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Frank Zappa - 200 Motels (The Movie) CD (album) cover

200 MOTELS (THE MOVIE)

Frank Zappa

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

2.82 | 43 ratings

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zravkapt
Special Collaborator
Post/Math Rock Team
2 stars They don't make movies like this anymore. Zappa had already started an earlier film (Uncle Meat) in 1968 but this was his first major film to be released. Zappa fans will be the first to tell you that you should just listen to his music and stay away from his films. I find the film oddly amusing. It's my favourite genre of film: so-bad-it's-good. For a guy who was so anti-drugs he sure knew how to make a movie tailor-made for people tripping out. However, Frank was an avant-garde dude and sometimes his eccentric weirdness is mistaken for drug induced weirdness.

The film includes real life groupies playing groupies (and yes you get to see their t*ts), a cartoon, Keith Moon playing a nun trying 'her' best to be a groupie, bizarre everything really and of course Ringo Starr as a dwarf puppet who is disguised as Zappa. There are members of Zappa's bands (past, present and future) in the film but the rock songs are done by the Flo & Eddie version of the Mothers, while an orchestra does the avant classical stuff. Only tracks from the 200 Motels soundtrack album appear here. 200 Motels is not one of Zappa's best but the double-album is much better than the actual movie.

One of the most memorable scenes is where bassist Jeff Simmons (who quit halfway through the making of the movie; they actually tell you that in the movie) is giving original Mother Don Preston a lecture about working for Zappa and how he would be better off going solo. "He makes you be a creep," he tells Don. "You could be playing the blues like John Mayal or far- out, exciting jazz like Blood, Sweat & Tears" he explains in his English accent. The whole joke that probably went over most people's heads is that a white British guy is being used as an example of "blues" while a popular rock group of the time is being referred to as "jazz."

Frank himself is only seen in the hard rock numbers the band performs. There is much more going on in this film than I have mentioned, but trust me, after you have seen the whole thing you will still be confused as to what just happened. This probably deserves 1 star (for completists/collectors) but some Zappa fans might be interested in it. Fans of the Who and the Beatles maybe not so much. 2 stars.

zravkapt | 2/5 |

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