Dandy Massacre: DiG! is that rare rock doc that provides characters and a story.

DiG! (DVD)

Everybody loves to see a good bitch-slapping, and the expanded DVD version of this Sundance Award-winning documentary on two friendly bands turned rivals gives you bitch-slapping in any number of directions. What was originally slated as a Brian Jonestown Massacre documentary grew to encompass the Dandy Warhols when BJM went gaga for their demo on camera. Like two people passing on opposite escalators, there's a brief period where both bands were on the same level before one gradually ascended to the heavens and the other plummeted to the gutter. That's the oversimplified view director Ondi Timoner explores by including every BJM onstage fistfight, but only one scene of BJM's tortured genius Anton Newcombe living up to the praise heaped upon him. But hey, it's great cinema when your band makes good on its Brian Jones namesake -- you get jealous, petty, violent, paranoid, stoned and fragile Brian Joneses, sometimes all in the same scene. When BJM does an industry showcase at the Viper Room, it degenerates into an all-out band brawl (which you can extend along with lots of other deleted scenes, thanks to the special zoom feature on the DVD).

Even as total screw-ups, BJM comes off several shades more lovable than the Dandy Warhols, who seem too smitten with themselves once they go overseas to stadiums full of fans mouthing the words to their songs, while the Jones boys play to 10 people at a Communist Party Headquarters in Ohio. Although everyone is reportedly on good terms again, it still gets occasionally nasty between the two camps during their commentaries. Actually, if they could've just isolated the quips from Joel Gion, BJM's tambourine player, it would be the best movie commentary ever. His asides are hilarious and vicious, like when Courtney Taylor-Taylor does his on-screen Amadeus impersonation and Gion cracks, "Dream on, Salieri." Oddly enough, when Taylor-Taylor comments that he does everything in this band, his bandmates don't challenge him. But that's what "Where are they now?" extras are for.


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