The story told in Criterion's The BBS Story box set is a major chapter in the output of producers Bob Rafelson, Bert Schneider, and Steve Blauner. These films were part of the New Hollywood era when a younger generation of filmmakers, influenced more by European cinema than their American predecessors in the studio system, rose to the cultural forefront. As the times were a-changin' during the turbulent '60s, not even Hollywood was immune from the rebellion that was sweeping the planet. The seven films included in this set, released between 1968 and 1972, showcase filmmakers that took risks in the stories they told and the way they told them.
Rafelson and Schneider headed Raybert Productions and struck gold with the multimedia success of The Monkees as the hit TV series about the fictional rock band spawned hit albums and singles. They parlayed that success into their first film, which not surprisingly starred the Monkees. However, rather than an extended TV episode of their goofy shenanigans, Head is more Monkees in Wonderland as the screenplay by director Rafelson, Jack Nicholson, and the band members, who received no screenwriting credit, present a collection of delightfully absurd vignettes that deconstruct the band, Hollywood, and the times.
The film's not completely satisfying as a whole, but a number of the elements work. The songs and accompanying visuals are well done as expected and there's a lot of humor. They also do a good job echoing the times. For example, frustration is a recurring theme throughout the film. It was something personal the actors/band felt as they clashed with the producers and network about the direction they wanted to go. Every member is seen experiencing it in the film. Mickey encounters a broken Coke machine out in the desert. Pete is upset about filming a scene where he's shown hitting a woman. Mike doesn't like the surprise party he's thrown. Davy fights former heavyweight champion Sonny Liston. Frustration was also something their generation was experiencing, most notably the Vietnam War which is referenced throughout. It's too bad they didn't present footage from the film's original 110-minute run time
As all the discs in the set, the movie is presented in a 1080p/MPEG-4 AVC encoded transfer and is locked for Region A. Head is shown at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. Colors are quite strong, especially the psychedelic solarization effect. Blacks are solid. Details and textures are good. Film grain is apparent but never overwhelming. Audio options are DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and LPCM 1.0. Naturally, the music is best heard through the surround option, which allows it to make the most of its dynamics. Dialogue is clear and understandable throughout.