Head is a film released in 1968, starring TV rock group The Monkees, and distributed by Columbia Pictures. It was written and produced by Bob Rafelson and Jack Nicholson, and directed by Rafelson.Head begins at the dedication of a bridge; The Monkees suddenly interrupt the ceremony by running through the assembled officials, to the sound of various horns and sirens. The rest of the film has no overriding plot. There are several short vignettes that consist of a conflict and resolution, but the film is essentially plotless, a seemingly stream of consciousness stringing-together of musical numbers, satire of various film genres, elements of psychedelia, and references to topical issues such as The Vietnam War.It's so weird, three That Guy with the Glassesmembersarenecessary for a review.
All There in the Script: Very few of the guest characters' names are mentioned onscreen. They can be gleaned from the end credits, but if you don't know the actors involved, you won't know who is who. For instance, do you know which character Lord High 'N' Low is?note He's the man in the shaggy vest who warns the boys not to make fun of cripples. Played by Timothy Carey.
Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: One of the vignettes is a commercial where the Monkees play dandruff flakes on Victor Mature's head. Later, a giant Mature is among those chasing the boys at the end.
Avoid the Dreaded G Rating: Inverted: Head was (and is) rated G, probably because it was released when the MPAA rating system was brand new and the G rating didn't yet mean "for little kids only". Given the film's trippy atmospherenote although drugs are never directly mentioned and occasional violence, it would almost certainly get a PG or PG-13 today.
Some are in-jokes, like the big Black Box on the set they find themselves in.
Perhaps the only known instance of Breaking The Second Wall: Micky, in the frontier scene with Teri Garr, gets fed up with the farce that is acting and tears a hole in the scenic backdrop to leave.
In the same scene, Teri Garr's character (in a character) dies, whom Micky revives by kicking and saying "Come on lady, you're not even dead." Inverted: Garr's character is confused that she's actually alive.
The end of the diner scene when Peter storms off and the crew start milling into the shot (and we see Nicholson and Hopper).
Dada Ad/What Were They Selling Again?: One reason that Head may have failed at the box office was its bizarre television ads which consisted solely of a continuous shot of advertising consultant John Brockman’s face with the word "Head" superimposed on it at the end. The spots never mentioned that it starred the Monkees... or even that Head was a movie.
This can be credited almost exclusively to Executive Meddling, though. Even the Monkees themselves didn't understand the marketing strategy. Peter Tork later criticized "those two-minute commercials for Head that were so avant-garde as to be positively repulsive."
The spots were a parody of Andy Warhol's experimental film Blow Job, which would still be well outside the scope of public familiarity.
Erudite Stoner: Peter, especially during his philosophical and psychedelic monologue.
Here We Go Again: They did some of the major bits twice (i.e. the boxing scene, the factory tour, the bridge ceremony, the Porpoise Song, and stuff).
How We Got Here: The Monkees running and interrupting the bridge-opening ceremony is explained later.
Intentionally Awkward Title: Rumor has it that Head was titled as such so that when Rafelson and Nicholson released their next film Easy Rider, it could be promoted as being "from the guys who gave you Head". Also an obvious drug reference.
Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Inverted. Peter recites his highly intelligent philosophical monologue (as passed down by his Old Master, the Swami), and literally forces the Monkees to listen to him. He then goes on to say: “But then, why should I speak…since I know nothing?”
The Vietnam War: Several actual clips from the war are featured, as well as a scene with the Monkees as soldiers in battle.
Watch It Stoned: In a desperate last-ditch attempt to sell the movie, Columbia Pictures added a blurb from New York Times reviewer Renata Adler to its poster: "Head is a film to see if you've been smoking grass". Except, Adler hated the movie and that line was meant to be an insult.
Would Hit a Girl: Micky and Peter both punch women in the face during the movie (though in Peter's case, it's actually a man in drag).
You Look Familiar: Vito Scotti, who plays the man who surrenders his tank to Micky in the desert, appeared in the TV series as Dr. Marcovich in the episode "The Case of the Missing Monkee".