A documentary on the once promising American rock bands The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Warhols. The friendship between respective founders, Anton Newcombe and Courtney Taylor, escalated into bitter rivalry as the Dandy Warhols garnered major international success while the Brian Jonestown Massacre imploded in a haze of drugs.
I wanted to like it more than I actually did... But much of the humor totally escaped me and I walked out only mildly impressed.
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Good films always raise compelling questions, whether the format is fiction or documentary fact.
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As somebody who had not heard any of this before, it became a curious phenomenon to sit and watch a film and slowly have the realities begin to click into place.
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A documentary on the rivalry between two rock bands. On one hand we have The Dandy Warhols, and its leader Courtney Taylor-Taylor, and on the other The Brian Jonestown Massacre, lead by Anton Newcombe. They used to be close friends but their differing lifestyles and ambitions, especially that of Anton Newcombe, have forced them apart, to the point of being enemies.Great musical documentary. Shows well the different paths bands can take and how success changes relationships, ambitions and perspectives. Also shows how destructive success can be, especially the self-destructiveness of drugs.Some great concert footage and some great music too.
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Shot into car from through the windscreen, someone is playing someone else their latest song, someone else didn't react, according to the voice-over. I just wonder how that came to be made. There were too many scenes in this movie that I wondered about how come a camera was there. If the scenes shot where the Warhols descended on a BJM post-party are true then that was inexcusable exploitation to the max, if not, then it was a total fabrication, either way it made me uncomfortable, if that was the purpose? All the way thru this movie I kept wondering how the footage came about. Taken at face value, a nice portrait of the (tortured) genius we all believe ourselves to be.
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Whoa boy.Ever wanted to watch a documentary about a megalomaniacal jerk ruining his own life and alienating everyone around him? Well they exist, in many forms. But have you ever wanted to watch said documentary about one who didn't ultimately succeed in doing anything despite everyone's praises about how much of an artistic "genius" he is? Well you could probably just grab a camera and find someone like that in any local scene (I know they're everywhere and I don't even follow the local scene), or you could save yourself the trouble by spending money watching this tripe.The premise is good and, honestly, it's not as if the filmmakers knew precisely where it was going considering that's one of the difficulties of doing a documentary. We are made to follow two bands, The Brian Jamestown Massacre, lead by Anton, and The Dandy Warhols, lead by Courtney. I've heard of The Dandy Warhols before watching this movie... not so the Brian Jamestown Massacre. Why? Well from this documentary's perspective, because The Brian Jamestown Massacre's intergroup dysfunction refused them the ability to really make it in the music industry. However, instead of this becoming an analysis of the two separate bands and how one was able to succeed, the focus becomes much more on Anton and his insanity.Because, see, Anton is a "genius." Because he plays rock music. He really "understands the evolution of music"... because he plays rock music with a lot of different instruments. His music is considered "post-modern retro but the future"... because it's rock music. He wants to bring out a "revolution"... through rock music. Okay so let's face it... twenty minutes in and this is one of the stupidest kids I'd care to watch a documentary about.The documentary itself doesn't really lend itself to showcasing any of Anton's talent, because in the nature of editing down 2000 hours of material into a quarter short of two hours we don't really have the time to focus on that. So instead we watch Anton, "the genius", the socio-maniacal loser, be a jerk for the two hours and are just told to understand that he made really great music. Whether he did or not I won't know, because its not like the documentary had enough time to prove it. What I do know is that then we're left with a story about some self-centered obnoxious twerp running around the country calling himself a God of music and doing nothing to back it up. Why even bother watching that? People like Anton don't deserve the attention they seek, the hope and admiration of all those different people, and especially a post-failure paean to lost potential. This movie plays like a two-hour rough-cut VH1 special for a reason: he goes on and on about the music, but it's all about the image and the attention. Look at the guy, look at how he dresses, look at how he acts, look at how he tries to create controversy because he can't afford marketing.Honestly the only interesting character in this film is Joel, and that's because of anyone in this documentary, Joel is the only person who seems to have any fun. Maybe it's because he's the tambourine man. The rest of them are all "rock stars"! They deserve our attention, and admiration, and interest, and engagements! They are out there to "save rock and roll." Do you remember when The White Stripes were supposed to "save rock and roll"? Yeah, that was because of Anton, and it's "selfish of them not to mention me (Anton) as an inspiration." What a load. People like Anton are best left forgotten. This documentary explains why mainstream music is so dull--because music execs have to deal with people like Anton for a living and ultimately can only really throw their support behind someone safe and passionless. Thanks a lot, Anton. Your antics ruined music for EVERYONE you touched, whatever the opinion to the contrary is. And if people "in the know" about Anton disagree and he really was a genius, it still shows how bad this documentary is that it cuts it down that way.--PolarisDiB
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Anton Newcombe and Courtney Taylor are friends, they both are the leads in their own respective bands; Anton with The Brian Jonestown Massacre and Courtney with The Dandy Warhols. What's interesting about their friendship is that they are rivals; its a love hate relationship. At times you both hear them praising one another, but the next second they are complaining at how stupid and self absorbed they are. While the Dandy Warhols went on the reach commercial success, BJM still was stuck in the underground scene; and for good reason why.The focus of Dig! is more towards Anton and the BJM, as they have a lot more substance. They are the most dysfunctional band. During gigs they will fight and bash each other. Anton will hit other members if he feels they aren't performing correctly. With the amount of drugs an alcohol they consume, fight was always waiting to happen. You know how people go to car races just to see if a huge car crash happens; that's why people would go to their gigs, for the fights. Anton is very unstable. Always thinking himself as a music messiah, he wants to change music and create a revolution, but he could never get out of the underground. He is a very talented musician, its amazing how many instruments he can play and with such skill. But his draw back is he cant escape the world he created; a prolific musician stuck in a black hole drugs, alcohol and depression. On the other side, the Dandy Warhols were having their own troubles. They didn't find much success with their first album and were constantly fighting with their record label. But they found huge success in Europe. But Courtney keeps being sucked back into the world of Anton. Its interesting that both Anton and Courtney both had what the other needed. Courtney always wanted to be musically talented as Anton, though Anton wouldn't say it, he needed the commercial success that the Dandy's had, to make his revolution.Over the seven year course the film crew followed these two bands, there is a lot of footage. There is never a dull moment in Dig!. It is constantly moving along as it doesn't have time to slow down as it has to much to say, seven years of story telling in the 1h 45mins is a hard job. Ondi Timoner has done a great job of piecing together one of the best music documentaries that makes you always wanting more. Even if you don't like the bands it still deserves viewing; it transcends the music to reveal a great story of a successful failure.You wont be disappointed.