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


Frank Zappa



2.85 | 56 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
2 stars a bad acid road trip

A Zappa fantasy about life on the road with some well-known friends like Ringo and the Loon (as a nun) and Pamela "GTO' Miller among others As far as the script, it's all non- sensical humour, typical of what you find in their albums like Uncle meat and previous stuff. Definitely not my cup of tea, this is so weird and whacko that it makes Monty Python's humour aimed at Maggie Thatcher's clique, as it compares a bit as its American equivalent, trouncing National Lampoon. The goofiness and absurdity of the scenario hinders with the music's propos, but it's not like 200 Motels is a Hot Rats or Grand Wazoo

Musically-speaking, when there is music (which is not that often), it is the usual fairly impressive pot-pourri of Zappa's general influences ranging from contemporary classical music and operatic movements (that's a novelty in Zappa's works at the time) to wild bluesy-jazz-rock moments where the shows their virtuosity without overdoing it. Those moments are pure bliss, but way too rare and far in-between to make this enjoyable. Other moments are melting pot is overflowing from some uneasy mixtures of elements taken left, right and centre, but you're sure that the out-coming soup will be hardly digestible. One of the few musicians to come out well out of this adventure is the absolutely brilliant drummer Ainsley Dunbar, but that's only so when doing his craft.

BTW, I chose to rent the movie than the double album, but I doubt that the vinyls are anymore "musically?inclined" than the movie. This is too much ridiculous non-sense for this proghead, whose humour glands are simply not tickled by Francesco's delires, despite his eternal question: "does humour belong in music?" My answer is yes, in a Canterbury way, but not necessarily when it hinders the music itself. It's actually fairly weird that an anti-drug artiste like him developed such thick layers of dopey humour that can usually only please to dopeheads close to overdose levels. Surely Zappa was aware of whom his works where pleasing mosts, and probably that it was one of his kicks, making a living of the guys he was biting the hand off. Considered by aficionados as an excellent Zappa project, I find this film (and soundtrack) completely forgettable and even embarrassing when speaking of Frank's genial musical talent that is simply buried in the goofyness.

Sean Trane | 2/5 |


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