Now that everyone is revisiting Purple Rain as we all deal with our grief, I wanted to quickly revisit an opinion I’ve had since I watched the movie as a kid: Morris Day and The Time are the actual heroes in Purple Rain. I’m not saying they’re “nice guys.” They are young local musicians, and if there is anything to know about young local musicians, it is that they are scumbags. But Morris and Jerome and the gang are definitely better than The Kid, who is a massive dick. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
First of all, I just want to say that the first 10 minutes of Purple Rain are some of the most exciting in 80s movie history. I’ve written before about how thrilling I find “Let’s Go Crazy” as a song, but in terms of setting up a tone and creating a world, that opening montage is perfect, showing glimpses of the excitement of the Minneapolis music scene, our main characters and their personalities, we see Morris Day’s flamboyance, as he vacuums his apartment in a headscarf, The Kid, being Broody Mc Broodface before the show, Apollonia as the wide-eyed newcomer/thieving cheapskate, skipping out of her cab fare. I also love the movie extended version of Let’s Go Crazy, even though it’s also kind of corny with the synchronized jumping. Either way, I could watch that opener over and over again, and that could be the movie. Because that’s about as likable as The Kid gets.
Look, I know The Kid has major, major problems, coming from an abusive home and what not, so we’ve got the obvious part about his abusiveness but even beyond that, he is the Worst Bandleader Ever. Here’s why.
1.) He’s always late for practice. Always. Meanwhile, his band mates sit around all day waiting for his ass. Wendy and Lisa make the most of it by writing their own shit but Bobby Z and them just sit around like the poor dog in that one Futurama episode. Then The Kid shows up and gets all snippy about where Wendy and Lisa are.As someone who is routinely late for band practice, I at the very least try to be apologetic about it and bring beer and shit.
2.) He plays weird mind games with women. Let’s face it, The Kid is a misogynist. But he’s also just in general one of those dudes who likes to flirt with women by insulting and belittling them. Even Morris Day, who had Jerome throw his ex in a dumpster, was pretty upfront with Apollonia about his intentions and didn’t get all weird and jealous around her. I’m not saying Morris Day would be a good boyfriend, but he doesn’t come off like a sexy creep from jump, like The Kid.
3.) Also, The Kid doesn’t show up for important meetings with the dude who is paying his bills. Billy, the club manager is like, “show up to this important meeting” The Kid’s off, I dunno, I think he’s off brooding, playing mind games with Apollonia and riding around on his motorcycle, while Morris Day is trying to help Billy keep the clubs lights on. As a kid, I thought Morris Day was a jerk for trying to get Billy to fire The Kid, but honestly, Morris is an awesome team member for thinking of the club and trying to help Billy bring in more of an audience. Sure, Morris doesn’t pay his champagne bill tab, but he’s doing extra work for the club, so he should be allowed.
4.) ALSO…. The Revolution only plays one goddamn song a night??? What kind of bullshit is that? And he likes to work out his personal shit on stage like a diva. I would have fired The Kid a long time ago, if I was Billy.
5.) Additionally, The Kid is mean to his bandmates and the people at the club. As I mentioned, he’s late, he ignores Wendy and Lisa when they come to him with a demo (for “Purple Rain!!!) and he calls their song “stupid.” He barely acknowledges the existence of the blonde cocktail waitress who’s clearly in love with him. (Aside: when I was younger, I hoped that there would be a sequel where they got together, but as adult, she could do SO MUCH BETTER OMG.)
Anyway, I know The Kid is super talented, but WHY put up with that shit!? “Purple Rain” was a great performance and he redeemed himself but trust me, that mofo is just gonna be late for band practice tomorrow. That’s why Wendy and Lisa were about to dip.
So in conclusion, Morris Day and the Time are professional, helpful and hard workers. I would love a reimagined Purple Rain from their perspectives because they are the unsung heroes of this film.