This week on Bad Movies That Are Awesome, we're changing gears a little. Don't worry, I'll get to your requests again soon but for now I present a movie that is largely overlooked in the annals of Badwesome Cinema.
You see young'ens once upon a time there was a man who was the master of the guitar. He was an incredible song writer. He easily blended r&b, rock, funk, jazz and pop. He was a musical genius to behold.
And he was very short.
Yes ladies and gentleman, his name was Prince.
Serious, his real name is Prince. Prince Roger Nelson...but I digress.
Prince was become a real mover and shaker in the music biz and during the tour he came up with a movie idea about a really talented musician who's trying to not become like his dad, an alcoholic wife beater. He's also trying to get gigs for his band and keep his absurdly named girlfriend, Apollonia by his side all while battling the evil machinations of Morris Day and his band The Time.
Now first off, a warning.
This movie is terrible, from almost top to bottom. The script for instance is lazy. All of the characters with the exception of Prince and his on screen parents (his dad played by Clarence Williams III best known to folk at the time as Link on Mod Squad now known to a generation of stoners as the villain in Half Baked) go by their real first names. Morris Day plays Morris. Apollonia (to clear this up, that's not her real name but Prince apparently had this weird thing about naming the lead singers of bands he created) played a character named Apollonia. Prince however, having a ridiculous first name get's to go by "The Kid".
Follow that up with terrible acting. I mean dreadful. The best performance (acting wise) is Morris Day and he's esentially playing a bad version of himself. And Prince is terrible. Even though you know he probably fucked the crap out of her in real life (probably kinkier sex than you could imagine, probably up there in Adam imagination levels), you do not believe Apollonia would date this dude.
Because women do not date 2x4s and that's the extent of Prince's acting range.
So why, you are asking yourself, should I bother with this movie?
Because normally this would be just a fun, drinking movie. You know, you're spending an afternoon in your underwear watching reruns on TBS...sorry Peachtree TV and it comes on and you watch it because you are obviously hung over or bored.
But what pulls it together is the fact that with the bad acting comes an incredible soundtrack. It's amazing that it happens because it's bad acting bad acting and then BAM! Morris Day and the Time do "Jungle Love" then bad acting bad acting bad acting WHAMO! "I Would Die 4 U" (no that's not an error, that's how it's listed in the soundtrack).
The soundtrack makes the movie this weird combination that truly full fills the title of this column Bad Movies That Are Awesome.
And just in case you were wondering at how good the soundtrack is?
It won three Grammys (back when they sort of meant something) and it won an Oscar back when those did mean something.
Sure it was up against The Muppets Take Manhattan and some movie I had never heard of (which is saying something) called Songwriter (It stars Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson and from reading the description, instantly went on the must find and watch list) but damn it, Purple Rain still kicks ass 25 years later (random trivia, the 25 anniversary of the release date of the album was June 25 but got kind of over shadowed by a Charlie's Angel and a King of Pop dying the same day).
And it was never to be repeated. Prince went on to make two more films (Under the Cherry Moon and a Purple Rain sequel called Graffiti Bridge) that are not nearly this good or this bad.
Now I know a great many of you are going to do one of two things.
You are going to download the movie or you will buy it in an ultra cheap set that double bills it with Fame.
And I'm not saying this out of a "Shame on you, stealing is wrong!" kind of thing or a "stop being a cheap bastard" kind of thing.
I'm saying this because this is a movie that deserves non compressed non avi sound. This is something you should get the disc for due to sound quality alone.
And to be honest with you, if you're ordering it off Amazon, the two disc Purple Rain is only 2 bucks more expensive AND you don't get stuck with Fame.
Yeah that's right, I said it, Fame sucks.