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Head (Criterion) (1968)

Cast: Peter Tork, Peter Tork, Davy Jones, more...
Director: Bob Rafelson, Bob Rafelson
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Studio: Criterion
Genre: Comedies, Cult, Camp, Criterion Collection
Running Time: 96 min.
Languages: English
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The Monkees -- Micky Dolenz, Mike Nesmith, Davy Jones and Peter Tork -- didn't really enjoy being labelled the Prefab Four back when their TV series was all the rage in 1966. With the help and support of Bob Rafaelson (co-producer, co-writer and director) and Jack Nicholson (co-producer, co-writer, and, if you look closely, bit player), the Monkees expressed their displeasure over being packaged for popular consumption in the non sequitur masterpiece Head. At least, it seems that the film is an indictment of the merchandising of pop stars. It's hard to tell at times, because Head literally has no plot; it is instead a patchwork of loopy sight gags, instant parodies, "camp" cutups, musical numbers and wry inside jokes. Clips of such old movies as the 1934 Karloff-Lugosi epic The Black Cat pop up every so often, as does an impressive lineup of pop-culture icons: Victor Mature, Annette Funicello, Sonny Liston, Frank Zappa (he's the one leading a cow) and Ray Nitschke, as well as such movie-trivia "answers" as Timothy Carey, Vito Scotti, Teri Garr, Percy Helton, Logan Ramsey, Carol Doda, and pre-Divine cross-dresser T.C. Jones. The best bits include a lengthy Golden Boy parody which does double duty as a lampoon of the network's efforts to create "personalities" for the individual Monkees, and a psychedelic buck-and-wing performed by Davy Jones. One gag, in which Micky Dolenz blows up a Coca Cola machine, is usually excised from TV showings. Head did zero business when it first came out thanks to poor distribution, but it has since become a fixture of midnight-movie showings and campus cinema classes. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

The Death of the Monkees-Genious Move! by MMcIntyre February 28, 2006 - 6:30 PM PST
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful
Absolutley brilliant piece of self-suicide for the band, and yes they were, by this point a full-fledged-touring band, and the hated the TV show-This is definitley a dated film-and "a hard days night on acid" is putting it midly. total stream-of conciousness mood throughout the film. The film boast "When you see the end in sight, the beginning may arrive" true to form it starts off with 3 of the Monkees chasing after Micky Dolenz, who jumps off a bridge into the water far below, and all four Monkees Jumping-head first into the water after him-The viewer knows not what to make of it-the lyrics play on "living is a lie, the porpoise is waiting, goodye goodbye" - Killing the image of the band-in their minds-The last scene of the film is identical as the first-Except the band is now on the edge trying not to fall into the water below-all looking scared-they leap in -once again to the tune "the porpoise song" They swim underwater giving the impression of freedom, artistic? musical? personal?-who knows-It's temporary though-as the band, still underwater is now full screen-banging on a glass wall-which drives away with them trapped inside still banging away, with the tank of water now on a flatbed truck with Bob Rafelson sitting in front of the "fishtank" reading a script, The truck drives off the screen and the movie ends. I got it the first time I saw it-I was never really much of a fan until I saw this movie. The midsection between is all power struggles the band has personally or collectively. Bottom Line-This is an absolute Brilliant film and is highly overlooked for the sarcastic gem it is-highly recommended. Sit back and try and figure it out. Then rent the 1st and 2nd seasons of the TV series. Funny how the group requested the removal of the laugh track on the later episodes, because they just did'nt think the scripts and show were funny anymore. They poked more fun at their sucess than the critics did-Yeah, I think I got the whole Monkees thing now-What a bold F'N move-genious.

The best they ever did... by larbeck May 15, 2003 - 7:22 AM PDT
2 out of 5 members found this review helpful
...but that is not necessarily saying a lot. Oh, the film has it's moments and for the time, it was somewhat revolutionary. And I will always love the scene with Zappa giving Davey Jones some good advice that he does not follow. But this attempt by the Monkees did (and still does) fail in their attempt to be taken seriously. We have all grow so much since then.

But I still love the dolphin song and scene with the solarized colours. I remember exactly how they tasted in 60's.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.52)
128 Votes
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