Yes, there was a time Prince had a bigger persecution complex than Michael Jackson. Why else would band mates, club owners and rivals in two movies tell him, “Kid, nobody digs your music but yourself,” only to have the Kid musically vindicate himself by borrowing inspiration from someone else, something that the real-life control freak would never do? Purple Rain, with its prissy tantrums and rampant misogyny, is a lot worse than you remember it but the live action and bonus DVD of behind-the-scenes footage remind you why, baby, he’s a star. Needless to say, the other two Prince-directed bombs have no extras except the music videos they should’ve been whittled down to — in Under the Cherry Moon every song is halted mid-performance, as if an entire Prince song in a ’40s period movie was some kind of union violation.
Graffiti Bridge, with its phony exterior shots that look like someone turned left at McDonaldland, rightly killed the Prince film franchise. Why would anyone waste his whole movie career trying to best Morris Day, with Prince even playing a Day-like gigolo in Cherry Moon and stealing Day’s trusted valet Jerome? By Graffitti Bridge, even Day’s forgotten how to play himself but still manages to whupp Prince’s ass in a battle of the bands. After concluding with their losing entry “Tick Tick Bang,” one of the New Power Generation mutters, “Man, I knew we should’ve played something else.” And you feel like saying, yeah, you dickwad, you should played “Purple Rain.”
Serene Dominic writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.