Head (1968)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Musical Comedy, Absurd Comedy, Rock Musical, Satire  |   Release Date - Nov 6, 1968 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 90 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - G
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Review by Donald Guarisco

The Monkees' one and only theatrical outing is a difficult, deliberately confrontational attempt to shatter their image as goody-two-shoes pop idols. On the part of the filmmakers, it was an attempt to break all the rules of filmmaking: no plot line, no clear-cut protagonists, no attempt to maintain the illusion of telling the viewer a story. The end result is uneven to be sure, but interesting nonetheless. Head is a rare case of a film's biggest strength (its taboo-trashing sense of daring) also being its biggest weakness. Since the film is essential a loosely connected series of sketches interrupted with a series of non-sequiturs, the film lacks the rhythm that would make it fascinating from start to finish and it becomes tiresome after a while. However, this doesn't mean that it isn't worth seeing. Anyone with any kind of interest in cult movies should see it at least once, because it when it hits the bull's eye, the rewards are dazzling. Highlights include a surreal scene where a hysterical crowd cheering on at a Monkees concert is intercut with news footage of the Vietnam War and a pseudo-parody of Lawrence of Arabia that involves Micky Dolenz blowing up a Coke machine that won't give him a bottle. Head also boasts some of the Monkees' finest post-television-fame music, the best being the dizzying psychedelia of "The Porpoise Song" and the rousing rocker "Circle Sky." Each of the bandmembers fully commits to the daring style of the film, with Micky Dolenz pulling off the wildest comic moments and Michael Nesmith achieving the most slyly witty moments. To sum up, Head is a hit-and-miss affair, but its sense of daring and periodic moments of brilliance make it worthwhile for cult movie fanatics.