200 Motels | Chicago Reader

200 Motels

Frank Zappa's idea of musical comedy (1971), in which the Mothers of Invention are stranded in a studio-set state of mind called Centerville. The movie was an early video-to-film transfer, and much of it is ugly and amateurish, though not inappropriately. Zappa's most ambitious compositions (performed by the London Philharmonic) share screen time with nostalgic freak humor. With Ringo Starr, Keith Moon, and—for some reason—Theodore Bikel.



  • Tony Palmer
  • Charles Swenson


  • Theodore Bikel
  • Mark Volman
  • Howard Kaylan
  • Ian Underwood
  • Aynsley Dunbar


  • Frank Zappa

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