Jack Nicholson, Bob Rafelson, Bert Schneider (executive) for Raybert Productions
directed by Bob Rafelson
starring the Monkees (= Peter Dork, Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith), Annette Funicello, Timothy Carey, Logan Ramsey, Abraham Sofaer, Vito Scotti, Charles Macaulay, T.C. Jones, Charles Irving, William Bagdad, Percy Helton, Sonny Liston, Ray Nitschke, Carol Doda, Frank Zappa, June Fairchild, Teri Garr, I.J. Jefferson, Victor Mature, Terry Chambers, Mike Burns, Esther Shepard, Kristine Helstoski, John Hoffman, Linda Weaver, Jim Hanley, Tor Johnson, Bob Rafelson, Jack Nicholson
written by Jack Nicholson, Bob Rafelson, incidental music by Ken Thorne, songs by the Monkees
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The Monkees (Peter Tork, Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith)
just had a popular run on television from 1966 to 1968 as pretty much a
Beatles-parody, and this movie was to take their career to the next level
- but instead of more infantile yet endearing slapstick, we are presented
with ... something else.
The point here is, Head doesn't
have a plot in the narrative sense of the word, it's more of a trip-like
experience that starts with Micky Dolenz throwing himself off a bridge,
then takes the Monkees through all kinds of situations - war, desert,
jungle adventure, boxing arena, inside a vacuum cleaner, and so on - to
finally make them realize they are caught in a box, and to free
themselves, the four throw themselves off a bridge once more. Now if this
synopsis does make any sense, it doesn't do the movie any real justice.
problem with the film though is not so much its lack of actual plot, but
it's lack of actual gags, coupled with its often too blunt sociopolitical
messages and its mis-guided satire. And somehow you can't help thinking
that Bob Rafelson and his willing and ambitious pre-superstar collaborator
Jack Nicholson were desperately trying to aim for the arthouse crowd -
which would account for many a pretentious scene.
Of course, this
hasn't prevented the movie from being regarded as a cult item, mostly
though I think by people who haven't seen it or by people who confuse its
being a perfect mirror of its time (which Head undoubtedly is) with
actual artistic inspiration - but actually that's exactly what Head
is, little more than a mildly amusing trip down memory lane, and at least
I for one am grateful that Jack Nicholson pretty much gave up
scriptwriting soon after that to concentrate on acting, a field in which
he has as of yet failed to disappoint me.