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Thread: Frank Zappa: 200 Motels

  1. #1
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    Frank Zappa: 200 Motels

    I found this movie on Netflix, but haven't watched it yet. I wanted to get the opinions of the folks at PE, because I heard that the film got mixed reviews(therefore, I don't want to waste time on a crappy movie). Does anyone like this movie?

  2. #2
    Matt! polmico's Avatar
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    Um . . . it's a movie, and it was made.

    It's been a long time since I've seen it. I enjoy revisiting the music from the film often, though.

    Worth watching once.
    I want to dynamite your mind with love tonight.

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    Quote Originally Posted by polmico View Post
    Um . . . it's a movie, and it was made.

    It's been a long time since I've seen it. I enjoy revisiting the music from the film often, though.

    Worth watching once.
    Doesn't Keith Moon play a nun in that movie, and Ringo plays Frank?

  4. #4
    Progdog ThomasKDye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by polmico View Post
    Um . . . it's a movie, and it was made.
    Pretty much. Except for Jimmy Carl Black's hilarious exchange with Theo Bikel, it's nigh-on unwatchable. (My memory might be a bit off on that, but at the least it was the only bit that amused me and didn't cause a headache.) Music's not bad, though I'm not really a fan of Flo-and-Eddie era Mothers.

  5. #5
    I would go with Baby Snakes instead.
    "Young man says you are what you eat, eat well."
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    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
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    Its totally crazy and kind of fun and meaningless in a sort of psychedelic way (allthough Frank didn't like psychedelics).
    My name is Bert, and I'm a redneck...

  7. #7
    I love it. I mean, it's a total failure in many ways...but there's just something about the look and feel of it (and the music!!!) that i adore seeing despite its flaws. Uncel Meat was always a much tougher watch for me.

    Matt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stickleback View Post
    I would go with Baby Snakes instead.
    That's not on Netflix.

  9. #9
    I agree that it's pretty unwatchable. Lots of pointless monologues and other attempts at satire. I particularly like listening to Mark Volman whining about how ugly he is. As Moon would say a decade later in Frank's biggest Stateside hit, "Whatever!". I thought the best bit about it was finding out that George Duke plays trombone (I had only known him as a keyboardist, vocalist and record producer before I saw him playing trombone in the film). I forget which cable TV network I saw it on...might have been Encore or Starz...one of the Showtime networks, I believe.

    That's strange that Netflix doesn't have Baby Snakes anymore. I got it from them a few years back. It was better only in that it focused more on music, but it still had these interminable "comedy" segments, featuring Roy Estrada. There's some good instrumental bits, and even a couple really nice late 70's style guitar solos, but you kinda have to wait around for them (or not, I guess...that's what the remote control is for, isn't it?). I thought the best bit was Warren Cuccurillo (who wasn't even in the band yet at this point, but was somehow well connected enough as a fan or whatever to get interviewed for the film) saying about how he tries to see as many Frank shows as he can, which at that point was "only" about 7 or 8 a year. Oh wow, ONLY seven or eight shows a year! I'd have been thankful to see him just once a year (or even once PERIOD!). Oh, and Bill Bickford's clay animation is pretty cool too.

  10. #10
    "Young man says you are what you eat, eat well."
    http://www.blissbomb.net/

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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    I agree that it's pretty unwatchable. Lots of pointless monologues and other attempts at satire. I particularly like listening to Mark Volman whining about how ugly he is. As Moon would say a decade later in Frank's biggest Stateside hit, "Whatever!". I thought the best bit about it was finding out that George Duke plays trombone (I had only known him as a keyboardist, vocalist and record producer before I saw him playing trombone in the film). I forget which cable TV network I saw it on...might have been Encore or Starz...one of the Showtime networks, I believe.

    That's strange that Netflix doesn't have Baby Snakes anymore. I got it from them a few years back. It was better only in that it focused more on music, but it still had these interminable "comedy" segments, featuring Roy Estrada. There's some good instrumental bits, and even a couple really nice late 70's style guitar solos, but you kinda have to wait around for them (or not, I guess...that's what the remote control is for, isn't it?). I thought the best bit was Warren Cuccurillo (who wasn't even in the band yet at this point, but was somehow well connected enough as a fan or whatever to get interviewed for the film) saying about how he tries to see as many Frank shows as he can, which at that point was "only" about 7 or 8 a year. Oh wow, ONLY seven or eight shows a year! I'd have been thankful to see him just once a year (or even once PERIOD!). Oh, and Bill Bickford's clay animation is pretty cool too.
    I stream through Netflix. I don't have DVDs sent to me.

