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200 Motels (1971)

200 Motels (1971)

Mark VolmanHoward KaylanIan UnderwoodAynsley Dunbar
Tony Palmer,Frank Zappa


200 Motels (1971) is a English movie. Tony Palmer,Frank Zappa has directed this movie. Mark Volman,Howard Kaylan,Ian Underwood,Aynsley Dunbar are the starring of this movie. It was released in 1971. 200 Motels (1971) is considered one of the best Comedy,Fantasy,Music movie in India and around the world.

"Touring makes you crazy", Frank Zappa says, explaining that the idea for this movie came to him while the Mothers of Invention were touring. The story, interspersed with performances by the Mothers and the Royal Symphony Orchestra, is a tale of life on the road. The band members' main concerns are the search for groupies and the desire to get paid.


200 Motels (1971) Reviews

  • Bizarre!


    There is no film quite like 200 Motels, but a lot of its very strange appearance (especially when viewed on a cinema screen) is due to its videotape source. (Actually, it isn't the first film released theatrically, to have been originated on this medium. One of the versions of Jean Harlow's biography to be released in 1965 used something called 'Electronovision', which is much the same thing, although it seems suspiciously like an afterthought over a successful TV play in that case.) The 1971 double album was my introduction to Zappa's music, back in 1973, and I first saw this film in 1978, on a double bill with - wait for it - Annie Hall. Now, that's bizarre. I was mesmerised by this messy production, but everyone in the cinema, including my friends, seemed to hate it. Even by 1978, the effects were dated, and the sound quality left a lot to be desired. However, ten years later, when I saw the film in on VHS, I scooped it up, and I still enjoy it. More satire and music would have been welcome in place of the cast and orchestra being forced to recite childish swearwords, although it must be realised that this is an exercise to defuse the effect of 'bad language', much as Shaw did with Pygmalion (the original play has the word 'bloody' repeated over and over, opposed to achieving the comedy shock effect as in the 1938 movie) There are some very well worked out scenes, such as the stars' dressing-room/racehorse chute sequence, and the dialogue between Jim Black and Theodor Bikel, and maybe sufficient time and budget would have yielded more of the same. The music was sufficient to launch me into thirty years of collecting Zappa's music, and I still enjoy it today - it's more fulfilling to listen to than the movie is to watch, but the movie is worth seeing, as long as you are not expecting anything too coherent. In amongst the confusion is a worthwhile film about groupies, and genius, and the sadness, as opposed to the glamour, of the life of rock stars, and I can't help feeling that someone with fifty million dollars to spend could do worse than remake this. It's about time Zappa's output reached a wider audience. Stop remaking films that were fine as they were, you guys. We didn't need another Planet of the Apes, Tim Burton! Do a film about Frank Zappa. Johnny Depp could play Frank!

  • Jeff's imagination has gone beyond the fringe of audience comprehension!


    I guess most people would probably absolutely loathe this movie, but I'm not most people. If you're looking for plot, intricately drawn characters, thoughtful shot composition, look elsewhere. Now, if you like to have the video and audio input channels into your cerebrum overloaded from the start, you'll definitely love it. This movie does not relent. I guarantee, if you drop acid first, your brain will be bleeding by the end of it. I never thought the Flo & Eddie version of the Mothers was the best, but I do think they translated pretty well to the super-color-saturated multi-layered shot-and-mixed-entirely-on-videotape visual paradigm here. Kaylan & Volman are such atypical-looking pop stars (and yes, children, they were indeed pop stars once upon a time, in a band called The Turtles), the sets so purposefully fake & cheesy, the dada knob turned up so far past eleven, that any aficionado of TOO MUCH! really owes it to themselves to let this movie burn a hole in their brain.

  • extremely weird and silly with some good music


    Should you watch this film? I believe the following questions may be a decent guide to making this decision. Are you a Zappa fan who likes many of his different musical phases? If so, then this is a must. Are you a casual Zappa fan, partial to newer stuff only? If so, then approach with caution. Do you like very bizarre sequences put together seemingly at random? If so, this is a must. If you hate that kind of thing, then you will probably hate this. When in doubt, have a backup ready so you can switch to that if you lose patience. Oh, and guys out there, I wouldn't recommend showing this to your girlfriend unless she is a big Zappa fan. By all means, I do NOT recommend planning a romantic evening with a girl with standard pop culture tastes that is bookended by playing her samples of your Magma and King Crimson collection and then ending with a screening of 200 Motels, not even as an experiment. Trust me, I have tried this (once) and the results were not good. But I digress... What do you get from 200 motels? Random weirdness and silliness with a very 1965-1970 feel to it, kind of like a strangely lighthearted feverish dream. You also get some very interesting music of highly variable quality and some great in-jokes that you will find hilarious if you have followed Zappa's career. I will never again be able to drive past a town named "Centerville" (there are lots of these in the midwest USA) without having that Flo and Eddie zombie-like sequence flash through my head. I would certainly not consider this a good film or anywhere close to a good film. But it is certainly oddly interesting.

  • An unusual movie - just don't expect it to make sense


    As a long term Frank Zappa fan, I was really excited when this movie came out. I admit it's kind of hard to watch - it isn't the movie Frank planned. He had big problems with the director, he ended up in a protracted lawsuit with Royal Albert Hall (This conflict raised his costs for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra) and much of what was supposed to be shot wasn't, requiring an entirely "different movie" to be made in editing. It was a joy to see Ringo Starr playing Frank's part, Keith Moon as a nun and of course the music was great. The music was written while Frank was on tour, hence the title. It was shot entirely on video tape and transferred to film after the special effects were added. I think this was the first feature film done on video tape. The video effects were psychedelic which was a bit odd since Frank was vehemently against drug use.

  • Revolutionary video diary & historical (almost) Multimedia show


    I watch this remarkable visual document every 5 or 6 months to remind me of the visionary powers of this great composer and musician. Frank Zappa attempts to weld together several totally different worlds of artistic behaviour. There's the nice, successful middle of the road stuff, personalized by Starr and Moon. The traditional Classic music is shown and half-ridiculed. The almost always invisible groupie scene plays it's part (no actresses here, only the real girls)like it did as a short lived musical group the GTO's (the true meaning is lost; some say Girls together only or outrageously) Frank even took one of the groupies ( Miss Lucy ?) into his home to play nanny to his children. Last, but not at all least, are the Mothers. I omit the of invention part as this was the idea of the record company to soften the blow to the female part of America's silent majority. It was the beginning of the Flo and Eddie period, which Frank sometimes explained on stage as the result of a famous DJ saying that he could make the Mothers as big as the Turtles. Well, Frank used to say: If you wanna be as big as the Turtles, have a few Turtles in your band. The movies shows in a half hidden and symbolic way the craziness of the world, the moral dilemma's and the influence of religion on the psychological development of mankind. This is the first big step into Zappa's conceptual continuity idea, which sadly ended with his death. The movie is a monument to his genius.


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