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Head ()

directed by
featuring Peter Tork, Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, Annette Funicello

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, Rovi Hide synopsis

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