He will be forever remembered as a former Monkee (and son of the inventor of Liquid Paper), but Elephant Parts is a reminder that Michael Nesmith was also a pioneer in music and long-form videos. Produced in 1981, the s... more »ame year MTV made its debut, the hourlong program consists of 41 comedy bits and videos for Nesmith tunes. Of the former, most star Nesmith himself and are short and silly in an inoffensive, slapstick kind of way, poking fun at TV commercials, rock stars, drug use, and more in a style reminiscent of Saturday Night Live or the now-defunct SCTV. The music videos, which include "Rio" (one of Nesmith's best songs) and four others, are clever and visually rich, making skillful use of the medium well before the advent of computers and other modern techniques. Monkee business? Sure, but darned amusing, and the first video Grammy winner to boot. --Sam Graham« less
K. Coleman | Phoenix, AZ United States | 05/28/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"These days a concert clip passes for a "video" of a song, and very few artists take the time and trouble to make a video that is in itself a piece of art, further developing and enrichening the song it is showcasing.Michael Nesmith stood at the forecastle of the video ship, sailing her into port with the production of this comedy album/collection of video clips, "Elephant Parts." Yes, some of the comedy is a little dated; some of it is just plain silly. But Michael never claimed it was anything more than silly; plus, amidst all the late 70's jokes you'll find the extreme timelessness of his opening monologue, discussing the fact that "there's something funny about the gasoline prices!" rings hysterically true today, as does "The Large Detroit Car Company." The words of his closing song, "Tonite," also speak to a 2000's audience.Enclosed with these comedy skits are five of Michael Nesmith's video clips, some of the best videos ever made in a time when video was truly its own standalone art form--made by the pioneer of video art. "Light," "Magic," and "Cruisin'" are all from Nesmith's "Infinite Rider on the Big Dogma" album (as is the above-mentioned "Tonite"), with "Cruisin'" being remembered fondly for its quirky lyrics and a young Hulk Hogan in his first major role. "Rio" is from the album "From a Radio Engine to the Photon Wing," and was probably the first major video clip release (although groups from the 60's had been doing it since, well, The Monkees cribbed from The Beatles). "Rio" is funny, it is thoughtful, and it is brilliant. "Elephant Parts" went on to become a short-lived NBC series called "Television Parts," which would give some early television exposure to such luminaries as Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno, Whoopi Goldberg, and Garry Shandling.Michael has a bizarre sense of humor, and you do have to be a fan to laugh out loud at his director's commentary (which we did). It's extremely silly and delivered deadpan serious, and I do believe you need a steeping in The Monkees, Monty Python and some of Michael's mid-80's work such as "Tahiti Condo" (from the CD "The Newer Stuff"). I thought it was hilarious, and laughed so hard it hurt. To be honest, I bought my copy direct from the source...-- it's cheaper here at Amazon, but Papa Nez will autograph it for you if you buy it from him. All in all, Elephant Parts is a classic -- nothing more, nothing less. "First Grammy for Video Music" notwithstanding, "Elephant Parts" was the beginning of the video age, spawning M-TV and its subsidiaries, VH-1 and CMT and GAC and all the rest of them. Just put your mind on hold and enjoy it for what it is."
The Best !! After all these Years, Nesmith still Rules!
K. Coleman | 04/01/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Many years ago when music video was in its infancy, I happened upon Elephant Parts. Michael Nesmith was my least favorite of the Monkees singing group, but after experiencing The Elephant Parts Video I discovered where the real talent was in this group. It is a "must see" program -- fun and nostalgic, yet, still cutting edge for today. Five stars is too low a rating for this knock-out piece!"
Loved the film, BUT.......
Paul O'Callaghan | Cranbourne, Victoria Australia | 10/08/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I just recieved the DVD of "Elephant Parts" & have just finished watching it, I haven't laughed soooo much in years!!. I used to own the VHS version a long time ago & watching my new copy tonight, it reminded me how funny it was. Mike Nesmith is trully a genius when it comes to not only producing music, but video as well & it's a big pitty that he didn't go further with his "back-to-back" video concept (MTV format) that he sold to a large television company, it could have been so much more interesting!!. I do have ONE slightly small complaint, I found the video quality it's self, to be poor. I remember seeing the video version I had having a much clearer picture, has the video deteriorated over the years, or was it sourced from an inferior master tape?. Apart from that I loved watching it again for the first time in years & hope that his follow-up T.V. series "Televison Parts" will also be released on DVD in the near future!"
"For anyone who doesn't remember the TV show (it didn't last long), this DVD consists of short comedy bits, music videos from the ex-Monkee, and the occasional moment of deconstructionism that somehow work wonderfully together. Especially enjoyable is the over-the-top director's commentary which serves as a parody of director's tracks in general, taking everything too seriously and having an amazing descent into incomprehensability. Each short section is a chapter so you can skip to the ones you want to see now. It's great for a get together with friends. Wonderful to have in digital format. As Nesmith says, "things just keep getting more modern all the time""
Sat. Nite Live Meets MTV
Seth in SF | 12/25/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Elephant Parts is a classic! The various bits are both strange and hilarious. I particular like the Marine Recruiting Audition, the Pirate Alphabet, and Neighborhood Nuclear Superiority. Some say this whole thing just doesn't make sense. That's the entire point! If you haven't seen the granddaddy of all the video efforts that followed it, you have a treat in store for you ... provided you can find it. This video has been out of print, and is just now available again on DVD, so here's your chance to check it out. Unfortunately, Amazon.com doesn't have the best price. For that you'll need to visit www.dvdexpress.com."