Sunday, September 4, 2016

SPOILER - He Does Get to Rap

Graffiti Bridge (1990) is the last of Prince's movie trilogy. In some ways, it's a sequel to Purple Rain; in some ways it's just silly.

Once again, Prince and Morris Day are rivals in the Minneapolis dance scene. Day and Prince have half shares in Prince's club, maybe the one they working in in Rain. It is failing because Prince is trying to be David Bowie. Seriously, he wears weird geometric black-and-white outfits and dances in an angular fashion to some mildly avant-garde music. Meanwhile, Morris Day and the Time are bringing the funk with super-tight stepping. In fact, Prince gets dogged in his own club. Embarrassing!

During all this, we get glimpses of a Ingrid Chavez watching from the background and writing poetry under a bridge. SPOILER - she is an angel. I guess this is obvious - Prince voice-overs about angels, Ingrid interior-monologues about how she doesn't understand human emotions, and so on. But I thought she was just a bit naive, or possibly on the spectrum. Anyway, Prince is into her - he drives by her at the bridge on his motorbike, but doesn't shove her in like in Rain. Of course, Morris Day has to try to seduce her, as part of his war with Prince.

There isn't as much musical battle as you might hope for. There is one cut each for the other clubs in the neighborhood - one owned by Mavis Staples and the other by George Clinton. There's the usual running joke about Prince not giving anyone else a chance to contribute creatively - one of his band members wants to rap. But he let's Mavis and George and the Time have plenty of room to funk out.

Last SPOILER - Chavez lets herself be run over by a truck to get everyone to realize that the musical battle is wrong, and they shouldn't be fighting but loving each other, and besides, Prince's musical setting of one of her poems wins the battle anyway. At this time, I haven't realized she is an angel, and I am very upset that everyone is so cool with her sacrifice - straight-out suicide - because it let Prince and Day forget their differences and shake hands. But she's an angel, so it's cool.

So we get Prince as a conflicted outsider fighting loutish Morris Day - but without motivating Prince's angst in his family drama. We get the girl who is being fought over, but she isn't a girl really. We even get the band member who wants to do his own thing. It has a lot of the same beats as Purple Rain, but it doesn't have the strength. Also, the songs are not as strong.

Now that we've seen all three, I'm going to give my unpopular opinion: Cherry Moon is my favorite Prince movie.

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