Jump to content
Cameron H.

Ep 250 — Under the Cherry Moon

Recommended Posts

Paul, June, and Jason discuss the 1986 musical Under the Cherry Moon directed by and starring Prince. They talk about the answering machine duet, Wrecka Stow, hair brushing, and much more.
Listen to the Transformers For Charity episode over at https://www.hdtgminfo.com/
Subscribe to Unspooled with Paul Scheer and Amy Nicholson here: http://www.earwolf.com/show/unspooled/
Check out The Jane Club over at www.janeclub.com
Check out new HDTGM merch over at https://www.teepubli…wdidthisgetmade
Where to Find Jason, June & Paul:
@PaulScheer on Instagram & Twitter
@Junediane on IG and @MsJuneDiane on Twitter
Jason is Not on Twitter
See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Share this post


Link to post

Quick correction as I’m listening, Paul says during the scene where Prince buys flowers that “he doesn’t even attempt to speak French.” That he just points at the flowers and says, “ugh, ugh, ugh.” However, Prince is actually speaking French here — even if it’s pretty remedial. The French word for “one” is “un.” By pointing at the bouquets and saying “un,” he’s essentially saying, “One of those, one of those, and one of those.”

It’s a super easy mistake to make with American ears, and he doesn’t say “please” or “thank you,” but I felt like it was worth pointing out that Prince *was” making an effort.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post

By coincidence, Jerry Harrison was interviewed this week on U Talkin' Talking Heads 2 My Talking Head? and he brings up Under The Cherry Moon. It's around 2:10 into the episode and Harrison is not a fan.

Share this post


Link to post

This has been really interesting to listen to. I haven't seen the film since it came out (and like most people at the time I thought it was awful) but I do have a deep and abiding love for Prince. Hearing them talk about how Prince was always recording and wanted to release a lot more music reminds me of Frank Zappa, which in turn reminds me of the great Zappa biography called The Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play. In that book, the writer examines everything that Zappa released in chronological order, explaining each song and film and composition and then explaining how it all fits into a lifelong project. I feel that Prince's life is a very similar lifelong project situation.

That "record store" scene reminds me of the weird scene in Fast 7(?) where they go shopping for cars and make a posh guy take his shirt off.

Share this post


Link to post

I sort of have a Prince story.  Not sure if I should tell it but I will, you guys just be cool. 

I used to work at a book publisher and we did a book with him. And the contracts person told me that his reps asked that the book contract be printed on purple paper. She said she didn’t have any and I was like, you better get some. But I think she told them no. 

And this makes me sad. Especially since he died. Like was it too much to go to Office Max and get some colored paper? I bet I would have made the end of his life better.

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post

If anyone has seen this movie and wants to participate in my Post-Movie Survey, please do! It's meant to be funny and get people involved with each HDTGM movie. Already had some great submissions and I look forward to sharing them with you all!

Share this post


Link to post

I take affront with Jason saying Purple Rain is a better movie. Under a Cherry Moon is by FAR the better film. Maybe I just really hate The Kid the character he plays in Purple Rain but I always feel like it's just a depressing watch except for the music parts.  Oh and seeing that lady get thrown in a dumpster. That will never not be so crazy it doesn't delight me. 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post

I always feel very sensitive and protective about Prince and his death. My mother also died the same way. She accidentally forgot her fentanyl pain patch was still on or it never came off ( we don't know) she put a second one on before bed and fell into a coma.  She died about 24 hours after I found her. I'm sorry to bring everyone down by talking about this but I remember being so devastated when I heard how Prince had died. It's such a dangerous medication and my mother was on it under a doctor's orders I don't even want to fathom the dangers of the stuff on the street.  Rolling Stone did a really good article on the music industry and fentanyl. 

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/musics-fentanyl-crisis-inside-the-drug-that-killed-prince-and-tom-petty-666019/

Again sorry to destroy to tone of the board I just don't know how to discuss Prince and not talk about this. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

Fun fact this was  shot on location in Nice and the sounding South of France  at the La Victorine Studios. i wonder how much of the budget went to locations?

