In the pantheon of rock acts to be forever memorialized in ballpoint on high-school stoners' notebooks, the Doors are second to none—except maybe Led Zeppelin, another band that understood the teen-entrancing power of ominous symbolism and plundered blues. Having a dead member doesn't hurt either, and the Doors were blessed with the greatest dead member a band could want: Jim Morrison, whose sui generis shtick—shamanistic performance poet as honky Howlin' Wolf—helped fuel the band's meteoric rise before Morrison's self-defeating provocations and boring alcoholism broke them apart. (And he died.)

In When You're Strange, director Tom DiCillo mixes classic and never-before-seen footage to recount the Doors myth in all its ego-stroking, era-defining™, terminally adolescent glory. "To Jim, obedience is suicide," narrates Johnny Depp, reverentially describing Morrison as "a poet whose soul was trapped between heaven and hell." If it's initially disappointing that DiCillo's film seems to have been edited by Morrison's ego, things come to life with the legitimately freaky twists and turns of the Doors' career. It's all here, from the band- instigating acid trips to the Doors' on-air defiance of Ed Sullivan to Jim Morrison's official designation as a danger to the nation, thanks to his onstage habit of taunting cops while playing with his wang.

The film is almost wholly reverential, and aside from the found-film framing device, it's not too stylistically different than something you'd see on the Biography channel. But the new performance footage is thrilling, and the whole, well-known Doors saga remains a deep, dark rock tale for the ages. If you like (or have never heard of) the Doors, go see it. recommended