GenreDocumentary, Music WriterOndi Timoner LanguageEnglish
Release date18 January 2004 (2004-01-18) Music directorThe Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Dandy Warhols AwardsSundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize - U.S. Documentary CastThe Dandy Warhols (Themselves), The Brian Jonestown Massacre (Themselves), Genesis P-Orridge (Commentator), Adam Shore (Commentator) Similar moviesStraight Outta Compton, Evanescence: Anywhere But Home, Dead Kennedys: The Early Years, As I lay Dying: This Is Who We Are, Jeff Tweedy: Sunken Treasure: Live in the Pacific Northwest, Collective Soul: Home
Dig! is a documentary film directed by Ondi Timoner, and produced by Timoner, Vasco Nunes and David Timoner. Compiled from seven years of footage, it contrasts the developing careers and love–hate relationship of the bands The Dandy Warhols and The Brian Jonestown Massacre and the bands' respective frontmen Courtney Taylor-Taylor and Anton Newcombe. It won the Documentary Grand Jury Prize at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival.
Taylor-Taylor, Newcombe and Warhols guitarist Peter Holmstrom have all criticized the film as being unfair in its portrayal of Newcombe and The Brian Jonestown Massacre. On The Brian Jonestown Massacre's official website the film was denounced as reducing several years of hard work to "at best a series of punch-ups and mishaps taken out of context, and at worst bold faced lies and misrepresentation of fact." Courtney Taylor-Taylor said in an interview: "It's a movie, not a documentary [...] She worked her ass off and forged a plot when there was no plot. She crafted the thing to swell and ebb by taking eight years of us and a year and a half of the Brian Jonestown Massacre". Holmstrom was generally displeased with the film initially, citing Timoner's use of footage that he claims "was not to be used" as a reason, but has maintained that "it's still a good film", though one "I would have done differently". Dandy Warhols drummer Brent DeBoer noted the film could have easily been a "feel-good story", but instead a few rare moments were specifically chosen to give the film a "Jerry Springer"-type storyline.
The story also leaves one with the impression, by using Courtney as a voice over, that The Brian Jonestown Massacre were no longer a band. There was no update regarding Anton at the time of release.
The film was generally very well-received critically. It currently has an approval rating of 90% on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 69 reviews. BBC Movies called it "Erratic, tragic, and absolutely hilarious: Dig! is fantastic filmmaking" that "works as both a savagely funny rockumentary and a sardonic comment on the politics of selling out." Empire gave the film five stars out of five.
Allmovie, while giving the film a generally positive review, criticized the film's emphasis, writing "DIG! isn't as concerned with differences in the groups' musical styles (few songs are heard for more than a few bars at a time) as it is with personalities and interpersonal conflict. In this regard, it echoes the purportedly superficial concerns of the fickle industry it depicts, and it's not entirely clear whether this is Timoner's intent [...] In the end, the music should matter more than it apparently does."
PopMatters gave the film a mixed review, commenting that "The film is less effective at conveying the genius of Anton Newcombe than the madness, possibly because the latter only requires a camera and Anton himself" but ultimately called it "fascinating" as a "behind-the-music-scenes glimpse".