Under the Cherry Moon (1986)

underthecherrymoonBy: Oberst Von Berauscht & Bill Leon (Six Pack) –
How many beers do you recommend for this movie?
1 Beer! A Toast! Great Movie!2 Beers! Good Movie!3 Beers! Okay Movie!4 Beers! Mediocre Movie!5 Beers! Awful Movie!6-Pack! Bad movie! Do not be Sober!

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-Oberst: Christopher Tracy (Prince) and his friend Tricky (Jerome Benton) are a couple of con artists who seduce and swindle wealthy socialites on the French Riviera.  When Christopher meets rich girl Mary Sharon (Kristin Scott Thomas) he finds himself falling in love, much to the chagrin of Mary’s domineering father.

-Bill L.: Mary’s father Isaac Sharon tries to pay Christopher/Prince to leave their lives forever.  Prince tells him to blow it out his ass, and the race is on between Prince and Isaac to get at Mary.

A Toast

-Bill L.: This film’s soundtrack album, more commonly known as Parade, is one of Prince’s best albums and contains one of his biggest hits. “Kiss”. And Tom Jones covered it once.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYcY6L9Zy7w

-Oberst: Coming off of the success of Purple Rain, Warner Brothers gave Prince a sizable budget, and larger degree of freedom to follow it up.  Prince chose to direct the film, which was shot almost entirely in the costal French city of Nice with master cameraman Michael Ballhaus tapped as cinematographer.  Prince chose to direct the film, and surrounded himself with talented character actors like Steven Berkhoff, Alexandra Stewart, and newcomer Kristin Scott Thomas. And Prince Chose to Direct the Film.

Beer Two

-Oberst: Did I mention that Prince chose to direct the film?

-Bill L.: Prince’s directing style when it comes to his actors is chaotic and unfocused. Most of the actors feel like they’re on stage rather than in a film. The already weak script’s flaws are much more abundantly clear here than they would’ve been with a better director at the helm.

Beer Three

-Oberst: This movie tries to juggle two entirely different moods, that of a romantic drama, and that of a slapstick comedy.  For context; imagine you’re watching The Notebook, but where Bud Abbott is Ryan Gosling and Lou Costello is his goofy roommate. Contrary to certain internet memes, not everything blends…

-Bill L.: The tone is all over the place. Comedy, drama, and intrigue are juggled frivolously, and with much futility. Although these tonal decisions are ultimately dictated by the script, editing would’ve solved a lot of the issues (and wouldn’t have driven me to drink so much).

Prince1
“Prince, you fuck….”

Beer Four

-Oberst: Jerome Benton worked well as a comedic foil when paired off against Morris Day in Purple Rain.  Prince, on the other hand, is clearly not gifted at comedic delivery, leaving Jerome struggling to find footing in a series of failed gags.  Nothing is worse than bad comic relief, and when your film’s funniest moments come from the “serious” parts, you’ve really got a problem.

Prince & Jerome doesn't have the same ring as Laurel & Hardy...
Prince & Jerome doesn’t have the same ring as Laurel & Hardy…

-Bill L.: Any scene where Prince and Mary have dialogue about their potential romance is so laughably bad I couldn’t breathe. What is even more surprising about much of the “serious” dialogue is that this is NOT a script Prince wrote (that I know of. Honestly, it’s got his manicured fingerprints all over it.)

Beer Five

-Oberst: While the film does attempt a kind of visual flair using black and white photography, these visual flourishes never fully pay off.  Part of the problem is that the film was shot in Color and processed as Black and White.  This creates problems for lighting because images which look well-lit and framed in color can often appear quite the opposite when converted.

-Bill L.: It seems that Michael Ballhaus and Prince were in a battle over who was visually in charge of this film. I get the feeling Prince tried to have more a hand than he should have in some of the cinematographic decisions on display here. The film looks dynamic as hell one minute and then the next it holds on an awkward shot, or the camera needlessly tracks all over the place.

Beer Six

-Bill L.: The film ends with a ton of melodrama, something reminiscent of the first Wayne’s World ending and the music video for “Mountains” that plays under the credits is kind of cool. It’s one of the few times we get to hear a song actually play out and it’s always nice to see The Revolution in a music video. But at the end of the day, it has nothing to do with this film or the soundtrack.

-Oberst: I’m going to go ahead and spoil the ending because I don’t believe anyone should have t0 see this movie.  Prince is killed by Mary’s Father Isaac…  A bummer ending that is hinted at from the very beginning, and features a positively tear-streaked “Oscar-worthy” performance from Jerome Benton.  Because Warner Brothers sees fit to take down every clip of this movie as soon as it is posted to Youtube, here’s a clip from another movie featuring “acting”.

Verdict

Six Pack

-Oberst: A shameful waste of resources, which could have been allocated to a more deserving passion-project.

-Bill L.:  Under the Cherry Moon is a mess. It’s everything you fear Purple Rain WOULD have been… maybe even SHOULD have been. Nonsensical, self-indulgent, completely up its own ass artistically speaking... But I’m not gonna lie, if you like Prince, it can be a barrel of laughs. And the soundtrack is fantastic no matter what.

 

Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for each Prince song

Take a Drink: any time Jerome and Prince attempt “comedy”

Take a Drink: when Mary speaks in monotone

Drink a Shot: when Prince visibly flubs a line

About Oberst von Berauscht

Oberst Von Berauscht once retained the services of a Gypsy to imbue in him the ability to accurately describe the artistic qualities of a film up to seven decimal points. To maintain this unique skill, he must feast on the blood of a virgin every Harvest Moon, or failing that (and he usually does), he can also make a dog do that thing they do where they twist their heads slightly (you know, when they're confused about something) at least a few times a week. I've gotten way off track here... The point is, Oberst is one of the website's founders, so... yeah

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