200 Motels (1971)
Movie InfoLess a movie than a purposely crude series of musical vignettes and inside jokes for die-hard fans, Frank Zappa informs viewers in the opening scene that "Touring can make you crazy, ladies and gentlemen, and that is what 200 Motels is all about." The rest of the plot-less production is filled with more self-reflexive reminders, as the close-up eye and tape recorder signal that Zappa is watching everything his bandmembers are doing. Reasonably, the Mothers of Invention make up the cast, notably Jimmy Carl Black, who repeatedly remarks how he just wants to quit the band and go play real music, have a beer, and get laid. The character of Jeff, played by Martin Lickert, was written for bassist Jeff Simmons, who actually did quit the band just prior to shooting. Other cast members include real-life groupies appearing in some bizarre nudity sequences, along with the Who's drummer Keith Moon as the Hot Nun who overdoses on drugs. Ringo Starr appears as Larry the Dwarf and lends some humorous narration, but that does not clarify any of the proceedings. The action supposedly takes place in Centerville, which is really a kind of poorly dressed set guarded by soldiers. The scenes are randomly assembled and interspersed with performances, including the songs "Lonesome Cowboy Burt," "Magic Fingers," and "Strictly Genteel." ~ Andrea LeVasseur, Rovi … More
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Critic Reviews for 200 Motels
200 Motels has no particular focal point, being principally an anthology of poor jokes and spectacular audio-visual effects, a few of which might expand the mind, but all of which, taken together, are like an overdose of Novocain.
The incidents are often outrageously irreverent. The comedy is fast and furious, both sophisticated and sophomoric.
Zappa's most ambitious compositions (performed by the London Philharmonic) share screen time with nostalgic freak humor.
The film is a marvelous whirl of color and visual effects, with some fine animation and Zappa's delicious wit present throughout the entire production.
Audience Reviews for 200 Motels
Ringo Starr IS Larry the Dwarf AS Frank Zappa in this druggy pastiche of skits, solarized footage, crude animations, and an operetta about a penis. Most people will wonder what they were smoking when they came up with this; Zappa fans will wonder where they can get some.More
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