Musical Numbers Only Nuggets in 'Goldmine'
Author: Ted Mahar
Publication: The Oregonian
Date: March 21, 1988
Abstract: A review of Scenes from the Goldmine.
"Scenes From the Goldmine'' is a pretty standard issue film saying that rock 'n' roll is a hard life. A few recording stars are in the film -- Timothy B. Schmit, Fee Waybill, John Ford Coley -- and it is patently based on real stories or people.
It says what every other film about the rock industry does, as well as magazines, books and supermarket newspapers: It's tough competition, the bones of losers litter the trail, drugs are endemic, people will sell out anything or anyone for a hit or a break, and at every turn, sleazy operators lurk like vultures for anyone showing the slightest hint of future marketable success.
It's surely all true, since nothing else is ever said about the topic, but ``Goldmine'' tells it just about as sappily as it can be told. It never rises above soap opera level.
Debi DiAngelo (Catherine Mary Stewart) has left her sumptuous Beverly Hills home and has a small apartment with a roomie who is soon pregnant. Debi hires on as a keyboardist with a band headed by Niles Dresden (Cameron Dye) and managed by his brother, Harry Spiros (Steve Railsback), as decent as his brother is bent.
Debi naturally goes for Niles , especially after seeing him treat her predecessor like a used tissue. Later she is astounded to find he's filching her songs, even after all they've been to each other.
As they seem to nudge near the big time, they run into sleazy operator Manny (Joe Pantoliano, a pretty sleazy operator in ``La Bamba'') who immediately starts to cut what he considers the talent away from the rest of the group. He also starts packaging them in terribly vulgar style and -- gasp! -- has them do a video that makes their Serious Rock 'n' Roll look silly.
This is told mainly from Debi's viewpoint, and for all the points to be ticked off the script's list of horror stories, she must appear to be dense enough to block radiation. Her romantic dealings with Niles make her look like a moron.
Meanwhile, back at home, her elder brother, a computer genius/nerd, lives weirdly with their folks, who bicker, bicker, bicker all the time and positively do not understand their children. Debi has a confrontation with her mom and dad (Alex Rocco) in a funeral limousine, and it is an intensely ludicrous tear-jerking scene.
Fair's fair. The actors do their own singing here, much of it of well-known songs, and they're OK -- far better than Justine Bateman and pals in ``Satisfaction.'' Despite its ridicule of the music video process, the only value ``Goldmine'' has is for its acceptably filmed musical numbers. The rest is between boredom and accidental comedy.