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THE MONKEES MIND THEIR MALIGNED BUSINESS THROUGH 'HEAD'

Micky Dolenz & Mike Nesmith in artwork more 1980's than 1960's for HEAD Year: 1968 Rates: **

No rock group nor any music act in history would take part in a motion picture created primarily to ruin their image; but The Monkees, who were infamously NOT an actual band, had no real image to either ruin or protect...  

Except their immensely popular and beloved TV show THE MONKEES, in which, after the second season cancellation, producer Bert Schnieder with producer/director Bob Rafelson alongside Rafelson's future FIVE EASY PIECES star/then-writer Jack Nicholson created a big-screen HEAD... 

From the TV-series THE MONKEES episode Find The Monkees

Which ultimately seemed more Bob and Bob's way to separate from The Monkees than The Monkees from their maligned image of being synthetic Beatles (written into the film itself)...

Their Beatles parody aspect (as if the zany goofballs portrayed in the two feature films A HARD DAY'S NIGHT and HELP were the actual Fab Four) should have been obvious, but the fallout made desperate would-be musicians of the once-peppy TV quartet, for life, who WERE talented comedic actors sharing terrific chemistry together all along... 

Micky Dolenz in the desert Coke machine scene from HEAD

Particularly in the case of former CIRCUS BOY television child-actor Micky Dolenz and British stage performer Davy Jones, leaving bonafide guitarists Mike Nesmith and Peter Tork the must frustrated and disenchanted...

So HEAD was to not only prove they could play their own instruments, including live footage of Nesmith's Circus Sky replete with intrusively pretentious Vietnam War news-footage, but to qualify their counter-culture opposition of said war, an extreme hatred for cops/pigs (one in particular), and that they needn't be mainstream clowns any longer...

The Monkees in HEAD

Which is where HEAD fails because, despite battling their kid-friendly persona, this deliberate variety-show-from-hell (including actual commercials proving just now vapid television can be) trudges from one skit/sequence to the next, related only by the group, handing off leading-role importance...

And the bedlam's initially ignited by Dolenz leaping off a newly opened (ultimately story-connecting) bridge, rescued by mermaids before all are thrust into World War II before traipsing vast deserts (both scorched-lonely and harem-infested), TV Western sets and a Noir-era boxing match while littered with cameos ranging from Timothy Carey as a lecturing/reoccurring villain, a monotone Frank Zappa and a gigantic final-twist-important Victor Mature...

Peter Tork hating his sweet dumb guy image for HEAD

But had Nesmith, Dolenz, Jones and Tork proved to be equally qualified at dark-comedy (in this case, anti-comedy) to the beloved wackiness of their series, this all might have worked both financially AND for their future careers as, basically, paid entertainers...

Yet even for a psychedelic assault on the senses/movie to drop acid to, this HEAD is... with such a negative base lacking any resolutions or punchlines, serious or otherwise... what all hippie/druggies then and now avoid at all costs: a bad trip.  

Timothy Carey in HEAD
Michael Nesmith in HEAD

The Monkees in HEAD
Victor Mature resembling the Jolly Green Giant for The Monkees HEAD
The Monkees in HEAD with the recently-departed Mike Nesmith as royalty
The Monkees in HEAD
Micky Dolenz and Mike Nesmith boxing noir parody from HEAD
Counter-culture beauty JUNE FAIRCHILD in The Monkees HEAD
Micky Dolenz and ice-cream melancholy Peter Tork in HEAD
Peter Tork in HEAD poster section with Davy Jones

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