From Mav: This is a different kind of call for comments than we usually do, but it may become a semi-regular feature. I was listening to old episodes of the podcast How Did This Get Made? a couple weeks ago and I came across their episode on the 1986 Prince film Under the Cherry Moon. Now I was happy to hear that on the podcasts, all of the hosts decided that they actually liked the movie. But I spent the entire show going “of course, they liked it. It’s a good movie!” But it was really bothering me, because the very premise of that podcast is that they only watch bad movies, and they seemed… SURPRISED… that they enjoyed the film as much as they did. So then I decided to go check out the reviews of Under The Cherry Moon on RottenTomatoes and somehow… it ONLY HAS a 36%!?!?!? It also has a 36 on Metacritic!?!?!? How?!?! How can this be. It just had never before occurred to me… People actually think that Under the Cherry Moon is a bad movie?!?!
They’re clearly wrong!
Now, if you’ve heard the show before, you know that I’m ok with liking “bad” content. After all, I maintain that Riverdale is the best show on television. I acknowledge its faults. I just understand it. I also am on the record as loving Cop Rock and Manimal! Hell, we did a whole episode of “Bad Things we Love” and it’s one of my favorites. Hell, we’ve done it a couple times! But I’m not talking about that. Instead, I want to just challenge everyone who gave this a bad review. I think you’re wrong! I think you’re demonstrably and objectively wrong! Under the Cherry Moon is a good movie! Really good in fact! Not just likable… really good!
It’s a post-modern satire of both 80s culture and the golden age of Hollywood, and the interplay between them as latter constantly mythologizes the former. All the while Prince is both critiquing and participating in that dichotomy. It is a study of gender and queerness as Prince deconstructions 1980s gender and sexual ideals. It examines the impossibility of post-racial identity in a society striving to be post-racial. It attempts to redefine the nature of monogamy and heteronormativity in a sex-positive homosocial, bisexual, polyamorous love story. It redefines masculinity and femininity while at the same time presenting a dual bildungsroman set against a modern film noir backdrop. The movie gave us the delight that Kristen Scott Thomas for God’s sake! It is a brilliant piece of cinema, and no I am not joking! It is a nigh perfect film and I want the theme song, “Sometimes It Snows in April” played at my funeral. I am frankly astounded that it is so misunderstood.
So what I want is to do a review show for this one particular film. Have you seen it? Do you like it? Why or why not? And if you haven’t seen it, go watch it. It is currently streaming on HBOMax. Then come share your thoughts here so that I can convince people that this is absolutely actually a good movie! (and if you like this a show idea let us know, because there are a few other films that we have been considering doing this format with). So watch it and let us know your thoughts!