Jane's Addiction

Gift

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When Jane's Addiction released their exceptional 1990 breakthrough album, Ritual De Lo Habitual, their record company, Warner Bros., gave the band the expected funding to film several promotional videos for MTV. Instead, singer Perry Farrell and then-girlfriend Casey Niccoli wrote and directed a low-budget video-movie, Gift. Although it wasn't issued until a few years after the band's demise (in 1993) and focuses primarily around Farrell and Niccoli, the 80-minute video is indeed amateurish (the acting, dialogue, etc.), but very interesting, as well. The story line takes place during the recording of Ritual, as Farrell returns from a recording session to discover that his girlfriend is dead from a lethal dose of heroin, so most of the script is in flashback mode. Not a video for the faint of heart (there's plenty of hard drug use via needles), the video has its lighthearted moments as well. There are several humorous characters/scenes straight out of a David Lee Roth video: an insincere gynecologist, a drug counseling session with 20 or so patients that borders on the Twilight Zone (including a cameo by Farrell as a doctor), two coldhearted policemen, and a dense pizza delivery dude. Also included are in-concert versions of "Stop!" and "Ain't No Right," as well as an intriguing clip for Ritual's closing ballad, "Classic Girl," in which Farrell and Niccoli get married, and a tension-filled cover of Sly Stone's "Don't Call Me Nigger, Whitey," performed by Jane's Addiction and Ice T's Body Count. Although Gift wasn't the ultimate Jane's Addiction documentary that many fans hoped it would be (the other members are seen only when performing songs), fans of the band should definitely check it out.