Shit in ‘Purple Rain’ that Doesn’t Make Sense

The film Purple Rain makes soooooooooo much more sense if you assume that the mother is dead and is a ghost haunting his father.

I don’t see another way to explain the profound level of derangement that Francis L. exhibits throughout the film, all the way to his attempted suicide (or suicide? the film isn’t clear on this) near the end. I mean, Francis’ uttered complaints toward his wife (played respectively by Clarence Williams III—better known to you perhaps as Linc Hays—and Olga Karlatos) are random and weird, mainly he seems to think she runs around on him and that she doesn’t keep a clean house. His lines, according to the screenplay, are: “Listen to me! You come home when I say come home! You’ve got no business in the streets!” and then “You do what I say, do you hear me?! You’ve got to keep this place clean! You here, no place else!”

The derangement of Francis L. and his wife (unnamed in the film so far as I can tell)—to the point that I prefer watching the film with the assumption that she is actually a dead person—is but one of the things regarding this film that I often comment don’t make any sense. I’ve commented often enough that my Mom asked me today, well, if it’s such a bad movie, then why do you watch it?

This week, I spun it up on the old DVD machine because it was released 35 years ago July 27. So to some extent, I watch it regularly because of nostalgia. Because its music was life-altering for me. Because it is the vehicle that propelled Prince into orbit. Because the performance footage is still some of the best ever filmed. Because Prince died three years ago and I’ll never forget.

That doesn’t mean the story itself makes any sense at all.

Here are the items that stuck out to me as I enjoyed the film last night:

  • The Kid is ALWAYS late to rehearsal.
  • Apollonia is from NEW ORLEANS? NEW ORLEANS? And she’s come to Minneapolis to make it? MINNEAPOLIS? Who is she, Mary Tyler Moore?
  • The Kid never speaks to Morris. Not once.
  • Francis L tells the kid that he has all of his music in his head. “I don’t write them down,” he says. “I don’t have to. That’s the difference between you and me.” We never see The Kid notate any music anywhere in the movie. Nowhere. The Kid never puts pen to paper anywhere in the movie, not even to sign a check, much less to create a music manuscript.
  • Billy Sparks, proprietor at First Avenue, has three acts and don’t need four, so one of ya’ll has got to go. What would you do in his position? I’d tell you that doesn’t make any fucking sense. A music venue needs many many many acts playing to keep the audience showing up. This is why bands tour. I’d invite bands from other towns to come in and play at your club, man, rather than trying to make your house bands compete so they can go from four to three so you can have a smaller take in the end. That is a business model that does not make sense.
  • The film “Purple Rain” spends 21 seconds watching Apollonia applying for a job. 21 seconds. Why not extend the scene and let’s watch her fill out her W-2s.
  • The Kid is a terrible kisser.
  • The Kid attacks shelves and shelves of home preserves. THESE PEOPLE HAD TIME TO GARDEN? WHEN? WHEN?
  • “I never meant to cause you any sorrow. I never meant to cause you any pain.” Then maybe let’s cool down on the bitch-slapping your girlfriend, Kid.

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