. He has an intense love/hate relationship with the Dandy Warhols. He can't stand them for being "sell-outs",yet he follows them avidly, even stalking their concerts. Ironically, while he dismisses the DWs as pop--I've never heard them on Top 40 Radio. Joel Gion is the true comic of the BJM, while Matt Hollywood, who looks like John Lennon, gives Newcombe some well-needed critique.

"Dig!" provides insight to the indie rock scene of the Pacific Northwest. After all, they were contemporaries with a little Seattle group called Nirvana. As Newcombe notes, the BJM paved the way for the White Stripes being played on pop radio. The Dandy Warhols have their own special studio in Portland, and recently their frontman, Courtney Taylor-Taylor, played guitar on the title track for Pink Martini's Splendor in the Grass. Newcombe has gone solo... and in a tragic footnote, due to his history of violence, he's not allowed to see his own son.

"Dig!" is a bittersweet symphony.
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Format: DVD
DiG! is a documentary that focuses on two promising 1990s rock groups: the Brian Jonestown Massacre and the Dandy Warhols. Though the film ostensibly concerns whether these groups will achieve stardom, it is at its best when it focuses on Anton Newcombe - the leader of the Brian Jonestown Massacre.

As a portrait of an angry, talented young man (Newcombe), DiG! is a success. People in the music industry regard Newcombe as a savant, even though he does everything he can to sabotage his career - fist fights with band mates, arrests for drugs, etc. DiG! offers viewers some insight into the possible roots of Newcombe's problems when discussing his childhood. Though it is sometimes difficult to watch Newcombe destroy himself, it is always interesting.

The material about the Dandy Warhols is middling. The group achieves more success than does the Brian Jonestown Massacre, but their story is just not as interesting. Anton is the main draw.

In short, DiG! is a good documentary that any fan of rock music will enjoy.
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I did not learn of the Dandys until streamed Veronica Mars years after it left TV and I got hooked on the theme song.

After research I ended up buying most of the Dandys catalog. This is a very interesting peek into the back story, very enjoyable. I will now be exploring BJM
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Totally hard-core and real. Best rockumentary I've seen in ages. I am a really devout fan as well as a music journalist and I am biased toward the Dandys to begin with! This however, goes way beyond the usual back-story hassles and drug abuse, which can wear on anyone's brain. Very compelling. "Heroin Is So Passe" was written for Anton Newcombe, who destroyed the band with his addiction to heroin....

Good vendors! Quick delivery. Would highly recommend them.
Lyric/writer, biographer, music journalist
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Easily one of my favorite documentaries of all time. I was only a slight BJM / Dandy fan before watching this but I was left intrigued. It definitely has a huge bias to it but as long as you keep that in mind, it is definitely enjoyable. Since watching, I have become a major fan of both groups.

I would highly recommend this regardless of whether you are a long time fan or never heard of the group. As a movie, independent of the music, it tells a pretty interesting story.
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