Forty years ago, Jack Nicholson and a bunch of dudes who would go on to do Easy Rider and Five Easy Pieces co-wrote their first avant-garde, marijuana-laced cinematic masterpiece. It’s purpose: to bring a pre-fab boy band called the Monkees out of the teenie bopper magazines and into the hearts of hippies. It succeeded at the former, but not so much at the latter–no amount of fourth-wall breaking could shatter their image as an artificial construct to the crowd of rockers now keepin’ it real with fourteen minute guitar solos at the Monterey Pop Festival.
In hindsight, however, the Monkees’ movie Head (the idea was that the next film’s ad could say “From the People Who Gave You Head!“) is a lot less goofy than it seemed at the time. Appearances by Dennis Hopper, Sonny Liston, Frank Zappa, and Toni Basil, shocking visual references to violence both real and cartoonish, and satires of the sappy pop cultural milieu of the time, themselves included, make this feel like a movie that’s saying something, even if nobody quite knows what that something is. And the band grooves its way through one unironically amazing rock song after another: Mike Nesmith’s balls-to-the-wall garage jam “Circle Sky,” the Goffin/King psyche opus “the Porpoise Song” (covered so well by Nobody decades later), and Davy Jones’s cover of Nilsson’s “Daddy’s Song” make this a great soundtrack as well as a surreal visual feast. Can you dig it?
You can dig it tonight at the Egyptian Theater–right across the street from where the film debuted forty years ago. Davy and Peter are going to be at this screening, plus a bunch of burned-out ex-hippies and studio execs who will doubtless wax nostalgic about free love and Donna Reed.
The feature begins at 7:30 PM . Tickets are $10 and are available online from www.fandango.com or at the Egyptian Theater box office.
6712 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028