Superchunk Crowding Up Your Visual Field

So many bands rush out their first DVD before they have much in their vaults, which is why this 15-year retrospective of America's longest-running indie icons is so satisfying, even when it falters. Here you get 12 videos, 14 live tracks spanning their entire career, including four songs recorded at their first-ever gig, and an hour-long doc on their 2001 tour. All the videos come with band commentary, sometimes by just one member and sometimes all four separately. The latter can be exhausting and fruitless, as each member takes three minutes to tell you the exact same self-deprecating details, mostly focusing on their director's milk fetish, Laura Ballance's hair or Jim Wilbur's lack of it. Drummer Jon Wurster is by far the most entertaining member, both in his commentary and his performances, notably in the teenage girl slumber party found in "The First Part." Only half of the 12 videos are worth repeat viewings, notably the all-marionette "Package Thief," "Watery Hands" with Janeane Garofalo and David Cross, and "Driveway to Driveway," where we get to see the best looking Amer-indie band act out The Philadelphia Story in tuxes and ball gowns. The documentary is nothing to write home about. Unfortunately, any film that promises to document the boredom of being on the road usually delivers and you have to be a hardcore fan to sit through these home movies (then again, who else would buy this?). The bonus live material is far more interesting, especially the four songs from their first show ever (oh, the hair!) and a "Slack Motherfucker" montage that seamlessly edits together four different live versions between 1994 and 2001. Their later material stands the test of time much better than the band's so-called prime. For a band whose fate could have resigned them to an early '90s rut, the most satisfying thing about this DVD is watching old friends evolve and age gracefully. (Merge)