I heard about Frank Zappa’s “200 Motels” on a Ringo Starr interview. Russell Brand was the moderator and Ringo was taking questions from the audience. A fan mentioned he liked the movie and asked Russell if he had every seen it.
“No but I’ll look into it,” he said. “I see how Ringo and Frank Zappa might be a welcome escape from reality.” I agreed. I like Frank Zappa and I like Ringo Starr so I saw how the two of them together would make for a good time.
Well, it was a nice thought. I’m not going to say it was a bad movie. “200 Motels” follows the band on tour through motels, arguments within the group, and in pursuit of companionship. So we all start on the same page and know where we are coming from, Frank Zappa is at the helm. Frank Zappa, his sense of humor and way of putting things are at the core of this movie. Ringo plays the character of Frank Zappa, which is fun. Kind of reminded me of an adult version of the character, Mr. Conductor, he played on “Shining Time Station”. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had watched it with people, hearing other people burst out laughing at irreverent, “What?” moments, would have added to the experience.
There are funny parts. There’s a little cartoon part showing one of the band members deciding whether or not he should go out on his own. The singer Donovan encourages him through the TV.
I saw it a couple of days ago and the scene I remember most is how Zappa compares the guys going out after a show to a thoroughbred race. Snorting and all jazzed up they are led to their pens and there’s the bell! They charge the bar door and fight to get in as the announcer calls who is in the lead, who is on the outside and who is neck and neck. Maybe I found that funny because that’s how it looks to me and I’m glad he agrees.