Welcome to today’s show is Purple Rain (1984), my name is John. As always you can subscribe to the show on iTunes or follow the links to social media in the podcast show notes. You can also go to classicmovierev.com to read notes, bios, and other random movie thoughts. Remember this show is completely free and independent. All I ask is that you jump over to iTunes and give me a review.
We lost the great talent Prince Rogers Nelson this week. As I listened to the music again I realized what an impact he had on the 1980-90s. I have seen pieces parts of this movie but have never taken the time to watch it beginning to end. So I thought I would. Today’s movie is Purple Rain (1984) as my tribute to the artist formally known as Prince.
In this semi-autobiographical story, there are not a lot of mainstream actors but plenty of musical talent.
Prince was born Prince Rogers Nelson in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1958. Both his parents were musicians. I won’t go into the details of his musical career, I will just paraphrase James Brown’s question – who is this kid that plays like Jimi Hendrix and can do a full split at the same time?
In 1984, Prince released the Purple Rain soundtrack and it is arguably his greatest work. Prince won two Oscars for the movie Purple Rain (1984), Best Music and Original Song Score. I had forgotten that one of the songs on the soundtrack, Darling Nikki, prompted Tipper Gore to help form Parents Music Resource Center (P.M.R.C.) that lead to labeling music explicit.
He released another movie Under the Cherry Moon (1986). In 1990, Prince released a sequel to Purple Rain (1984) called Graffiti Bridge (1990). The album was better than the movie and the movie was nominated for several Razzie awards.
Prince died on April 21, 2016, in Chanhassen, Minnesota, at his Paisley Park recording studio at the young age of 57. Life is just a party and parties weren’t’ meant to last.
Apollonia was born Patricia Kotero in 1959. She won the Miss San Pedro beauty contest and works as an LA Ram cheerleader before trying her hand at acting on television. When she landed the role in Purple Rain (1984) she also obtained a world famous band, Apollonia 6 who mostly performed in their underwear. Now until I did this review I though Apollonia was Vanity who was in The Last Dragon (1985). Vanity died in 2016 at the age of 57. I was ready for a big curse thing but wrong actress.
After the movie, she went back to television for 10 weeks on “Falcon Crest” 1981-1990. She continues to release music and make movies. However, there is really nothing to speak of.
Morris Day is a singer that was born in 1957 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His three big movie appearances are Purple Rain (1984), Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001), and Graffiti Bridge (1990).
Clarence Williams III was the only real actor in the bunch. He was also born to a multi-generational musical family. After serving two years in the Air Force he began doing stage work. He was cast in one of my favorite youth shows – “The Mod Squad” 1968-1973. He stayed away from movies for a while but returned in the 1990s with films like Purple Rain (1984), I’m Gonna Git You Sucka (1988), and Sugar Hill (1993). He also did some television during this period.
The movie starts with The Kid and his band (Prince and the Revolution) playing “Go Crazy” at the world’s hippest club. Apollonia (Apollonia ) runs out on a cab fare and Morris (Morris Day) is vacuuming his apartment. Apollonia checks into a sketchy motel as Morris and his toady Jerome (Jerome Benton) drive to the club.
Apollonia slips into the club and makes tries to see the manager but is hypnotized by the Kid as he plays. Morris and Jerome are in a band called “The Time” and are more popular than the kid’s band as they belt out “Jungle Love.”
When the Kid sees Apollonia he is hypnotized as well. The Kid returns to his house where his father (Clarence Williams III) is screaming at his mother. When the kid intervenes his father knocks him to the ground.
The scene switches to Morris walking with the club manager as he complains about the kid not showing for the meeting. The mention that the kid’s father messed up his own and his wife’s musical careers. Morris recommends to the manager that they get a girls group for the club.
The Kid shows up at the club and the waitress gives him a song that Windy and Lisa, from the Kid’s band, wrote.
Morris starts putting his girl band together. He wants Apollonia but wants her to come to him. When a girl starts fussing at Morris, Jerome throws her in a dumpster. Nice people.