Share this post


Link to post

I wish they had talked about the bizarre premiere that this movie had because it is so in-line with how bizarre Under The Cherry Moon is.

MTV held a contest for one lucky winner to host the premiere in their hometown. The winner, Lisa Barber, was from Sheridan, Wyoming...not exactly a big city able to handle the logistics of hosting a movie premiere and a concert by Prince and the Revolution. 
 

The whole thing was a mess, but came together, much like Under the Cherry Moon. In fact, it was so wild, the story was optioned to become a film starring Elizabeth Banks, but that’s unlikely to happen now. The whole wacky story can be found herehttps://ultimateprince.com/prince-under-the-cherry-moon-premiere/

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
3 hours ago, Elektra Boogaloo said:

I sort of have a Prince story.  Not sure if I should tell it but I will, you guys just be cool. 

I used to work at a book publisher and we did a book with him. And the contracts person told me that his reps asked that the book contract be printed on purple paper. She said she didn’t have any and I was like, you better get some. But I think she told them no. 

And this makes me sad. Especially since he died. Like was it too much to go to Office Max and get some colored paper? I bet I would have made the end of his life better.

I just want it known I will pay double for a book with purple paper? Also this now makes me think of that scene in Legally Blonde with Else's resume which is pink and scented!

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post

It’s jarring how quickly this movie goes from throwback “Martin-and-Lewis”-esque romantic caper to “Ripped from the Headlines” reminder of systemic racism at the end.  I mean, Christopher was straight up ASSASSINATED by a uniformed officer!  Shot in the back, and he was not even fleeing law enforcement...just running to his lover. Granted there were no body-cams in in 1986, but I hope there was at least a grand jury investigation into Christopher’s murder.

I’m certain I’m not the only one who initially thought his death was really just some scheme he devised to make off with the girl (you now, bullet proof vest, ketchup in the mouth, etc, etc, then show up on the beach with the girl in the final reveal), but in the end, I’m kinda glad his character did die because the Prince and the Revolution song played from Heaven is probably the best part of the movie.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

I'm positive that this is not an original observation on my part (but I'm too lazy to Google it, despite being on a computer at this very moment), but did Prince invent the emoji? In his song titles, Prince would often substitute words with letters and symbols (i.e., U for "you," 2 for "to" or "two," a drawing of an eye for "I," etc.) That carries over to this film, where the first note his character, Christoper Tracy, receives reads, "She wants U. Ask for the moon." The song "Love or Money" (the B-side for the song "Kiss" from the accompanying soundtrack for this movie, Parade) is billed in the credits as "♥ or $." Even the subtitles (on Amazon Prime, anyway) utilize this Prince alphabet, as well.

I disagree that it was a mistake not to film this movie in color. This movie has a weird timelessness in black in white that, if it was filmed in color, would have dated this film horribly. Under the Cherry Moon feels like an issue of Interview magazine in movie form, so the black and white film choice seems in-line with that high-fashion aesthetic, as well.

A couple of times during this film, we see a middle aged man in a hat with two beautiful women in tow. Were they supposed to be the Greek chorus of this film? Or is Nice just that small?

The best part of this movie for me was Prince taking a bath, with a hat on, yelling "FASCIST!" while dive-bombing a rubber duck in rose pedal water. The rose pedal budget for this film, by the way, must have been insane.

Paul, you and June MUST watch Purple Rain. It's a great, albeit slightly flawed film that also features Morris Day (who almost steals the show). However, if and when you guys watch this movie, it must be a double feature that also includes the sequel Graffiti Bridge, which I guarantee will floor you beyond anything you've witnessed in Under the Cherry Moon. Graffiti Bridge, Paul: I shit you not.

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post

I'm happy HDTGM got back to doing a legit bad, bonkers film that could have been good, as opposed to the more intentionally-bad/no-expectations Z-budget films recently.

I'm honestly surprised the gang didn't find the time to get into Christopher/Prince's incoherent speeches about love and God.

