In 1966, producers Bert Schneider and Bob Rafaelson come up with the idea of creating a TV show that would feature the American answer to the Beatles, The Monkees. Eventually, four young men are chosen for the roles, Mickey Dolenz the former child TV star, the stage actor Davey Jones and the musicians, Mike Nesmith and Peter Tork. With the aid of a successful music producer and able TV promotion, the Monkees become a sensation. However, that success is tainted, to the chagrin of the band, as they find themselves labeled as talentless phonies. This film covers the band's frustrating struggle to prove their detractors wrong as they struggle to earn some artist legitimacy. Whether it's by learning to excel as a band or experimenting with wild ideas for their show and film, Head, nothing seems to work. Meanwhile the band have their internal tensions as various members struggle to decide what is really important to them, simple material success, or having real artistic respect for their ... Written by
Kenneth Chisholm <email@example.com>
At one point, character Davy Jones says to one of the other Monkees who has just woken him up suddenly, "Hey, man, are you trying to give me a heart attack?" Davy Jones actually died of a heart attack in 2012 at age 66. See more »
When The Monkees did the promotional concert on the train before the show aired, they performed inside the train in the red eight-button shirt, not outside in vests. And Micky Dolenz played the drums on the train. See more »
You're crazy, you know that? Do you have any idea what you have just given up?
You can never move forward standing in the same place, Harris.
Yeah, well, let's see how many records you can sell when you're not in people's living room.
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Uncanny physical and vocal resemblances highlight story of a fictional band who wanted to be real.
Uncanny physical and vocal resemblances by the young cast to the actual Monkees highlight this VH1 film about the fictional TV show band who wanted to be a real rock group. Being shown on television followed by a Behind the Music profile of the actual band, the audience is thoroughly convinced that the Monkees we see in this TV film are indeed the same Monkees we saw in the 1966 - 1968 TV series. Sometimes this type of impressionist casting can be distracting, but in this case each actor seems to be the madcap Mickey Dolenz, the down home Mike Nesmith, the spiritual Peter Tork, and the prim and corny Davy Jones. In fact so convincing, sometimes it seems we are watching a feature length version of the TV show. When we are introduced to Mike Nesmith he really is wearing a wool hat and driving a red convertible. In other words, what we were seeing was closer to their actual lives than we may have originally thought.
The film begins with an idea by the producers of the TV show to create a fictional band (complete with actual albums released in record stores) and show their personal life on television in a slap stick comedy format not too different than the The Beatles film efforts. The music would be produced using the best studio musicians and songwriters (Boyce and Hart, Neil Diamond, Jeff Barry, Paul Williams, Stephen Stills) and featuring the vocal talents of the four young actors (two of whom can actually play instruments). The music is a smash busting the charts both as singles and albums. Not satisfied with their success they strive to become a real band (lead singer Mickey Dolenz learning to play the drums, Mike Nesmith rising as the behind the scenes leader of the band) and set off to prove their critics wrong by playing live concerts to packed arenas. The film is mostly light comedy with a happy ending which in itself sets it apart from most stories of destruction we see in other efforts made about the lives of Karen Carpenter and The Beach Boys or end with a fatal air crash such as The Buddy Holly Story. This film actually ends with all the performers alive, well, and happy. In the Behind the Music profile that follows, we see that decades later they are still alive, well, and happy.
Some parts of the film are not as successful. The meeting between the Beatles and the Monkees just doesn't work. Short segments that show Davy Jones talking to his dad and being told how unhappy he really is or Mike Nesmith talking to his wife seemed tagged on. The actor portraying Jack Nicholson (he scripted the Monkees movie "Head") seemed to be doing Jim Carrey doing Jack Nicholson. But the movie is very enjoyable, as fluffy as a TV sitcom, and the pre-fab four are just four guys who are given their shot and make the most of it while trying to keep their pride and dignity. A band of Pinnochio daydream believers who for a short while merge fantasy with reality and become a real band.
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