Friday, February 10, 2012

Rant #673: From the Folks That Gave You "Head"

That was going to be the tagline if the Monkees' 1968 movie, "Head," was a success.

Producer Bert Schneider and director Bob Rafelson planned to use that tagline for their next movie.

Well, it didn't work out exactly as planned, although "Five Easy Pieces" and "Easy Rider" did follow, but without the connection to "Head," or for that matter, the Monkees.

I have brought up the film "Head" on this blog a number of times, and I am happy to say that this little film, which was one of the all-time bombs in its original theatrical run, has been constantly resurrected and looked at again since its debut 44 years ago.

It is a certified cult item, and has consistently taken on new life after it tanked all those years ago.

It has been deconstructed, taken apart piece by piece, and cut up by fans and critics alike, and no two people have the same opinion about the film.

It was re-released on DVD about two years ago as part of a major collection of films by Schneider and Rafelson, some of which, as in the case of "Five Easy Pieces" and "Easy Rider," changed Hollywood forever.

"Head" did not.

It was shown on the retro "Antenna TV" station just yesterday morning, and the station has said that after running it about a half dozen times over the past few months, it is putting the movie to bed, at least for now.

Rhino Records not only recently released a boxed set of the music from this movie, but also released a pristine, limited edition vinyl LP of the soundtrack last year.

Newsday, the Long Island newspaper, is doing its roundup of Oscar nominees, and one of its writers is listing his Top 20 personal movie favorites concurrent to the approaching awards show.

And the newspaper has asked readers to name their favorite movies of all time.

Well, "Head" is in there, courtesy of yours truly.

I wrote this long examination of the movie, included a film clip in my review, and I got my views into print ... well, a smidgen of my views, at least.

If you have Newsday, just check out page B13, and, at the bottom of the page, you will see the seven lines the newspaper gave me to explain a film that you would need about 200 pages to fully dissect.

"My favorite film is the unappreciated "Head," starring the Monkees and an array of guest stars (including Frank Zappa and Sonny Liston). It pokes fun at the movies and our way of life at the time. Every time I see it, I see something new."

That's what they printed. The paper's entertainment editor wrote me an email back, and said I made a great choice.

I just wish they would have printed more, but I guess it will have to do.

I checked out the website, and it's not there either.

The explanation they printed is fine, but it really doesn't do the film justice.

Not only are we witnessing the deconstruction of the Monkees, a pop phenomenon the likes of which makes Justin Bieber look like a Milli Vanilli wannabe, but we are also seeing Hollywood being deconstructed too.

Never has a film killed off its own stars while, at the same time, killed off its very reason for being.

Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. Schneider, who recently passed away, and Rafelson didn't bite this hand, they chopped it off piece by piece by piece.

And to follow "Head" with the two "Easy" films, and to have those two films be so influential and successful, shows just how spot on "Head" really was in opening the door for these then "new" types of films with not stars, but really "anti-stars" like Peter Fonda, Jack Nicholson, and Dennis Hopper.

And it all started with the Monkees jumping off a bridge.

If you haven't seen "Head," it is a must for any student of film, or even if you just love the movies.

I guarantee that you will shake your head after seeing this movie, wonder what all the fuss was about, and then proceed to watch it again to figure out just what this film was trying to say.

It is that good, and that bewildering at the same time.

(It is online now at

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