Monday, March 05, 2012

The Last Monkees Post... least for this go-round.

In any case, I just wanted to add that if you haven't seen the Criterion Collection DVD or Blu-ray of the Pre-fab Four's Head (1968), which after The Complete Metropolis is easily the coolest film restoration of the decade, you really need to.

Now in widescreen for the first time on video, and featuring the 5.1. surround soundtrack it always deserved (ditto), the newly spruced up Head is a hilarious piece of Hellzapoppin' style surrealism, a priceless snapshot of the late 60s American cultural landscape, and -- perhaps best of all -- the most gleeful career suicide note ever filmed.

It also features some truly memorable dialog, courtesy of director Bob Rafelson and co-writer Jack Nicholson (who has a brief cameo that you'll miss if you blink). My favorite scene, for any number of reasons, is the birthday bash the other Monkees -- Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork, and the late Davy Jones -- throw for a thoroughly pissed off Mike Nesmith.

MIKE: Ask me how does it feel.

MICKY: How does it feel?

MIKE: I'll tell you how does it feel -- I don't like it, that's how it feels. I don't like surprises. I don't like these people jumping out and saying that -- I don't want to hear what you're saying. Because you know what you're saying to me? You're saying happy birthday and you're jumping out of the wall and it's scaring me to death and it's some kind of a big joke and I'm supposed to be happy about that. Aw, come on, Mike -- be a good sport. Well, who needs it?! Who needs surprises, and pajamas? You want me to come to a party? You don't kidnap me, you send me an invitation. Besides, I've had it with happy birthdays.

MIKE: And I'll tell you something else -- the same thing goes for Christmas.


MIKE: Well. How 'bout them apples?

Oh, and of course, Nesmith's "Circle Sky" figures prominently in a concert scene.

Which proves, as I've said before, that at least for a couple of minutes these guys were a great live rock band.

Alas, Head is only available as part of a larger Criterion box -- America Lost and Found: The BBS Story -- but since the set includes similarly excellent restorations of Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, Drive He Said and The Last Picture Show, it's well worth the investment.

Which is to say you can, and should, order it at Amazon over here.


Oxy said...


Uhh... Head is available by itself on DVD and at a decent price and in stock. In fact, it's even listed above the description of the set as a lead-on as to what some other customers buy. Just thought everyone else should know.

steve simels said...

Ah -- at the time I got this last year, it wasn't.

But I'm glad to hear it, and I stand corrected.

Anonymous said...

I rediscovered the Monkees just a little bit before they re-united CIRCA 1985-86.

Was in college then and remember renting a big clunky VCR (with a 50 dollar deposit) from the local chain grocery store all for the purpose of renting Head, which I couldn't believe was out on VHS, and obviously I had never seen. Watching it blew me away.

Shriner said...

The best part of the Head DVD is the unseen (at least at that point) screen test stuff. That was gold!

"Let me tell you one thing son. Nobody ever lends money to a man with a sense of humor."

TMink said...

I have not seen the movie in years, but I like the scenes with Frank Zappa. Or was that in 200 Motels?????


buzzbabyjesus said...

"Circle Sky" sounds like Mike would have rather been in Moby Grape.

steve simels said...

Trey -- Zappa has a cameo in this.

matthew said...

Took my 14 year olld daughter to see them at The Greek Theater L.A. for what I think was their last show.
She came away a believer. Bought the BBS set on Blu Ray last week. She can watch Head now; the rest a little later. Easy Rider, at last check, remains unwatchable.

steve simels said...

I actually think Easy Rider is even more poignant than it was back in the day. But then again I'm a big Luana Anders fan, so what do I know.

TMink said...

A cameo with a cow in tow if I recall.


matthew said...

Hmmm.... this could cause me to rethink.

blogcommenting said...

The best part of the Head DVD is the unseen (at least at that point) screen test stuff. That was gold!

Anonymous said...

Uh....the only Head dvd i see is the crappy old Rhino full-screen version that is barely a notch above the old vhs version a available for years. The review here is for the fully restored widescreen bluray, which is a wholly superior experience, as the review indicates. You can watch with original uncompressed mono, or surround stereo. Get it. You won't be sorry.
Back in the day i paid $100 for a rental only copy from a local vid store (the only way to get my own copy in the late 80's), so that price for a deluxe bluray with all the other films as "bonus features" is a steal to me!