I went bonkers with Settings 101 this week so I’ll keep my assessment to a minimum. Besides my take is boring, while Patrick’s is fun. That’s because I was mostly bored by Prince’s bizarre vanity project. Unlike Purple Rain we don’t get to be entertained by random Prince concerts (which was obviously amazing). Instead it kinda meanders around whatever plot it has (a Pygmalion-like knock-off) with Prince primarily tasked with ogling Kristin Scott Thomas and occasionally dancing around or playing the piano… but not performing. It was only not boring because it gave you the opportunity to observe some pretty terrible acting. This is made all the more amazing by the fact that Kristin Scott Thomas was only in the movie because Prince’s girlfriend (who was the original casting choice) turned out to be so bad that they literally couldn’t keep her in the movie. Yes it is real bad, but leaning towards boring for me.
It was a very lucrative Settings 101 for Under the Cherry Moon. That’s because I was looking for both the physical and temporal setting. In the case of physical it was pretty straight forward. We are introduced to the setting of the film using a shot of a hotel in Nice, France. How do I know it’s in Nice? Well the hotel is labeled “Nice.” Further, as Prince aims to establish his character as a hustler looking to marry rich he and his hustler friend peruse the newspaper for hints of rich ladies in the area. One article that catches their eye is the announcement of the birthday party of heiress Mary Sharon in Grasse, France… just a short 40 minute drive from Nice. So perfect, it is clear that we are set in the French Riviera, but not so much to get to A territory. Still at the C-C+ range. Clear enough, but not instrumental to the plot (just instrumental to Prince making the film), and not specifically provided to the audience. As for the temporal setting there are no moments where anyone says “Oh hey, what a wonderful day in 1985.” But we can pretty easily assume that it takes place in the 80’s given that there are personal computers seen occasionally in the background and Prince whips out a chrome-style boombox at one point. Lucky for us we can somehow still narrow it down to an exact date. That’s because that same newspaper article announcing the birthday tells us that it is occurring on Friday, September 13th. No year is given, but 1985 did have September 13th land on a Friday. We get further proof of 1985 in a later scene where Prince has the record ‘You’re Under Arrest’ by Miles Davis conspicuously propped up on a chair. That record was released in 1985, so unless we are to presume the film takes place in the future in 1991 (the next year where September 13th is on a Friday… unlikely) then we get a very soft exact date of September 13th, 1985 as the day of the birthday party in the film. Phew. That would be a C-. Exact date but not important to the plot and very difficult to ascertain. Boom. I. Love. Settings
‘Ello everyone! Under the Cherry Moon? More like Cautionary Swoon (nailed it). I think Jamie and I disagreed on this, but let’s savor those moments before you realize my true feeling, let’s go:
- The Good – The music is at the very least ok and at the very best glorious Prince. I thought parts of the direction were interesting as was the eventual choice to release it in black and white … and I’m done.
- The Bad – I think this film competes strongly with Howard the Duck for the worst film of 1986 and I thought it was far worse than any of the other films we’ve seen for the 1986 cycle (outside of perhaps King Kong Lives which isn’t a real movie so that doesn’t count). It is not shocking that Howard the Duck and Under the Cherry Moon ultimately tied for worst picture that year. Let’s see: worse actors is easily Under the Cherry Moon, worse writing I think was Howard the Duck, worse direction I think goes to Under the Cherry Moon, worse soundtrack goes to Howard the Duck. And ultimately Howard the Duck is the worse movie, but it was closer than I could have expected. The acting alone in Under the Cherry Moon is like watching amateurs dress up and crack jokes in a period comedy (oh wait … that’s exactly what this movie is). I did not like this movie, and yet it is fascinating in a very strange and magnetic way.
- The BMT – Yes, a thousand times yes, although this film is more boring that something nuts like Howard the Duck. This is more like you are watching bad jokes and bad acting sustained on screen all wrapped up in a bizarre gift. I think the BMeTric would be something like 40, distinctly above average, but not alluring enough to attract the number of votes necessary to get over the top.
Phew. I hated that movie didn’t I? I think, in the end, that is going to be the one takeaway from this cycle that kind of made it all worth it. Under the Cherry Moon is probably top 25 as far as bad movies of the 80’s for me and it needed to be watched at some point.
Let’s Remake this guy! Imagine that. I’m thinking Justin Bieber hanging in Paris fleecing young debutantes out of their millions. And then he finds love, oh what a world. The bumping Bieber tunes anchor this romantic turn for the young music phenom who appears poised to become a movie star in his own right! Starring Justin Timberlake as his world weary partner in crime and … I was trying to find a young french actress and the only one that kind of fits the bill is Adèle Exarchopoulos from Blue is the Warmest Color. Funny enough Bieber and her are the same age. One word Netflix … fate.