  12. #12
    Jefferson James
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    Courtesy of the LA Philharmonic. "...a world premiere concert performance of Frank Zappa's "200 Motels."

  13. #13
    If your a Zappa fan then I would definitely check it out. In the 70's this movie was continuously shown as a midnight feature at small theater on Long Island called the Mini cinema. Saw it a few times but you have to understand Zappa to even come close to understanding the movie.

  14. #14
    Its one of the weirdest things I've ever seen. But if you understand the context behind it, it can be a very enjoyable watch. Zappa filmed the movie in something like 6 days and then spent 7 days editing it (I might have those numbers slightly off). He threw out a lot of footage. The movie is a psychedelic collage based on the theme "touring can make you crazy" with subthemes of small town groupies wanting to fuck the big rock star who comes to town for a show, Zappa stealing ideas from the Mothers to write his song lyrics, and Jimmy Carl Black wanting to get paid by Zappa. The music is a combination of Flo & Eddie era style music (rock comedy) and some of Zappa's denser classical pieces. There's also a short animation portion. It all adds up to weirdness to the extreme.

    If you do decide to watch it, see if The True Story of 200 Motels is also available. The 1 hour documentary helps enjoy the movie a little more.

  15. #15
    Count me in as someone who really likes this movie.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by JIF View Post
    That's not on Netflix.
    I recently watched Baby Snakes via Netflix

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    Quote Originally Posted by happytheman View Post
    I recently watched Baby Snakes via Netflix
    Did you get the DVD, or have it streamed? I got the streaming option, as previously stated, and it's available to stream.

  18. #18
    Subterranean Tapir Hobo Chang Ba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gladiator1634 View Post
    If your a Zappa fan then I would definitely check it out..
    Exactly my thought process.
    No humor please, we're skittish.

    Never let good music get in the way of making a profit.

  19. #19
    Chronic Overspender zombywoof's Avatar
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    I believe the full film is on Youtube (or at least it used to be). The first time I saw it, as a beginner Zappaphile, I hated it. The second time was a bit better, but it works much better as an album. The film is kind of a trippy headache, but certainly has its moments.
    Check out Colouratura's sophomore release Unfamiliar Skies - out this spring on Melodic Revolution Records!

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  20. #20
    I've tried... and tried... and tried... I just can't make it through more than 10 minutes. I do like a lot of the music... for me, 200 Motels should be heard and not seen!

  21. #21
    Member zravkapt's Avatar
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    It's one of those 'so-bad-it's-good' films. The whole thing is still on YouTube(as one vid). If you haven't watched it yet, here's the trailer:


  22. #22
    Chronic Overspender zombywoof's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trurl View Post
    I've tried... and tried... and tried... I just can't make it through more than 10 minutes. I do like a lot of the music... for me, 200 Motels should be heard and not seen!
    Which is why its really lame that its been so far omitted from the current reissues.
    Check out Colouratura's sophomore release Unfamiliar Skies - out this spring on Melodic Revolution Records!

    colouratura.bandcamp.com

  23. #23
    Jazzbo manqué Mister Triscuits's Avatar
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    Totally love the film myself. But a warning: the version that's out on DVD is a botch job. The worst part is that the whole thing is presented in the wrong aspect ratio, so the entire picture is kind of "stretched." (As if Volman weren't fat enough!) It's subtle, but slightly headache-inducing. And this notable line somehow got deleted:



    There used to be a very detailed presentation online of what was wrong (and what little was right) with the DVD in terms of framing, color, etc, but it seems to be gone now.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by zombywoof View Post
    Which is why its really lame that its been so far omitted from the current reissues.
    I don't think the Zappa's own the rights to 200 Motels? I have the 2 CD set, but I don't remember what label re-issued it.

  25. #25
    Jazzbo manqué Mister Triscuits's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reid View Post
    I don't think the Zappa's own the rights to 200 Motels? I have the 2 CD set, but I don't remember what label re-issued it.
    It was released by Ryko, but that was under a limited licensing agreement with MGM, who own the rights. The Ryko CD didn't stay in print for long.

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