Just posted this on another board ... and somewhere in this board is also a copy of my review for "200 Motels".
I'm probably the only person that ever felt OK with that film.
And 10 years later (in the 70's), a whole slew of film makers in Europe went out of their way to use handheld cameras and psychedelic stuff and one Scandinavian film maker and a French film maker (today) have made their living off these things ... total color and what not distortions, that look like a serious lysergic acid trip ... something that not too many of us had the ability or courage to take and do.
That's not to say that you have to try it ... you don't, specially when your own body produces stuff that is better, safer and more fluid than LSD25 through your Pineal Gland. Accessing it, is another story!
Seen within the context of film history, there were only two films that really destroyed the fabric of ideas and story within a film, in the Hollywood style. They were "Head" and "200 Motels", and both of these were aligned with Frank Zappa. You probably can not name many other films ... very few, specially "visual".
Remember this is 1969 and 1970 ... and the idea of "trip" film was the "2001, A Space Odyssey" which was grossly over rated, and over blown, because no one had really seen the "personal side" of a trip like they did in that film. Frank's idea, was to create a personal view that was way out there, and it resembled a lot of psychedelic experiences, which ought to tell you the best part of it all ... trips are all trips, and the differences are strictly personal. 200 Motels is a personal trip, and when you take that view, the film is a fun, nutty, insane and ... ohh my gawd ... with music on top of it!
We had seen it this way and that way ... but all of a sudden there are 2 and 3 disciplines mixed together, and that threw people off. It wasn't a concert film. It wasn't a movie per se ... what was it? ... you can't define it, and I believe this was intentional. TOTALLY INTENTIONAL, by Frank, and it was one of his greatest complaints about fans ... similarly, when discussing his music, that most wanted to hear his guitar ... and the arrangement and the serious music design under it was forgotten ... it still bleeping is! Because it isn't a hit song, or a pop song ... and we have a hard time dealing with rock music as serious music ... it is very well done and serious music, and the movie decided to take this the next step and DID ... however accidental it might have been.
The part that is hard to deal with is the vocals and the language, and this is the thing that makes us not enjoy a lot of his music, his lyrics, sometimes, leave a lot to be desired, but then ... so did Jean Genet and others, but you are not sitting here upset with the color and description of the poop that our lady of flowers ... and this is the part that one does not see. It is intentional and very "French" in its style and application, as "haute comedie", and this is something that Americans do not like, because it is not like a TV set that gives you a laugh track for you to be told when to laugh and you don't know, anymore, what is funny or not ... without everyone else agreeing with you, via the laugh track or not! Same thing here at this board (not this one, but the other!) ... everyone agrees to everything and the odd things get trashed out and people think that they are being insulted, and will not discuss the actual subject ... only their own individual communal crap.
Frank Zappa, is, in many ways, a vibrant example of the 50's literary scene that came out of the 60's, but he came out in music. Because in LA, and America, you can not do anything "serious", he has to make fun of the scenes (and commercials -- all of which are in 200 Motels -- which is something that makes it VERY LOCAL, btw!) in order to get a bit of attention and I understand that. SO WOULD YOU, if it was you trying to make it.
That he was able to translate this to film is IMPRESSIVE, since, at the time, Godard and Fellini, were the only film makers that did anything strange, weird and totally off kilter ... but Godard was making fun of film conventions and turning them upside down, and Fellini, was just satirizing all the Italian anything he could get his fingers on! Fat women, ugly make up to take on "stars" ... as an example. And later, he even satirized the pope as well as the studio machinery. And Nicholas Roeg started the MTV trend with "Performance" and continued for most of his films!
Too bad that Frank is in rock music, because it is the place where he will get the least exposure and appreciation, by an audience that is not used to seeing so much artistic and different stuff ... it's really that simple! So his film, won't be appreciated, even from a distance ... it will look like a bunch of burned out sick'os running around totally silly, and no care as to anything. Somehow, that is not exactly what the majority of Frank's music is like for me, in almost all albums ... so why do we think differently?
(that was it)
The only art there is, resides within your heart. Have you listened to it lately to ensure that the top ten is better than you are?