'Friends Forever'

One potentially shitty aspect of being in a band is booking shows, as demonstrated in this documentary (on disc March 11). It's not easy to get good gigs unless your band is already established; and in order to be established, well, you gotta get some good gigs. The Denver band Friends Forever, however, came up with a pretty good solutionits two members just pull up alongside a desirable stretch of curb near a club or bar, fire up their smoke machine, and play from inside their orange VW van.

Over the course of eight months, daring director Ben Wolfinsohn tagged along while drummer Nate, bassist Josh, and opening act/lighting director Jenand the three Friends Forever dogstraveled from California to New York. Shot on digital video, the documentary that came out of that long, strange trip has a decidedly lo-fi style, but it's got such heart that you'll hardly care. And even though Josh and Nate are perpetually "on," and their cheeky monologues almost seem scripted, there's just no getting around the fact that no one would travel across the country to play to almost no one night after night unless they were, in fact, friends forever.

Despite not one but two (!) scenes of a fan drinking his own vomit, Friends is not your typical rockumentary. Then again, no one ever said Friends Forever was a typical band. It's a stretch to call them "experimental." Even "noise rock" seems too generous a term. But nonetheless, after seeing this movie, if I heard they'd pulled up outside the Showbox, I'd be there. -Laura Cassidy

You should also line up at your video store for Krzystof Kieslowski's "Three Colors" trilogy (Red, White, Blue), new to disc March 4; Juliette Binoche provides commentary, among other extras. On the same date, Mira Nair's wrenching 1988 Salaam Bombay! debuts on DVD. Starring Sean Penn and Elizabeth Hurley, The Weight of Water deserves a look, as does the 1984 treatment of Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, with Steppenwolf vets Gary Sinise and John Malkovich. And Facets Video is putting out a set of director James Fotopoulos' avant-garde work, which sure beats the hell out of Steven Seagal in Half Past Dead. -Brian Miller


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