The Kid finds Apollonia on the street and they start flirting. He drives her to the country on his purple motorcycle to the tune of “Take me with You.” They pull up to a lake and stop. He tells her that to be a star she has to purify herself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka. She strips and jumps in and he tells her this is not Lake Minnetonka. He pretends to drive away and leave the wet naked girl.
Morris and Jerome do a who’s on first bit. Lisa comes backstage acting all weird about their song. The Kid has a long history of not using songs from his other band members. The Kid doesn’t really care about anyone else’s feelings. After his band leaves, he listens to the song and it’s Purple Rain.
Morris meets Apollonia for drinks. He’s a real good guy. He tells the waitress to keep the change but sends Jerome to get the change. The Revolution play another set and the song makes Apollonia fall for The Kid. Apollonia stalks The Kid and catches him in the alley. So they go to his house and the parents are kissing it up with candle light and stuff. They sneak into the basement of the house to The Kid’s secret layer where they kiss it up and a little more.
He drops her off at the fleabag motel and walks in on Windy and Lisa practicing their Purple Rain song. He tells them he is not going to do their “stupid music.” When Apollonia comes outside Morris and Jerome are waiting to hire her.
Waiting in his room, the Kid listens to Windy and Lisa’s song again. Upstairs he hears his parents fighting again. He breaks up the fight after his father hits his mother. Apollonia shows up with a guitar she bought for The Kid by pawing her necklace. In the happy moment, she tells him she is going to join Morris’s group and he hits her.
The Kid shows up late for band practice again and Lisa and Windy are not there. He is called into the club manager’s office where his band is put on notice to be fired. He is also told that Apollonia 6 will be the replacement. He has a dream montage to the tune of “When Doves Cry.” When he gets home his mother is outside crying. He finds his father sadly playing the piano with an original composition. He begins to realize he is acting like his father in terms on not listening to others and only using his music.
The band plays another set at the club as the manager watches. The Kid sees Apollonia with the manager and freaks. He sings Darling Nikki directed at Apollonia and she runs out. The Kid leaves in the middle and the manager tells him he is just like his father. Jerome comes by and tells him it was messed up what he did to Apollonia and gave him tickets to their show for the next night.
The next night Apollonia 6 sings “Sex Shooter” while they dance in their underwear. The Kid watches from the back. The club manager tells the Kid that tomorrow night is his last chance. Apollonia gets drunk after the show and goes with Morris. The Kid comes flying down the alley on his bike and knocks Morris down. He chases Apollonia down and demands she get on. There are laws against this in most states. He takes her to a place by the train tracks under a highway where you would be instantly killed by junkies if you stopped. They get into another fight and the kid gets violent and almost hits her. Apollonia runs away in her underwear, from the show, in the worst part of town.
When the Kid gets home the door to the house is open and everything is destroyed. His dad shoots himself in the head. The Kid has another flashback and thinks about killing himself. He destroys the house in a rage until he finds a box with his father’s music. In the morning he listens to Windy and Lisa’s song again. He adds to it from his father’s riffs and it becomes a masterpiece.
That night at the show “The Time” play first lead with “The Bird.” There is real tension with the Kid’s band. The Kid dedicates the song to his father and gives Windy and Lisa credit for the song. As the Kid sings Purple Rain there is not a dry eye in the joint. Even the club manager is digging it. The Kid runs outside to his bike but hears the cheering and goes back in. Apollonia is there crying as well. She kisses and forgives him. Back on stage the jump into “I Would Die for You” something his dad said to his mother.
He goes to the hospital and sees his mother sitting vigil over the wounded father. The Kid and Apollonia live happily ever after as they organize his father’s music.
World-Famous Short Summary – From Prince – You can always renegotiate a record contract. You just go in and say, ‘You know, I think my next project will be a country-and-western album.’
Country girl finds a big city abusive boyfriend
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Beware the moors