Which Richard Pryor Movie Is John Mellencamp Referencing?

I replied in the “Sequel Song” thread about this, then realized that I never knew the reference.


In a late-90s VH1 special, John Mellencqamp spoke of how, over the years, countless people have stopped him and asked, “So, whatever happened to Jack and Diane?” Jack and Diane is, for those who don’t hear it one hundred times per day on FM radio, to date, his only Number 1 hit, from 1982, or so–it’s the one about the two American kids growin’ up in the heartland, dining at Tastee Freeze, and dribbling off Bobbie Brooks, and holding onto 16 as long as they can.

He said that usually he’d just be an asshole, and tell the questioner, “Nothing happened to them, they’re not real.”

But finally, he said he decided to check in on their relationship in a song called Eden Is Burning. It is obvious from the lyrics that they don’t seem to be getting on so well, and perhaps should have held onto 16 a little while longer, or turned 17 and got it the hell over with. I assume it is the character Jack who says, “How could I have been so wrong about you?” to Diane.


What Richard Pryor movie is it that they go to see that brings this realization and question?

Lyrics are at:


Thanks in advance,

Sir Rhosis (holdin’ onto 40 for five and half more months)

I would guess Some Kind of Hero from 1982. It was a semi-serious role, including some major strife with his wife/gf.

No quotes available on IMDB, but I seem to remember some heavy duty strife in Pryor’s character after getting released from the Vietnamese POW camp.
Another possible choice (another serious Pryor movie, in other words) would be Jojo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling, but it’s from 1986, so it might be outside the Jack and Diane era.

An answer might be in this site , but I’ve got to go and ain’t got time to read this all right now. Enjoy!

^^^Thanks, but as the song Eden Is Burning is from the 1998 release, simply titled John Mellencamp, and since he wrote it to answer “whatever happened to them,” I would think it would be a more recent movie, though I know Pryor has been basically incapacitated since the late 80s/early 90s.

I’m just saying the film doesn’t necessarily have to be from the timeframe of when Jack ‘n’ Diane was released ('82).

They probably went to see a revival festival or something–hell if I know. :smiley:

Sir Rhosis

Mellencamp.com has a transcript up of an interview he did for an Australian cable channel:

^^^Maybe I’m just dense… but that makes no sense whatsoever. Is he saying that the lyrics are about Pryor suffering from MS (I think, not positive what Pryor has)? They’re obviously about J&D living a masquerade, etc.

Thanks for the post, though. Mellencamp writes good lyrics, mostly, but he does come off as a dumbass illiterate redneck in most interviews.

Sir Rhosis

Another possiblity is Blue Collar (1978), another dramatic role in which Pryor and Harvey Keitel play working stiffs out to loot their union, but find out–can you believe this–that the union managers are crooked and have already been looting the union.

But I think it sounds more like “Jo Jo Dancer.” I do remember Pryor fretting about something in that movie (don’t remember if he was calling out to a lover, though) just before he went Johnny Storm.