[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/200_Motels_8331.jpg]]

An [[MissingEpisode unfinished movie]] by Music/FrankZappa. Starring the musician's own Mothers of Invention as caricature versions of themselves, it was supposed to tell a story of how a tour could drive a band insane, but a series of problems including reduced budget and one of the band members leaving during the process, made only one third of the script being filmed. The 1971 release features a new plot created by Zappa in the editing room in order to make something more or less coherent with what he could film. The resulting piece consists in a series of surreal sketches involving groupies, drugs and odd fetishes, all alternating and/or coexisting with music numbers ranging from orchestral pieces and rock 'n' roll cliche parodies.

It also stars RingoStarr as Larry the Dwarf/Frank Zappa, [[Music/TheWho Keith Moon]] as a nun groupie, Theodore Bikel as Rance Muhammitz and former Mothers

Many dialogues were based on records of actual conversations by the members of the band, were they talked things like leaving Zappa for being too old to rock 'n' roll. Bassist Jeff Simmons apparently didn't like at all of being spied, so he left the band. With jeff being sort of a protagonist in the main plot, a last-minute substitute came in the form of Ringo Starr's chauffeur Martin Lickert.

While one can only wonder what a really awesome movie would come out [[{{WhatCouldHaveBeen}} if it was actually finished]], it's still a very entertaining film and a true CultClassic, far more fun to watch than ''Uncle Meat'', Zappa's other aborted film project (also released with what he could do). Still ''200 Motels'' can be disappointing for people who actually want to see Zappa himself, because he's hardly seen in this film and doesn't even have a line. In that retrospect the two hours and a half ConcertFilm ''Film/BabySnakes (1979)'' gives you more your money's worth.

''200 Motels'' was also released with a CultSoundtrack. Before the arrival of Internet the film was very difficult to find and could only be ordered on video through Zappa's own company. Therefore it is save to say that probably more Zappa fans have listened to and enjoyed the soundtrack album than those who actually saw and/or enjoyed the film.

