(Photo Credit: Hero Partners & Howling Wolf Films)
(“Spinning Gold” trailer courtesy of Spinning Gold)
If you go to the theaters on or after March 31 and you hear a lot of noise coming out of a theater screening “Spinning Gold,” do not worry because it’s just me and the boys.
All we wanna do is rock and roll all night and party every day.
If you like a quieter theater, it’s all good because it’s your thing, do what you wanna do.
But if it gets too exuberant for you, inside the screening of “Spinning Gold,” you can leave on a midnight train to Georgia.
And although Bill Withers might disagree, they’ll still be sunshine after you’re gone.
The Neil Bogart biopic “Spinning Gold” is like the best and most diverse musical concert ever featuring the best of gospel, R&B, funk, disco and hard rock music on a movie screen.
And minus a few hiccups, “Spinning Gold” is a nostalgic and jamming trip down memory lane to a brief but epic moment in music history.
“Spinning Gold” epitomizes the fact that the music business is filled with snakes, sharks, hustlers, gangsters and pimps.
Although the current generation of hip-hop stars and executives gets blamed, and rightfully so, for an excessive amount of violence, the violence in the industry is as old as time.
Hip-hop mogul James Prince wrote in his memoir that the radio industry is a gangster’s paradise.
Therefore, music fans should not feel sorry for them when some of them must deal with the consequences that gangster’s often face.
Like George Jung in the gangster biopic “Blow,” Young Neil (Winslow Fegley) is determined not to end up poor and beaten down like his father.
In “Spinning Gold,” Neil’s father Al Bogatz’ (Jason Isaacs) vice is gambling.
Unfortunately, he is terrible at the art of gambling.
As a result, his body and family pay the price for his bad luck.
But life is often a funny thing.
Sometimes parents have dreams.
However, sometimes they do not have the talent or opportunity to fulfill those dreams.
Nevertheless, sometimes their children inherit their dreams.
But sometimes the youngsters possess more talent and opportunities than those from the previous generation.
“Spinning Gold” crystalizes that reality.
Neil (Jeremy Jordan) has inherited his father’s gambling and hustling mentality.
However, he has much better luck than his father ever had.
Although Neil grows up poor, he gambles by shooting his shot at the well-to-do Beth Weiss (Michelle Monaghan), whose parents own the hotel that Neil works in.
In “Spinning Gold,” Neil gambles that a single he records can beat a song by Elvis Presley on a New York radio show and wins.
And he gambles his own money when he gets a promotions job at a record company that refuses to give him marketing money.
However, Neil really cashes in on his luck when he gets a more powerful job at Buddha Records and he begins stealing artist from Motown Records like The Isley Brothers, Gladys Knight and the Pips and the up-and-coming Bill Withers, who has caught the eye of Berry Gordy at Hitsville, U.S.A.
But like a true hustler, Neil cannot fold ‘em when many would have.
Instead, he leaves Buddha Records after such hits as Withers’ “Lean on Me” to try his hand at owning his own record label, Casablanca Records.
But when the music wunderkind finds out that all luck ain’t good, his entire universe could go up in smoke, or at least water.
If that happens, Neil can kiss his career in the music industry and his reputation goodbye.
Despite the peril that Neil finds himself in during “Spinning Gold,” the music gets him and the movie out of peril seemingly every time.
“Spinning Gold” does a great job casting Neil and Gladys Knight with singer Ledisi starring as the legendary songstress.
However, appearance wise “Spinning Gold” gets the casting of The Isley Brothers totally wrong.
Singer Jason Derulo portrays the iconic Ronald Isley.
Furthermore, the brief performance of The Pips leaves much to be desired too.
Although Bubba and the rest of The Pips were known by some just for their background singing, their choreography is what really made the family members stand out from behind Knight’s shadow.
The actors portraying The Pips were a little too lazy to measure up to the smoothness of Knight’s groupmates.
But the performances by Jordan, Jay Pharoah (who portrays Neil’s best friend and Casablanca Records employee Cecil Holmes) more than make up for the other casting miscues.
Filmmakers and executives picked the perfect title with “Spinning Gold.”
That is so not just because of the gold and platinum records that Casablanca Records released.
But for the spin that artists and executives must put on their own personality and name just to appear more glamorous to the masses.
Many of the top artists in any era have a public persona that often does not match their true personality.
However, when a person’s back is up against the wall professionally, creating a character for the public to consume is not too big a pill to swallow.
To many, it sure beats poverty, mediocrity and obscurity.
Nonetheless, many fans of Motown Records might detest the depiction of Gordy as a 1970s version of Suge Knight.
Although rumors of gangsterism have surrounded Gordy, the depiction of the Motown Records founder has always been one of class mixed with business and musical genius.
Gordy was definitely not a punk.
But was he an industry bully?
But as Neil states at the beginning of “Spinning Gold,” people remember things how they want to remember them.
Therefore, some parts of his biopic might be true, while others might be fake news.
What is not fake was Casablanca Records’ impact on the music industry.
Like Motown, it was the sound of young America for a moment in time.
And boy, does it feel good to go back to those musical moments.
The music will definitely tear the roof off the sucker to quote Parliament and its colorful leader, George Clinton.