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Purple Rain


With last month's very unexpected death of Prince, I felt compelled to go back and watch PURPLE RAIN again. I remembered really enjoying the music when it hit theatres in 1984.

Let's just say watching it today, 32 years after it's release, its jaw-droppingly bad and incredibly boring anytime the characters aren't on stage.

Prince stars as "The Kid", a young singer with a big ego, a ton of talent and a very troubled home life. His mother suffers many beatings at the hands of Prince's father (Clarence WIlliams III from TV's "The Mod Squad", by FAR the best actor in the film) who then often turns his punches to The Kid.

The Kid lives to be on stage, and so does the movie. Most of the songs are all still great, including classics like "I Would Die 4 U", "Darling Nikki", "Let's Go Crazy" and the title track.

Morris Day is funny and terrific as another act at the same club and his songs & choreography are still a highlight.

And then there's Appollonia as his girlfriend and struggling singer. Let's just say acting is not among her talents. Every time she's on screen she makes Prince look like Richard Burton.

Prince is an amazing stage performer, but as an actor, he goes from effective to almost invisible.

To his credit, his character The Kid is an ego-mad, bi-polar sexist abuser of women, so that's not a lot to work with....

The eighties editing, bright colors and stares into the camera must have been very avant garde at the time (it was certainly a huge box office hit and I enjoyed it at the time) but WOW this has aged as well as leisure suits.

Prince would rarely act again, following this hit up with the box office bombs "Under the Cherry Moon" in 1986 and the unofficial sequel to PURPLE RAIN called "Graffiti Bridge" in 1990.

It also starred Morris Day and Prince as the same characters, now battling club owners. I didn't even remember it existed.

Based on the box office, no one else knew it at the time either.

PURPLE RAIN remains Prince's film legacy.

As a filmed record of his stage presence and performing skills, it's an A. As a drama, it's an F.

We'll be kind to the dearly departed (we are gathered here together for this thing called...LIFE) and give PURPLE RAIN a C.

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