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!!! "200 Tropes":
* AlbumTitleDrop: Happens during "Semi-Fraudulent Direct-From-Hollywood Overture".
* AllMenArePerverts: The Mothers.
* AllWomenAreLustful: The groupies.
* BadBoss: The way the band sees Zappa. Zappa was aware that many felt he was a difficult task master, because he left cassette recordings around to tape people's conversations, something that is also spoofed in this movie. The fact that it's included in the film might only confirm it.
* BadGirlSong: The suite made of ''She Painted Up Her Face'', ''Janet's Big Dance Number'', ''Half a Dozen Provocative Squats'', ''Mysterioso'', ''Shove it Right In'' and ''Lucy's Seduction of a Bored Violinist''
* BigBrotherIsWatching: Larry the Dwarf (dressed like Zappa) is hiding in the corner of various scenes, often with a tape recorder.
** Rance appears in the middle of two musical sequences, laughing of the trouble in one of them.
* BiggerIsBetterInBed: "Penis Dimension" ponders over the question if penis length is important.
* BreakingTheFourthWall: The film is aware it's cheap looking and mostly filmed on a set.
** During ''"Strictly Genteel"'' Theodore Bikel even announces: ''"This, as you might have guessed is the end of the movie. The entire cast is assembled here to bid farewell to you and express thanks for your attendance at this theatre."'' Then he decides to sing a ''"kind of sentimental song that you get at the end of a movie, it's the kind of a song that people might sing to let you and the audience know that we really like and care about you."'' Near the end of the song the band members sing: ''"They're gonna clear out the studio"'' and summarize all the things they're going to do to clean up the set.
* TheCameo: Famous groupie Pamela Des Barres as a rock 'n' roll journalist.
** WesternAnimation/DonaldDuck in the "Dental Hygiene Dilemma" segment.
* CelebrityIsOverrated: Zappa's entire point about rock 'n' roll and touring, told very explicitly during "Does This Kind Of Life Look Interesting To You?"
* CityInABottle: Not directly stated in the final movie, but maybe something was cut telling that [[spoiler:Centerville is a fake city inside the retraining facility. Reinforced by the fact that the characters refers to places like ''fake nightclub'' and ''fake stage'', although it can be simply a chessy LeaningOnTheFourthWall]].
* ContinuityNod
** Parts of "Semi-Fraudulent Direct-From-Hollywood Overture" are rearranged pieces from "Holiday in Berlin, Full Blown" on "Burnt Weeny Sandwich" (1969). Certain portions are repeated again during "I'm Stealing The Towels".
** "Dance Of The Rock & Roll Interviewers" contains a musical phrase from "Mystery Roach" and "A Pound For A Brown (On The Bus)" (from Music/UncleMeat) (1969).
** "This Town Is Like A Sealed Tuna Sandwich" would be quoted again during "Bogus Pomp" on "Orchestral Favorites" (1978).
** A plastic bag is mentioned during "The Sealed Tuna Bolero", bringing up "plastic" imagery again from Music/FreakOut and Music/AbsolutelyFree. "Liquor stores" from "Hungry Freaks Daddy" (Music/FreakOut) are mentioned again in "Centerville".
** "Aroma" is mentioned during "Dental Hygiene Dilemma", another conceptual continuity topic that Zappa would revisit during "Dirty Love" (Music/OverNiteSensation) and "Jewish Princess" (Music/SheikYerbouti).
** Women "painting up their face" in "She Painted Up Her Face" was an image that Zappa visited earlier during "You're Probably Wondering Why I'm Here" (on Music/FreakOut) and "Harry You're A Beast" (Music/WereOnlyInItForTheMoney).
** The character Opal in "Lonesome Cowboy Burt" would later be mentioned again during "Teenage Wind" on "You Are What You Is" (1980), where the lines "where's my waitress?" is also mentioned again. In the same song the teenager protagonist wants to go to a midnight show of "200 Motels". Opal would also reappear on the album "Thing-Fish" (1984). On "No, Not Now" on "Ship Arriving To Late To Save A Drowning Witch" (1982) "cowboy pants" and a "waitress" are mentioned again.
** The line "What is that, musk? It's hip" from "Dental Hygiene Dilemma" would be re-used again during "Packard Goose" on Music/JoesGarage (1979).
** Billy the Mountain in "Dental Hygiene Dilemma" would reappear during "Billy The Mountain" on "Just Another Band From L.A." (1973) and "The Adventures Of Greggery Peccary" on "Studio Tan" (1978) and "Lšther" (1993).
** Music/KeithMoon, who plays the nun in this film, would receive another nod in ''"We're Turning Again"'' on Zappa's album ''"Frank Zappa Meets The Mothers Of Prevention" (1986)'': ''"We can laugh at Keith Moon's jokes."''
** ''"Penis Dimension"'' and ''"Strictly Genteel"'' refer to winos, which would inspire the track "Wonderful Wino" on ''"Zoot Allures" (1976)''
** Zappa's album "Playground Psychotics" has a few audio tracks from the "200 Motels" film recordings: ''"I Could Be A Star Now", "If You're Not A Professional Actor", "A Great Guy", "Bad Acting", "The Worst Reviews", "A Version Of Himself", "Going For The Money"'' and ''"Martin Lickert's Story"''.
** Car, dog and lice imagery can be heard during ''"Dental Hygiene Dilemma"'' and ''"Does This Kind Of Life Look Interesting To You?"'' A tie and Germans, another two conceptual continuity elements, are also referenced again.
** And, of course, the topic ''"groupies"'' had been referenced earlier on Zappa's albums. The lines ''"If your dick is a monster"'' and ''"Do You Like My New Car?"'' during ''"Daddy Daddy Daddy"'' are a throwback to the album ''"Fillmore East, June 1971" (1971)''.
** Chrome and shoes, referenced earlier in Zappa's conceptual continuity, are mentioned again during ''"Magic Fingers"''.
** ''"The Girl Wants To Fix Him Some Broth"'' refers to ''"Dog broth"'', causing the chorus to sing "Dog breath?"'' This is a reference to ''"Dog Breath In The Year Of The Plague"'' from ''Music/UncleMeat (1969)''.
** ''"Little Green Scratchy Sweaters & Courduroy Ponce"'' refers to Catholic schools with "nuns smashing kids with rulers". Zappa would revisit ''"Catholic Girls"'' again during ''Music/JoesGarage''.
* CoolPet: Motorhead Sherwood's newts.
* CoversAlwaysLie: Despite his giant face luring on the film poster and DVD cover Zappa is hardly seen in this movie. His total screen time takes up less than a minute and he doesn't even have a line.
* CreatorCameo: Sort of. Zappa don't star in the movie itself, only appears as a musician in band-only music segments.
