"I am ... proud of 'Head'," Mike Nesmith has said. He should be,because this film, which either has been derided by many of us orstudied and scrutinized by film professors, works on many levels.<br><br>Yes, it's unconventional. To many, frustrating. It's almost as if theproducers hand you the film and tempt: "You figure it out."<br><br>You probably already know that The Monkees TV show was a runawaymarketing success that depended upon business acumen and no smallserving of public deception. TV shows are about selling soap andtoothpaste first, than to entertain. That The Monkees broke out of thebox for a short time to make "Head" is a testament to the group'spopularity and importance in pop culture, despite where your head's at.Get one thing straight: "Head" is not The Monkees TV show.<br><br>So what we have here is a "psychedelic documentary" about Western popculture from a source that has authority on the subject. "Head" is amovie that could only come from those "inside the box". By 1968, TheMonkees' cast and crew were seasoned and weary professionals who hadseen their share of promise and disappointment. The movie was adeliberate attempt at market repositioning. So, it did three things:Make a film the way The Monkees envisioned. Most importantly, reinventthe group to one not subservient to it's old bosses - and yas, hipperthan before. Make a film that exposed American attitudes of informationdissemination.<br><br>"Head", therefore, really is about media manipulation and its netresult: deception. The mass media is supposed to inform, educate us onthe happenings in the world at large, and ultimately asks us to formopinions of these events that can shape thought into positive action.Thus we assume the information we absorb to be complete and unbiased -otherwise, how can one establish a valued conclusion on any one ideapresented by a book, newspaper or TV show? In one of the streetinterviews in "Head", a guy admits, "I haven't looked at a newspaper orTV in years." Is he lesser or better the man? Even the drug parallelsare a soft veiling of "Things are not as they seem." Remember the oldjoke, "Everything you know is wrong"? The screenplay starts with TheMonkees' public admission of it's own "manufactured image" and runswith the football - literally. Is the football scene in the movie avisual manifestation of the whole idea behind "Head"? Is the film astream-of-consciousness exercise? Is the film the culmination of potsmoking marathons? There are too many coincidences that occur in thefilm that suggest otherwise. My guess is that "Head" is the culminationof motivations somewhere between intended and unintended.<br><br>Largely, the insiders responsible for "Head" seem to enjoy themselvesin the revelries that take place in the film, but there is anger -anger at the chaos that characterized the late '60s and anger at theway the media, television especially, had changed culture in negativeways. Drugs and violence were strong negative forces in the late '60sand still are, but the producers of "Head" want you to know that poor"information" is a far greater danger.<br><br>Wars have been attributed to hoaxes and lies. What perfect way tospread disinformation than through TV? Repeatedly, the mysterious blackbox is seen as an obstacle to The Monkees and seemingly, all of us aswell. In one scene, Peter is sullenly sitting in a saloon holding amelting ice cream cone, and is asked by a fellow Monkey, "What'swrong?" "I bought this ice cream cone and I don't want it." The moviesuggests that the first purpose of the media is NOT to inform, but tosell en mass blindly. "Head" goes further: put any idea into someone'shead, and merrily goes he.<br><br>The filmmakers know this, and the danger is real. "Head" is either amovie that creates itself "as we go along", or is a deliberatestatement. Perhaps, perhaps not. Maybe it is just "Pot meetsadvertising", as critics scathed in 1968. The jokes are on The Monkeesand us. Be careful what you ask for, you may get it.<br><br>Cheers: A true guilty pleasure. Very funny. Intelligent. Will pleasethe fans. Find the substance, it's there. Unabashedly weird. Bizarrecollection of characters. Good tunage. Length is appropriate. Lots ofgreat one liners, including my all time prophetic favorite: "Thetragedy of your times, my young friends, is that you may get exactlywhat you want."<br><br>Caveats: Dated. Drugs. No plot. No linear delivery of any thought inparticular. At least twenty-five stories that interweave in stop-and-go fashion. So, may easily frustrate. May seem pretentious to some.People who can't stand The Monkees need not watch, though that initself is no reason to avoid it. The psychedelic special effects maykill your ailing picture tube or your acid burnt- out eyeballs.<br><br>Match, cut.
Comedy / Musical
Comedy / Musical
Running in from seemingly nowhere, , , & - better known collectively as - disrupt a bridge opening ceremony. From where and why did they come to disrupt the proceedings? They were filming a series of vignettes in several different genres, including a wild west sequence, a desert war sequence, a Confederate war sequence, and a science fiction sequence. They disagree with much of what is happening around them, and try to figure out how to escape the oppression they feel - symbolized by a big black box in which they are seemingly imprisoned - by the forces around. That oppression is often shown in the form of "The Big ".
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