Spinning Gold: A Case Study In How Not To Do A Retrospective


If one is going to pay to see a movie in theaters, they have a duty to sit through the entire movie regardless of the movie’s quality. Maybe that is not the best way to go about it, however, once one gets past the ticket counter and is seated in the theater, one should at least finish out the movie both because they paid for it and out of respect for those who put in a ton of effort to actually make the film. Spinning Gold put this thought process to the test because it is an incredibly poorly made movie on every conceivable level.

Spinning Gold tells the story of Neil Bogart (Jeremy Jordan) as he finds and establishes Casablanca Records. That’s really all there is to the plot as it is not a particularly deep story. The cast also includes Jay Pharoah, Peyton List, Michelle Monaghan, Jason Isaacs, and Dan Fogler.

The movie’s narrative is told with this weird narration, almost like the director saw Goodfellas once 20 years ago and wanted to apply that to this film. It is definitely trying to elevate Neil Bogart to that same almost mythical level but it just comes off as almost an off-off-Broadway stage production where it does not add too much and just distracts, especially since it cuts to Neil in his office about 75 percent of the time so the action will halt while the viewer watches Jeremy Jordan pace, pour a drink, and talk directly into the camera with an over-the-top New York accent.

On top of all those issues, it feels like the movie was shot with several key ideas on a whiteboard and then have them connect in some way, but the connective tissue is tedious. It feels almost like an overcorrect from a movie like Babylon where the sequences between the emotion are way too over the top to the point that they can create a sensory overload, but they’re just boring here. Even the sequences where Neil is signing big acts or making big deals don’t resonate because they’re just so uninteresting.

It is not even like the spectacle is refreshing as the film was shot on a $27 million budget and it looks every bit of it. The camera is held in too tight in places because if they pulled out any farther it would show how little money there actually was, the costuming is among some of the worst (especially wigs, especially on Jason Derulo as Ron Isley) in recent movies, and the cinematography looks like it was shot by someone who has a vague idea of what a camera is without knowing how to properly use it. The sound mix is also questionable at best making the movie hard to understand at times.

If someone has respect for themselves or their time, they probably shouldn’t watch this movie. This isn’t even a movie worth waiting for streaming to watch as there are hundreds if not thousands of historical dramas about music that one would be better off watching. That said, it is fitting that this movie came out one year after Morbius.

Final Rating: 0/10

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