Believer [2001]

Director: Henry Bean
Stars: Ryan Gosling, Summer Phoenix, Peter Meadows, Garret Dillahunt, Kris Eivers
Genre: Drama
Rating: R (Restricted)
Runtime: 102 minutes

A made-for-TV movie originally broadcast on VH1, this film bio of the Monkees casts look-alikes as the first made-for-TV rock band (today's equivalent: O-Town). Told in broad strokes that hit the highlights, the film recounts how a TV producer (played by Colin Ferguson) decided to create a TV version of the Beatles by casting cute actors (musicianship was only a secondary requirement) as rock stars for a weekly comedy series. But surprise--producer Don Kirshner (Wallace Langham) was able to manufacture musical hits and the mock band became a rock band with musical ambitions of its own. The actors who play the Monkees look (but don't sound) like their characters, as do actors who were hired to play the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix, among others. Still, with the exception of a little pot-smoking, there's nothing particularly juicy in a tell-all that doesn't tell nearly as much as you'd like. --Marshall Fine

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