Daydream Believers: The Monkees Story (2000)

Created by television producer and future film director Bob Rafelson, The Monkees was a sitcom about a band developed specifically for the series. Initially a huge success in both the TV ratings and the pop charts, within two years the show was off the air, the records were no longer selling and The Monkees' one film together had noted critic Pauline Kael walking out halfway through. Likewise, this biopic starts off strong but becomes somewhat of a chore to stick with till the end.

After posting an ad for four zany musician/actors for a TV series, producer Van Foreman suffers through endless renditions of ‘Kumbaya, My Lord’ before settling on two actors and two musicians, Despite having very little in common, Davy, Micky, Peter and Michael do gel  together as a team and are soon run off their feet with a demanding schedule of filming, recording and personal appearances. It’s not long before cracks start to appear, as the musical half of the quartet insist on more creative input in the recording studio. 

 

While the humour of The Monkees TV show may seem dated their musical hits, penned by Neil Diamond, Boyce and Hart, et al, remain timeless. Thankfully “Last Train to Clarkesville”, “I’m a Believer” and “Daydream Believer” are all played in their entirety. Yet like the band themselves, once these songs fall off the playlist, the fun falls away afterwards. Though all four actors are given equal opportunity to register in their roles, Jeff Geddis dominates as the frustrated Mike Nesmith, whose own musical talents are stifled by Wallace Langham’s snarky Dan Kirshner. Kudos should also be extended to Colin Ferguson’s steadfast performance as the fictional Van Foreman.

There is also an amusing cameo by Matthew Schmelzle as an unhinged Jack Nicholson. Though the biopic correctly portrays him as the scriptwriter of The Monkees’ film Head, his performance indicates he wrote it while serving as caretaker of The Overlook Hotel.

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Van Foreman is a composite character, based primarily on director Bob Rafelson.

Film recreates two scenes from Head, one in which Mike Nesmith's birthday is celebrated and another in which the group appear as Victor Mature's dandruff.

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