Purple Rain and the Castro Theatre are a film/venue combination of a perfection that might be matched only by screening Milk at the Castro, or The Hippie Temptation at the Red Vic, or Das Boot at Opera Plaza. Naturally, Friday night's Purple Rain screening was an event to dress for, and in addition to the requisite spectacular drag ensembles, many wore their flashiest '80s regalia: distressed denim, winged eye shadow, pumps with lacy anklets, bangles, bangles, and more bangles.
Prince's costar in Purple Rain, Apollonia, gracious and looking somehow younger than she did in the movie, chatted with Peaches Christ before a worshipful audience, later signing posters and posing for photos. The line of fans snaked through the second story of the house during the show and long after.
I don't know that I've ever found the experience of watching such a bad film to be so moving. And it is definitely an exquisitely bad film that has gotten even worse with age. The story and dialogue do not merit discussion, and Prince still claims his throne at the nadir of pop-star film-acting (and the rest of the cast almost manage to upstage him in this regard).
He stares, paces, swats at things, and resumes staring. It's odd that such loin-frostingly awkward sex scenes nearly garnered the film an X rating -- the ham-handed boob kneading, the kissing like two Brillo pads sniffing each other while the director yells, "Put some neck into it!"
The only shocker is the film's blasé stance on violence against women. Morris throws a female fan into a dumpster in what is evidently a comic moment. The Kid (Prince) slaps Apollonia several times, and with such force, we are asked to believe, that she slams into the ground. The only reprimand he receives is her "Why can't you just let me love you?" weeping and the club owner (who is apparently Cee-Lo Green)'s remark that he's turning into his abusive, tortured father (an insult met with stare #403). One is left to assume that his soulful, stareful performance of the abstruse power ballad of the title (written by the humorless lesbian stereotypes he spent the rest of the film dismissing) indicates that he's reformed.