I'll have more to say about the Criterion Collection's revelatory new box set America Lost and Found: The BBS Story on Friday, but for the moment let me simply note for the record that the disc of The Monkees in Head (Bob Rafelson, 1968) is not only the crown jewel of the set but, after The Complete Metropolis, probably the coolest film restoration of the year. If you've never seen Head -- now in widescreen at last, and featuring the 5.1. surround soundtrack it always deserved -- suffice it to say that it's a hilarious piece of Hellzapoppin' style surrealism, a priceless snapshot of the late 60s American cultural landscape, and the most brilliant career suicide note ever filmed.
It also features some truly memorable dialog, courtesy of Rafelson and co-writer Jack Nicholson (yes, him). My favorite scene, for any number of reasons, is the birthday bash the other Monkees -- Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork, and Davy Jones -- throw for a thoroughly pissed off Mike Nesmith.
MIKE: Ask me how does it feel.
MICKY: How does it feel?
MIKE: I'll tell you how does it feel -- I don't like it, that's how it feels. I don't like surprises. I don't like these people jumping out and saying that -- I don't want to hear what you're saying. Because you know what you're saying to me? You're saying happy birthday and you're jumping out of the wall and it's scaring me to death and it's some kind of a big joke and I'm supposed to be happy about that. Aw, come on, Mike -- be a good sport. Well, who needs it?! Who needs surprises, and pajamas? You want me to come to a party? You don't kidnap me, you send me an invitation. Besides, I've had it with happy birthdays.
MIKE: And I'll tell you something else -- the same thing goes for Christmas.
ASSEMBLED PARTY GUESTS: Gasp!
MIKE: Well. How 'bout them apples?
Hey Mike -- I know the feeling. In the meantime, if you have a loved one with with a little extra disposable income, tell them to order you America Lost and Found for a Christmas present over here.