Movie Reviews (such as they are)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Ostensibly, DiG! tells the story of two rock 'n' roll bands: The Dandy Warhols and The Brian Jonestown Massacre. The two were friends back in the day, playing gigs together, and the BJM were greatly influential on the Dandys. BJM frontman Anton Newcombe wanted to start a revolution and did not want to play the corporate rock game; the Dandys were happy (at least on the surface) to sell out for success.

What we have here is two parallel tales, informing us how the paths of these two groups diverged. In some ways, it's a cautionary tale; in others, it could be seen as some sort of bible on how to fail in the music biz (in much the same way that Overnight could be seen as how to fail in the movie biz).

This documentary is funny a lot of the time, but there are hints of sadness. Ultimately we are supposed to feel for Newcombe, but although he has some likable traits, it's hard to see him as anything other than a bit of a self-destructive loser. You just wouldn't want to be in a band with him, y'know? (Okay, maybe "loser" is a bit strong; but how else can you term someone who wants success but then bites the hand that tries to feed him every time? It's not like anyone asked him to sell out, y'know.)

The film is a riveting watch, and you may well spend a good amount of the running time slack-jawed with disbelief. While I'm not a fan of either band, it's telling that the least interesting of the two are the biggest success. And I dare say when they're writing the book of rock history in a few decades' time, the Dandys may well be simply a footnote to the creativity of Newcombe and The Brian Jonestown Massacre.

I give DiG! 72 points out of 100.

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