SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL 2024 REVIEW! In director Ondi Timoner’s legendary rock doc Dig! XX , we find out why heroin is so passé. This is a revisiting of her Sundance award winner from 20 years ago that adds over 40 minutes of previously unreleased footage as well as new additional narration. Starting in 1995, the film follows The Dandy Warhols as they reach the top, as well as the race to the bottom by a no-hit wonder called The Brian Jonestown Massacre. Courtney Taylor-Taylor, the leader of the Dandy Warhols, narrates how both bands were friends at the beginning of their careers. He talks about how much he admires the songwriting by Anton Newcombe, founder of BJM.
Then, the new narration by longtime BJM member Joel Gion kicks in, spilling the beans about how much abuse he and other bandmates suffered at the hands of Newcombe. Taylor-Taylor’s band gets a record deal while Newcombe ruins his big break by having a hissy fit and pounding on his bandmates during a Viper Room showcase. BJM is like a decrepit summer camp where the head counselor repeatedly breaks the arms of campers. Then those campers leave and go on to much better bands.
“…the race to the bottom by a no-hit wonder called The Brian Jonestown Massacre.”
The Dandy Warhols deal with promotional mismanagement from their label as well as little interest on the U.S. charts. Meanwhile, BJM has to deal with perpetual disaster at the hands of their self-sabotaging narcissist leader. Newcombe finds failure with the precision of a hog finding truffles, except in this case, it’s heroin. Will the Dandy Warhols ever succeed in the industry rat race? Will Newcombe stop punching himself and anyone with reaching distance in the face long enough to get anywhere?
Soon after its initial release, the original cut of Dig! joined the ranks of This Is Spinal Tap as a movie musicians sought out and watched over and over. While it is fun to cheer the rise of the Dandys, the real gas was the egomaniacal stooge show of Newcombe repeatedly messing it up. Musicians delight in seeing musicians onscreen who are comically stupider than they are. Even the dumbest musician on Earth would look at all the many chances Newcombe blows and think he’s the biggest moron in rock and roll history. It’s like watching a thousand tiny Stonehenges lowering in unison.
"…the BJM Kool-aid has no sugar, water, or glass."