To me, the funniest meta-omission about Under A Cherry Moon is that the film's title song, "Under A Cherry Moon" DOESN'T EVEN APPEAR IN THE FILM! It's a track on Parade, the soundtrack album for this film.

Share this post


Link to post

So Google informs me a Cherry Moon is a pink moon that happens around the start of spring . it sort of brings in spring I guess?

Share this post


Link to post

Well this can definitely fall under the HDTGM heading of "vanity projects that were destined to be bad." I mean you have Prince at an incredibly peak in his career after Purple Rain came out to massive success on all fronts. From box office returns to critical reviews to Prince winning an Oscar for it and the soundtrack becoming one of the best selling albums of all time. So when he tells a studio "I wanna make a black and white movie that's American Gigolo meets Dirty Rotten Scoundrels with a dab of The Cotton Club thrown in, and it's set in Paris. Oh and I'm going to direct it." Of course the studio wasn't going to say to no but I have to assume someone had to be a little uncertain about it working out like they hoped. And what Paul was talking about in regards to the first Evening With Kevin Smith special where he talked about doing some work with Prince and finding out that Prince had literally hundreds of songs that had been recorded, dozens of music videos had been filmed many on Prince's own dime, and they were just never released because either Prince changed his mind about doing so or the studio was interested in releasing them with whatever current album Prince was working on. You can find it on Youtube searching their names but it's only in 10 minute segments.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

A couple months back, a bunch of us forum folks watched and discussed Purple Rain, and something that struck me watching that movie, and something that continues in Cherry Moon, is that Prince seemed to be  completely unafraid of coming off as the bad guy in movies that centered around him. This is especially evident in Purple Rain where his character, The Kid, is extremely flawed and problematic. I think it would be tempting for a musician at the height of their fame to want to be portrayed on film as a sort of idealized version of themselves, and I find it absolutely fascinating that Prince was unafraid to play the more unsavory characters and allow his co-stars to play the moral centers.

Similarly, as discussed in the podcast, I always think it's endearing when celebrities allow themselves to come off as goofballs. Especially for someone like Prince dabbles with artifice. It's an interesting juxtaposition to see someone who is both acutely aware of their carefully calculated image and also doesn't really seem to care if that image is slightly tarnished.  

Honestly, the more I think about Prince, the more I like him.       

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, Cameron H. said:

Honestly, the more I think about Prince, the more I like him.   

I mean, yea. That's how I became a superfan. Haha. It was like, I knew his hits. Started checking out more and more and couldn't stop thinking about him and the songs. He's a fascinating and really complex guy. One of my best friends wrote a biography of Prince and there are so many stories. Juxtaposition is a good word, because he tends to be a juxtaposition of so many conflicting things. That's what's so fascinating.

Cherry Moon has a lot of the themes that show up in all of Prince's music and art at the time. Rich/poor, seduction/sex, jokes, androgyny, style. And as Jason said, rascally. That's why I loved the film. I know it's not great and probably could have used some co-director helping guide it better, but it is so full-on Prince in so many ways.

 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

I think my biggest complaint about this movie is I wish there were more songs. Songs would kind of start and not really go anywhere. So...if anyone wants to post their favorite Prince songs here, I’d love to hear them 😀

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

And in regards to what June was talking about the parental content sticker, it was Darling Nikki that Tipper Gore overheard her daughter singing the lyrics to and that caused her to get together with wives of other politicos and formed the Parents Music Resource Center and pushed for a hearing in front of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, which included a good number of husbands of PMRC members, about either warning the public about "porn rock" as it was called by them, or outright banning it. This led to Frank Zappa, Dee Snyder, and John Denver appearing as opposing witnesses at the hearing to argue against the potential censorship and first amendment violation that could occur from the hearing. It then culminated in Uncle Luke from 2 Live Crew helping to create the parental advisory sticker that adorns albums with content not designed for children. It also led to record companies creating those shitty as hell "clean versions" of albums where the dirty words or sex parts were just blanked out of the song.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×