Head, the Bob Rafelson-directed and Jack Nicholson-scripted film starring The Monkees, arrives in a new special edition Blu-ray set from Criterion, America Lost and Found: The BBS Story, this week. I only just received the set this week so my review will have to wait, but until then I offer this essay written for a screening at Seattle’s Grand Illusion in the late 1990s.
Teri Garr is fond of telling the story of how Bob Rafelson and Jack Nicholson came to name their Monkees feature: they hoped for a sequel so they could advertise it as “from the people who gave you Head.”
Rafelson had helped create the Monkees, TV’s veritable pre-fab four, but by the time the feature came around the goofy lads had learned to play their instruments, started writing their own songs, and took themselves seriously enough to take a chance with their image. Legend has it that the script was written one weekend with the Monkees, Bob Rafelson, Jack Nicholson, a tape recorder, and a bag of Acapulco Gold. The result was more than an extension of the TV show, it was a complete reworking of the show’s style and sensibility, and Rafelson took the opportunity to make his feature filmmaking debut.