Review: Too much spin in Casablanca Records story “Spinning Gold”

Lovers of 70’s pop will remember it fondly Casablanca records as home of KISS, Dona Summer, houses of Parliament and more. Unfortunately, the biopic about its founder is intentionally reminiscent of him to affectionately, hitting more wrong notes than right ones.

Spinning Gold” traces the story of the gambling dreamer and “record holder”. Neil Bogart (Jeremy Jordan), the singer-turned-music executive who boldly founded the independent label while banking heavily on himself. The bet eventually paid off, delivering parts of the 70’s soundtrack: KISS.Rock and roll all night long“; the villagers”YMCA“; whole seasons of summer hits. The film’s soundtrack is carried by those and non-Casablanca classics with which the film claims a significant Bogart connection (such as Bill Withers’Ain’t no sunshine” And “lean on me“; The Isley brothers‘ ”It’s your thing“).

Then there is the rest of the film.

It’s a labor of love, written and directed by Bogart’s son Timothy Scott Bogart (with other Bogart sons involved) about a flamboyant behind-the-scenes character who went through many disguises before eventually making it big. The adorable film commits pretty much every sin in the Big Book of Biopics. Stop me if you’ve heard this before: dreamer bucks convention, struggles, success breeds excess and drugs, marriage breaks up etc etc.

Played as the greatest hits of Neil Bogart’s life rather than a coherent album – there’s no narrative drive. Obvious explanatory dialogue spells out what everyone is thinking and what is at stake. “You know that no one has ever done this before,” says the friend. “Because no one has ever tried it before,” replies the dreamer. However, key components remain unexplained (most viewers will have no idea what “the Carson album” is) and key characters just disappear, phew

The talented singers who play later superstars shine. Wiz Khalifa it glows as George Clinton. Jason Derulo is charismatic like Ron Isleyhow it is Casey likes as Gene Simmons. Tayla Parx is easy to find as a buzzer. Among the experienced actors Jason Isaacsas Neil’s busy dad, is good at everything.

But whenever the focus isn’t on those smaller roles, the film loses its breath. Falling off the top of the cliché tree and hitting every branch on the way down doesn’t help, especially with his all-too-familiar declaration that “every bit of it was true; even the parts that weren’t.” Giving yourself license to just make things up doesn’t mitigate the rewriting of the film’s musical story to place Bogart at the center of classics like “Midnight train to Georgia“, “I love you baby” And “beth‘ if the real stories behind those songs are long out there, told by the artists and writers themselves. Hell, the movie even credits Bogart with founding the ‘YMCA’ dance (he did not create this dance).

The bizarre flourishes, overly familiar storytelling, and lack of character development let viewers down (there’s no chemistry between Jordan and and the actors who play Bogart’s mistress; we only know because we’ve been told that someone was Neil’s “best friend”). Filmmaking lacks the style to achieve its idiosyncratic blend of fact and fantasy.

At least there are songs to enjoy.

“Golden Spinning”

Evaluation: R, for ubiquitous language, drug use, some sexual material, and nudity

If: Opens Friday

Where: Wide release

Duration: 2 hours, 17 minutes

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