Welcome back to 1 out of 5 – Would Recommend, where talent in one creative endeavor doesn’t translate to talent in all creative endeavors. Our prime example of that is the 1990 sequel to Purple Rain, Graffiti Bridge.
What’s The Plot?
The Kid (played by Prince), musician and owner of the Glam Slam club, tries to create moving and meaningful art with little financial success while unscrupulous rival club owner Morris Day seeks to financially control all the clubs in the Seven Corners neighborhood. Into this tense stand-off walks the mysterious poet Aura, who is romantically sought by both men but favors The Kid. Will love & music win the day, or will Morris’ dollar prove almighty? Well, Prince wrote the flick, so…
Who Made This Beautiful Garbage?
Prince! This movie was the grand finale to Prince’s film career, which began with his starring turn and Oscar-winning composing on Purple Rain. His second film, Under The Cherry Moon (which tied with Howard The Duck for 1986’s Worst Picture at the Razzies), added “director” to his list of jobs while Graffiti Bridge added “writer”. The films get progressively worse the more control Prince had – he may be a brilliant musician, but he is not a talented filmmaker – but Graffiti Bridge is the most watchable of his directorial efforts because of just how off-the-wall bonkers it is.
Five Reasons to See It
- In Purple Rain, Morris Day served as The Kid’s musical, romantic, and business rival, but was ultimately not that bad of a dude. In Graffiti Bridge, he is a flat out scumbag gang boss – he sends The Time (his band/henchmen) to extort other club owners, he bribes city officials to ignore his dirty deals, and he tries to date rape Aura. He has jumped straight off the slippery slope, which just barely makes him less likable than The Kid.
- George Clinton and Mavis Staples both show up as club owners and each gets a musical number. This is actually pretty damned cool, though crimped slightly by their songs being 90’s era Prince compositions. But hey – talent is talent, and they’ve got a lot of it.
- Madonna was Prince’s first choice for the role of Aura. Early 90’s Madonna looked at the script and said (I’m paraphrasing) “…I don’t need more attention that badly”.
- Purple Rain was shot in the actual First Avenue nightclub where Prince and his associates got their start. This movie appears to have been shot in Tim Burton’s Gotham City.
- “Man, eff this noise.” – Jill Jones, predicting audience reaction to Prince’s next few albums.
This movie is more or less where Prince’s head disappeared up his ass, where it remained either for the rest of the decade or remains to this day depending on one’s perspective. It is cheesy, it is navel-gazingly philosophical, quite a bit of it resembles a series of music videos rather than an actual film, it’s just not very good. There is no more perfect example of a great artist blatantly overreaching their abilities than this movie.
Music’s still pretty badass, though.
NEXT WEEK: Since I unintentionally roasted Sean Pigeon’s childhood during Marvel Month, I’m going to hold my own fond memories to the flames and tackle 1995’s Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie.