Thursday, November 30, 2023
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Spinning Gold Review

All that glitters is not gold after all. Spinning Gold is not even close to fool’s gold. It is the subject of derision for its Goldmember-like status. The Merchant of Venice and Spinning Gold should never be mentioned in conjunction yet here we are. A cringe-inducing musical which, on reflection, has sapped some sense of self-worth and will to live away. That tends to be the case for biopics of the musical variety. Detailing the difficulties of making a vinyl pressing in its opening and then shoving its way into gospel music led by Jeremy Jordan of all people, the fear grabs the soul and shakes the life out of it. Neil Bogart, probably, deserved a little better than this monstrosity. Yet here it is, the first and likely only biopic of his life and work. 

Key to the unravelling of Spinning Gold is how it details the dirty dealings almost immediately. The conviction of a man carried by God and turned by money is an interesting development had the preceding and following moments not been Jordan spiralling through the gospel group. As the camera pans through the office of Bogart, displaying his achievements and pastel-themed home, audiences learn absolutely nothing about the man that they could not find in every darkened corner of the music industry. Of course, he has a dabble in drugs and a penchant for alcohol. Is he allowed to be a record producer if not? Hard chemical substances are needed to get through Spinning Gold and Tassimo flat whites simply do not cut it. Putting up with introductions to the team as though this is The Boat That Rocked is agony. 

Janky piano notes fire through the everyday appearances of 1970s plaid stereotyping. Bogart’s life is an interesting one, containing the likes of T. Rex and KISS on his Casablanca roster. Forgive Spinning Gold for its twee look at these moments, it is more concerned with the personal, controversial flutters than the achievements. Even then, the affairs, drugs and drink are of little interest because of how tremendously dull it is presented. Jason Isaacs and Wiz Khalifa appear throughout and do very little. Joey Diaz and Jason Derulo appear in the same film, and for the slim crossover this provides, although not on screen together, Spinning Gold is worth noting in the back of the mind. Just in case a link is needed between Joe Rogan and Cats. It never is needed, but better to be prepared than ambushed by Derulo trivia.  

Spinning Gold is a bit like being ambushed, in the sense that it is neither pleasant nor expected. Timothy Scott Bogart keeps the machine whirring away, the music industry captured in all its green and pleasant vagueness. Nobody can get deep into the heart of the industry without the fictionalisation of it. Almost Famous did it well but from the perspective of an outsider looking in. Like it or not, Bogart and his cast are the outsiders looking into Spinning Gold, regardless of personal connection or familial ties. Timothy Scott’s direction does the usual massaging of the real world, his father the lead and portrayed by a man who should be nowhere near the starring role. 

Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet

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