200 Motels is the 1971 experimental musical starring Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention. The overarching plot is about the band’s boredom as they travel from concert to concert, sleeping in motels. The film does not follow a linear plot; instead it is a series of surreal skits tied together by the story. Subjects include the band’s desire to escape Zappa’s shadow, the trials and tribulations of being famous and dream sequences where they meet the devil. It also includes songs performed by the band and background music by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
This movie is not for everyone, while Frank Zappa and experimental film fans may like it, viewers looking for a more conventional story should watch a different movie. Frank Zappa is talented enough to get away with it. It is easy to imagine this movie as the surreal daydreams of a rock band who are bored out of their minds. The music is pretty good and has a good sense of humor. The best parts are whenever Cowboy Bert shows up and the classical piece spoofing music reporters. Honolulu Frank Zappa fans should at least rent it.
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