Head (1968)
















Following the paths of such rock bands as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, both of which made movies that reached enormous success, The Monkees made a film that is at best, nonsensical.
The movie begins in a straight-forward fashion, a mayor gets out of his car and proceeds to try to give a speech before he cuts a ribbon for a new bridge. The microphone isn't working so he tries again and again and keeps getting reverberations. Finally, he gives his speech which is remarkably shorter than all his attempts and right at the moment when he is going to cut the ribbon, The Monkees come tearing through and jump off the bridge.
Micky is taken down in the water while one of their songs plays and everything becomes high contrast colors, much like the ending of "2001: A Space Odyssey" and mermaids carry him back up to the surface.
Then a few minutes later we are told the point of the movie—there is no point; and if there was, it would  be to try to cram as many genres that people like into one movie.
I'm sure that if you had the time you could glean some meaning from the random cuts of film and the gags. The philosophical argument of being a brain in a vat comes to my mind, and this is reinforced when Peter talks to a guru in a steam room and concludes that both of them know nothing which is why nobody should worry with the random happenings around them.
Let me give you a more tame example of the things that happen to the band members. They tour a factory, don't bother asking why it's not told to us, and Davy notices weird things happening: hot chocolate will pour out a exhaust pipe and dead bodies are carted around but he's the only one who notices these oddities. He tries to point them out to the other band members, but no one listens. Then they are all shoved into a box and the door is locked behind them. Spotlights are then pointed onto them and they travel to what looks like a very large toupee. They are directed to jump up and down because they are playing dandruff in a commercial and they do so, I'm not sure why. Then the product is advertised and they are sucked into a giant vacuum cleaner...nothing could be simpler.
But these weird circumstances are also what makes "Head" so enjoyable. It doesn't take itself too seriously. It reminded me of an older version of "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus". It's the kind of movie that you have to submit to and let it take you here and there as it pleases.
It was a little bit of a surprise to find out that Jack Nicholson had a hand in writing and producing this piece of film, he even makes a small cameo in the film.
"Head" purposely defies explanation and genre, that's what its aim was, and with that in mind—I do think that the movie is a success.
Parts of the movie resemble Monty Python shticks and others feel like "Paris, je t'aime" because of the way it jumbles together in seemingly unrelated ways.
It's a drugged up version of a combination of Mel Brooks and Kubrick...but in the best possible way.
There are moments that spoof product placement and make anti-war statements and other that seem like a parody of "Lawrence of Arabia" and yet one more that pokes fun of Italy's surrender in WWII.
There's a lot to absorb in "Head" and I'm still puzzled by the title, but who cares? I had fun.



Score: 3 out of 4 stars.

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