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Last weekend, millions of Prince fans watched the 1984 music film, Purple Rain, in honor of his Royal Highness, the Purple One. The 3 hosts of Stinker Madness joined in and celebrated the incredible talent and brilliance of Prince Rogers Nelson. The world won't be the same without him.
Purple Rain is not a musical, let's just get that out of the way. The songs take place within the world as part of concert performances, NOT the characters singing the narrative of the film. As such, this film becomes one of those hard ones to classify that may end up being in the same genre as Ray, Walk the Line, That Thing You Do and even Metallica's Through the Never, which barely contains any narrative at all. While Purple Rain is one of the finest examples of this genre there is, we will not be judging it against those particular types of movies, but movies as a whole.
There's some problems with Purple Rain. The story is conflicting with itself for one. The Kid (Prince) and his band Revolution as supposed to be causing the owner of the nightclub grief, because Kid only plays songs that he likes and isn't pulling in much of a crowd. The problem there is that you can't say such a thing and then start the film with a phenomenal performance of "Let's Go Crazy" that would make the entire town of Minneapolis go ape-shit over. Any manager/bar owner would have seen that and said, "You know what, these guys are headlining this place for as long as I can keep them; which probably won't be for long." There's no conflict with the band that makes any sense; they are clearly the most incredible thing this place will ever see from the start.
Then there's sweet Apollonia Kotero. Let's all face it, she is not in this movie for her acting skills. She really really stinks. She's mega-hot. Mega-mega-hot make no mistake, but wow did she not deliver a line well.
Then there's some questionable film-making. A) there's 4 montages. 4 of them! B) The music video to "When Doves Cry" is cut and pasted into the film, but it's quite clear that the video was released in advance of the films final cut, including scenes from the film that were clearly cut from it. C) There's some really bad cuts here and there. Some may say this is nit-picky but they must be mentioned.
Finally, le'ts get to Prince. Wowie wow wow. I think we all know the man was talented but the music performances are so freaking incredible. Its truly breathtaking to watch. The man could put on one hell of a show. We would be bastards if we failed to mention The Revolution who not only support the performances but actually do solid in the acting department too. Well done, you!
In whole, Purple Rain is a template to making a film with little narrative or well told character development exciting and never dull or boring. It's not stop awesome business and we all loved it thoroughly. It has its flaws for sure, and without Prince and the Revolution (you could have the same "story" with any band) this thing is nothing. Put Prince and the Revolution back in and its a non-stop toe-tapping electric neon jolt of enjoyment to your senses.
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