As anyone who attended one of this year’s memorial screenings can attest, “Purple Rain” is a classic of rock cinema.
While no one will confuse Prince with Jack Nicholson, even with a relatively predictable plot, it’s impossible to watch the 1984 film without getting swept up in the spirit.
The same cannot be said, though, for Prince’s other forays into the movie world. 1986’s “Under the Cherry Moon” takes the performances out of “Purple Rain” and instead aims for “screwball comedy,” only really achieving “unintentional comedy” for most of its run time. And “Graffiti Bridge,” 1990’s quasi-sequel to “Purple Rain,” features great concert scenes but a quasi-incoherent story and the production values of a cheap music video.
The three films are getting a box set release on Oct. 4; fans can buy any of the movies on their own or the trio in the same collection. But while opting for the former option is understandable, there are still reasons to be thankful for the existence of “Under the Cherry Moon” and “Graffiti Bridge,” as non-essential as they are.
“Parade”: “Under the Cherry Moon” earned — and we do mean earned — a Golden Raspberry for Worst Picture. But “Parade,” its soundtrack, gave the world “Kiss,” “Anotherloverholenyohead” and the song that found a new level of gravitas upon Prince’s passing, “Sometimes It Snows in April.”
Kristin Scott Thomas: Before garnering an Oscar nomination for “The English Patient” and being honored by Queen Elizabeth for services to drama (yes, technically, she could go by Dame Kristin), the actress was playing a French heiress, falling in love with the roguish Christopher Tracy in “Under the Cherry Moon.” As a reward for her first major movie role, she lost out on a Golden Raspberry for Worst Supporting Actress only because Dom DeLuise decided to play a woman in drag that year (the ’80s, everybody!).
Black and White Prince Gifs: Biting his lip in a bathtub? Making eyes at someone out of frame? A slow zoom in on Prince in full seduce-your-girl-from-across-the-room mode? That’s Prince from “Under the Cherry Moon,” and assuredly it’s why the gif was invented.
Tevin Campbell: If you’ve ever listened to early 1990s R&B, you’ve nodded your head to “Round and Round.” Don’t lie. The young prodigy got his breakthrough with the Prince-penned song from “Graffiti Bridge,” which eventually hit the top 20 on Billboard, went Gold, and jumpstarted his career.
Jerome Benton: The non-Prince MVP of the late superstar’s film career, Benton is otherwise mostly known for holding Morris Day’s mirror. But as either the sidekick of the villain in “Purple Rain” and “Graffiti Bridge,” or the sidekick of the hero in “Under the Cherry Moon,” he shows solid comic timing and a knack for physical humor, the latter of which was mostly wasted by Prince’s non-direction.
“Thieves in the Temple”: The soundtrack to “Graffiti Bridge” may not be considered a classic in the same vein as “Purple Rain,” but it did give the world one of Prince’s finest tracks. Amazingly enough, it was reportedly the last song added to the film