* CrossDresser:
** Motorhead Sherwood and Mark Volman
** Keith Moon as a nun.
* CrowdSong: ''"Penis Dimension"'', sung by the whole cast with torches, and ''"Strictly Genteel"'', sung by the entire cast without torches.
* CultSoundtrack: As explained in the introduction to this article.
* DealWithTheDevil: Rance Muhammitz/The Devil gives away hamburgers and beers, asking in exchange for a [[BloodOath signature in blood]].
* DeepSouth: Lonesome Cowboy Hurt definitely hails from there.
* DerangedAnimation: "Dental Hygiene Dilemma/Does This Kind Of Life Look Interesting To You?''
* TheDevil: Rance Muhammitz.
* DistinctDoubleAlbum: Especially when released on CD, with extra radio promos and a radio edit of ''Magic Fingers''.
* WesternAnimation/DonaldDuck: Has a cameo appearance during "Dental Hygiene Dilemma" and "Does This Kind Of Life Look Interesting To You?''
* DreamLand: The narration states that it's a fantasy happened on the road. The movie can also be interpreted as a dream inside the retraining facility for musicians that Larry the Dwarf shows in his monologue.
* EccentricTownsFolk: Centerville has some weird inhabitants!
* ForeignQueasine: Theodore Bikel's line: "Lord, have mercy on the people of England and the terrible food these people must eat."
* GoodAngelBadAngel: Jeff's bad and good consciences fighting over him stealing the towels of the hotel room and quitting the band.
* GreekChorus: Whatever else he is, Rance Muhammitz functions as this. To some extent this is also true of Larry the Dwarf ([[Music/TheBeatles Ringo Starr]] in Zappa disguise.)
* GroupieBrigade: Several songs deal with groupies and rock stars trying to get off with them: ''She Painted Up Her Face'', ''Daddy Daddy Daddy'', ''What Will I Say The Next Day (To Whatever I Drag To My Hotel Tonight?)'', ''Magic Fingers'', ''Penis Dimension'',...
* HulkingOut: Don Preston drinks a potion that changes him into a monster.
** Jeff Simmons also changes different shapes and acquires a duck face in "Dental Hygiene Dilemma".
* IHaveManyNames: Rance Muhammitz also goes by "Devil" and [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking "Opal, You Hot Little Bitch"]].
* IntercourseWithYou: A lot of tracks are about rock stars and groupies trying to score, or as Zappa summarizes it: ''waiting for girls they can shove it right in.''
* InTheStyleOf: The opening composition "Semi-Fraudulent Direct-From-Hollywood Overture" is done in the style of a typical cheesy Hollywood epic.
* LyricalDissonance: ''"Magic Fingers"'', which starts as a very basic sexual rock 'n' roll song with lyrics like ''Ooh the way you looks me sugar, makes me so hot that I could die'', and near the end turns into [[spoiler:a disturbing atmosphere with a listing of proposed sexual activies including a golden shower]]
* LovableSexManiac: Aynsley Dunbar.
* '''MindScrew''': From the first until the last minute.
* MissFanService: Miss Lucy is seen bare breasted in some scenes.
* NightmareFace: Near the end of Schenkel's animation sequence a both funny and creepy photo of Zappa can be seen with vicious teeth cluttering and clattering up and down.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: DonaldDuck has a cameo in "Dental Hygiene Dilemma", obviously not with permission of the Walt Disney Company.
* NoFourthWall: All the characters (Rance and Larry the Dwarf, in particular), are aware that it's all a film.
* NonindicativeName: Not a road movie of a band visiting 200 motels. At least, it's not the case in this unfinished piece, and Zappa never claimed intended to do something like this.
* OnlyInItForTheMoney: Jimmy Carl Black keeps asking when he'll get paid? This is also a CallBack to lines heard during "Flower Punk" on ''Music/WereOnlyInItForTheMoney''.
* RealLifeWritesThePlot: Much of the film references inside jokes about Zappa's band members, including "Magic Fingers" where Jeff Beck's tennis shoes are mentioned, which are used "to beat a groupie off".
* TheReptilians: The dancing newts during "The Lad Searches The Night For His Newts".
* SelfDepreciation: The band members criticizing Zappa as a control freak who tapes their conversations and references their antics in his music. This was all TruthInTelevision and Zappa wrote it in the film, as well as on the soundtrack.
* ShoutOut: Jeff dreams of quitting the band and forming a heavy band, one of the examples his bad conscience uses to how heavy the band should be is Music/GrandFunkRailroad, which Zappa produced an album. Music/BlackSabbath, whom Zappa was a fan of, is also mentioned.
** ''"It's just as if Music/{{Donovan}} himself had appeared on my very own TV with words of peace, love and eternal cosmic wisdom" (...) it's the same and mysterious exotic oriental flagrance as what Music/TheBeatles get off on."'' - ''Dental Hygiene Dilemma''.
** The monolith of ''Film/TwoThousandOneASpaceOdyssey'' can be seen.
** WesternAnimation/DonaldDuck has a cameo during ''"Dental Hygiene Dilemma"''.
* ShowWithinAShow: Two game shows, one in the beginning, hosted by Rance Muhammitz with the guest Larry the Dwarf and one later on hosted by Flo and Eddie featuring the groupies talking about names of penises.
** Cal Schenkel's animation sequence is also presented this way, being announced as a ''"dental hygiene documentary short"'' and having the film reels bounce up and down during the title sequence to make it seem as if a different film reel is put into the projector.
* SirNotAppearingInThisTrailer: Despite centering around Zappa, being directed and composed by him and having him heavily promoted in the trailers Frank Zappa himself is hardly in this film. He is occasionally seen playing along with the group, but his total screen time takes up less than a minute. And he doesn't even have a line.
* SpecialGuest: The film features celebrities like actor Theodore Bikel, Music/RingoStarr, Music/KeithMoon and famous groupie Pamela des Barres.
* SurrealHumor: Although Zappa's surreal humor came mostly from bizarre injokes that probably could only be enjoyed at his fullest by him and his bandmates, it's still pretty funny in moments like Flo and Eddie tour around the boring little town of Centerville.
* TitleDrop: ''TWOO-HUNDRED MOTEEEELS'' during the animation sequence.
* WholesomeCrossDresser: Keith Moon is dressed as a Nun. Later scenes also show Mothers' band members dressed up as women in a bar.
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