*** Far-out film debut for TV rock group was written (or concocted) by Rafelson and Nicholson before they made a big splash with FIVE EASY PIECES; this overlooked item is a delightful explosion of crazy ideas with no coherent plots, many old film clips, some good songs, and such unlikely gues stars as Sonny Listen and Victor Mature. Well worth seeing.
Originally released in 1968, The Monkees' only feature-length motion picture was a hodgepodge of the group's zany antics laced with tongue-in-cheek surrealism. Cowritten/produced by a very young Jack Nicholson, the movie features eyebrow-raising cameo appearances by the likes of Frank Zappa, Annette Funicello, Teri Garr, and ex-heavy weight champion Sonny Liston! A true cult classic.
*** The TV rock group takes on this odd funny film that's become a cult classic. Nothing makes sense, but writer/director team Rafelson and Nicholson keeps surprising the viewers with wild visual gags and imaginitive editing. Most interesting as cultural artifact of the '60's.
Michael J. Weldon, The Psychotronic Video Guide
The Monkees were in only one movie, released several months after their Help-inspired TV show was cancelled by NBC. It confused their young fans with its plotless, anti-establishment, drug-influenced, musical-comedy segments, as the foursome search for the meaning of life and sing about how phony The Monkees concept is! Now it's a visually fascinating period piece full of Hollywood in-jokes, fringe celebrities, clips from old movies, and Vietnam war footage. The band is seen as dandruff on Victor Mature's head. Their music is criticized by Frank Zappa. Davy is KO'd by Sonny Liston. They encounter topless dancer Carol Doda, Annette Funicello, and Terry Garr. A news clip of a very mean-looking California governor Ronald Reagan is pretty chilling. Also look for clips from The Black Cat and for wrestler Tiger Joe Marsh, who looks like Tor Johnson. Nicholson had just written the script for Roger Corman's The Trip. He worked on HEAD with Rafelson the year before he was recognized as star material in Easy Rider. Nicholson, Dennis Hopper, and Rafelson are all in HEAD, taking part in behind-the-scenes "it's only a movie" gags. Kubrick fans might want to see it for its references to Dr Strangelove Coke machine and the 2001 monolith, plus early Kubrick regular Timothy Carey who takes acting honours in a memorable schizo-scary recurring role. This would make an interesting video double bill with The Trip, for the scenes of Mike Nesmith's bad drug trip, which are similar to Peter Fonda's horror/acid visions. It includes some beautiful solarized colour photography, imaginative FX, and musical segments that would make great rock videos on their own. Monte Hellman was the editor. The songs are some of the group's best and can be also heard on Rhino's re-issued soundtrack album.
Mick Martin and Marsha Porter, Video Movie Guide
*** They get the funniest looks from everyone they meet. And it's no wonder. This film is truly bizarre. The Monkees were hurtled into fame in the aftershock of The Beatles' success. Their ingratiating series was accused of imitating A Hard Day's Night, but their innovative feature-film debut HEAD was ahead of its time. A free-form product of the psychedelic era.
Infamously plotless musical comedy co-written by Nicholson starring the television fab four of the '60's, The Monkees, in their only film appearance. A number of guest stars appear and a collection of old movie clips are also included.