Spinning Gold (2023)
Written and directed by Timothy Scott Bogart, this biopic has been widely described as a love letter to his father. Yet Spinning Gold is no hagiopic, detailing Neil Bogart’s infidelity, drug use and fondness for gambling. Cementing its achievement as a ‘warts and all’ portrayal of the record producer is an utterly charmless performance from Jeremy Jordan in the lead role, which unintentionally transforms this biopic from valentine to something approaching a poison pen letter.
Matters aren’t helped by Jordan’s role as the film’s narrator, breaking the fourth wall as he apathetically guides us through the events of Bogart’s life. Following brief stints as a dancer, porn actor and one-hit wonder, Bogart finds his calling as a record producer. After scoring some success at Buddha Records, he branches out on his own and founds Casablanca Records. Despite launching the careers of KISS and Donna Summer, the company stubbornly remains millions of dollars in debt. Then, when the end seems nigh, Bogart hits upon the idea of making Summer’s orgasmic song ‘Love to Love You, Baby’ run long enough for people to have sex to (or 16 minutes and 49 seconds, whichever comes first).
An early scene hints at this biopic's major weakness. It takes a potentially hilarious setup involving KISS’s stage act and wayward fire sprinklers and fails to make it register. It’s indicative of much of what follows. Despite an interesting story, unique set of characters and a great soundtrack, Timothy Scott Bogart reverses Rumpelstiltskin's trick by spinning gold into straw.
A refrain uttered ad infinitum throughout the film by Bogart is that he just needed a little bit more time to make everything work out. Indications are that it’s doubtful his son would have benefited from any such extension to this film’s already lengthy running time.
as Neil Bogart
as Donna Summer
as Gene Simmons
as Paul Stanley
Cissy Houston, not Gladys Knight, changed to title of ‘Midnight Plane to Houston’ to ‘Midnite Train to Georgia’.
Neil Bogart was not present in the studio during Donna Summer’s final recording of ‘Love to Love You, Baby’.