Too many subplots scratch this hot record.
Neil Bogart assures the audience that everything happened in “Spinning Gold” is true, even if some parts aren’t. He wasn’t related to Humphrey Bogart. In fact, his birth last name was Bogatz. He changed it, because that actor was a legend, and that’s where the name “Casablanca Records” comes in.
This movie stars Jeremy Jordan as Neil, who is ambitious enough to sponsor KISS, George Clinton, and Donna Summer. And Winslow Fegley is also cast as his younger self, back when he was entering the money game early. But as the film exhaustingly explains, the company is on the verge of bankruptcy, all because of his gambling. He’s a gambler on literally money and ambition. And it goes on and on, up to the point of us begging for these guys to quit fighting and start bringing on the high spirits.
Here are the multiple subplots that are all cut and paste. Half the time, we get some likable performances and some nice music covers, half the time, we get routine and generic concepts.
His father Al Bogatz (Jason Isaacs) tells him to reach high, and Neil would eventually make more money than him, which is why the old man asks for money from time to time. At least, he criticizes his boy for drinking and snorting, which obviously screws him up.
Buck (Dan Fogler), Larry (James Wolk), and Cecil (Jay Pharoah) are among his friends and associates. And out of all of them, Cecil is the one who tries to be Neil’s voice of reasoning.
On the romantic side, there’s his first wife Beth (Michelle Monaghan), who first believed in his dream, and later, KISS manager Joyce (Lyndsy Fonseca), whom he has an affair with. Beth has to be the one to criticize him for not being home much with their family, and for having romantic feelings for Beth; while Beth is mostly arguing about the stakes in the company as well as with his associates and sponsored singers.
The singers the company was associated with are portrayed by real singers. You get Wiz Khalifa as George Clinton, you get Jason Derulo as Ron Isley of the Isley Brothers, you get Casey Likes as Gene Simmons of KISS, you get Ledisi as Gladys Knight, you get Pink Sweats as Bill Withers, and you get Tayla Parx as Donna Summer. And other stars like Sebastian Maniscalco (as record producer Giorgio Moroder) and Vincent Pastore (as mobster Big Joey) also come in.
Neil Bogart died at the age of 39, and there’s a scene at the end when the movie character informs the audience on that. But not even the real Neil’s son Timothy Scott Bogart could honor his late father with his writing and direction. I like Jordan as Neil, Fonseca as Joyce, Pharaoh as Cecil, and Parx as Donna Summer, and some of the music covers are entertaining, while others are forgettable. More of the high spirits and less of the cliches and arguments would have been enough to keep the film in focus. I couldn’t grab all the real material with these dramatizations and behaviors. It’s supposed to be in love with R&B and rock music-the good stuff-but it doesn’t give them clean audio.
“Spinning Gold” in the same analogy of a broken record, which keeps playing the same part of the song over and over and over and over again. It’s not as commercially spoiled as the Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody,” but it’s too long and self-pleasing for my tastes.