Monday, June 9, 2008

Why Was Prince So Cool?

I have a question. OK, the movie "Purple Rain" came out in July of 1984. And while 1984 WAS 24 years ago, if you saw "Purple Rain" today, you'd think that 1984 was more like 124 years ago. So here's my question: WTF?!

For what reason was it that we (and by "we" I mean, collectively, "we") were completely convinced that Prince was a bad ass in that movie? Because we were! And not only was he a bad ass, he was a cool ass, bad ass! We were totally convinced he could kick our ass. Or anyone's ass! But why? Why did we think that? And if you're wondering why I'm questioning it, here, look at this:



Now do you see what I mean? Hoo-boy, where should I start? I suppose I could start with the movie poster itself and the lovely floral backdrop that the screen shot is set in front of. Yeah, floral. That just screams "1984 Bad Ass" right? Um, no. That kind of screams, "When can I come out of this closet? It's really foggy in here!" (It has to be handy to have a motorcycle that can double as either a fog machine or a BBQ. Handy for what, I'm not quite sure. But handy, nonetheless.) But again, let's look at Prince, shall we?



Now, I'll grant you, Prince isn't exactly the most masculine dude NOW. I mean, look at the pic below. In that picture, you will notice that Prince has apparently raided the closet of either The Joker or a pimp for his wardrobe and borrowed a head scarf from Aunt Jemima to complete the ensemble.


Just for comparisons sake, here's a picture of The Joker, just so you know I'm not making this stuff up. I think you'll agree that it's the freaking same.



But back to Purple Rain. Why was this cool? Actually, I can understand the "cool" part (a little), but it's the "bad ass" part I'm still having a problem with. We're supposed to believe he can kick anyone's ass even when...



  • He's wearing a white puffy shirt with ruffles in the front as if he's some sort of gay pirate,


  • He's wearing a long purple trench coat, similar to the kind that a gay Donny Osmond would wear if he were a flasher,


  • He's wearing slimming and tapered pants which go nicely with his freaking HEELS,


  • He's riding a purple Kawasaki with a big windshield,


  • He has at least 2 cans of mousse in his hair,


  • He's sporting a wispy moustache, reminiscent of the Buccaneer pirates of yore, and


  • His name in the movie is "The Kid".

So none of those qualities strike me as being overly masculine. Were we that desperate for bad ass role models in the mid-eighties that we settled for Prince? I had almost forgotten that his name was "The Kid". That could be a lead into another question, which is, Why is it that if you put "The" in front of a name, that makes your more intimidating? Some other famous "The" names would include:

  • The Terminator, (Now the Governor of California. Hard to say which is scarier.)

  • The Incredible Hulk (aka, "The Hulk", but only to his close friends),

OK, those two actually ARE intimidating. But "the" is used for other not-so-intimidating characters, such as:

  • The Green Lantern (what in the hell kind of a super hero is named The Green Lantern? How is a lantern a super hero? Does he light up the path to truth, justice and the American way? I don't get it.)

  • The Penguin (Again, I don't get it. Named after a small, flightless, waterfowl that resides in Antarctica. But put "The" in front of it (and add a top hat, a long cigarette holder and a monocle) and you've got yourself a villain!)

  • The Joker (See above. Usually just thought of as a playing card, but with "The", a green haired, dapper dressing evil-doer residing in Gotham City.)

  • The Easter Bunny (A rabbit, hopping around, delivering eggs. Scares the beejeezus out of me just thinking about it.)

You see my point, right?



I'm not even sure that I remember what the plot of this movie was supposed to be, other than Prince's big screen debut so that we could all see him sex up his guitar at the very end of the movie when it's all suspense filled and that suspense is about to peak. What is that literary term for the high point of a story plot? That's right! The climax. And that's exactly what happens. Wait. I just watched an entire movie that ends with the guy getting off with his guitar. Well, sort of. I guess I left out the part about his getting off with his guitar all over the audience that he is playing to. Ew. I mean, Wait. What?

I'll tell you, I prefer it if my bad ass movie characters can get off with something other than a guitar. Yeah, I'd actually prefer that they use a hot chick for that. But Prince? Nah, he's all good with doing it with the guitar as he turns his pain into his art. (And, in the process, turns our art into our pain.)

And while Prince is an extremely talented guy whose music I greatly enjoy, in "Purple Rain" he was, quite possibly, the least intimidating bad ass that there ever was.

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3 comments:

The friend formally known as DANA said...

I am guessing this stems from your not getting invited to his birthday bash over the weekend. I'm sorry about that, but wait, who are you. lol. SINCE you were obviously feeling brave to step into my territory, lets break this down "shall we".
Yes Purple Rain stormed into all our lives 24 years ago, the floral back round “poster” you refer to is actually the album cover. Do you remember what an album is? probably not.
All Honda's (reminiscent to the old police motorcycle) bared the big windshield, were you hoping for a Harley. I do believe that Harley Davidson, at that time did not want to produce a purple motorcycle, besides whats cooler then looking like a cop, have you seen the glasses?
Now I am still trying to figure out why you seem to think he wanted to kick everyones ass? Perhaps maybe yours, if he read this. He was raised with an abusive father and displayed a kind of John McEnroe(ish) anger during his time.
Joker resemblance well.....let me guess, your “What not to wear episode got cut”.
It was 24 years ago, he looked cool, besides obviously he was a trend setter, The Joker, Seinfeld, see. HEELS, let me remind you he is 5'4 and I'm sure you too sported the old mousse look.
The Kid ......The Marester, need I say more!

d said...

see this;
http://www.andrewmccullough.org/blog.html

d said...

see this;
http://www.andrewmccullough.org/blog.html