“You can always tell when Barnett’s been over to my house. The toilet don’t never flush and the cat’s pregnant.”
The Scoop: 1984 PG, directed by Bob Clark and starring Dolly Parton and Sylvester Stallone
Tagline: She’s bet everything, and we mean everything, that she can turn this New York cabbie into an overnight sensation. He has other things in mind. But he’s never had a trainer like this one!
Summary Capsule: Country girl Dolly Parton makes a bet she can turn New York cabbie Sylvester Stallone into a country singer.
Eunice’s rating: Dang it, Dolly! Why do you have to be so cute?
Eunice’s review: Oh, the ’80s. From about 1978-1993 I think there was a law that no movie idea could be turned down [see: D.C. Cab; Big Trouble in Little China]. So is it any surprise that the majority of cult classics can be found from this glorious decade?
And that is how we come to this infamous flop.
Dolly Parton stars as Jake, a country singer from Tennessee that’s come to the big city of New York. She’s found her start at a country western themed nightclub called The Rhinestone. While she has a bigwig interested in giving her a record deal, unfortunately she’s still tied, exclusively, to two more years at the club by a contract with sleazy owner Freddie. Jake tells him she can turn anybody into a country success. So the two make a bet: She has two weeks to take someone of Freddie’s picking and train him to sing one song without being booed off the stage (Rhinestone’s urban cowboy clientele are notoriously harsh). If she wins he let’s her out of her contract, if he wins he tacks on five more years and Jake has to sleep with him. Enter Nick (Sylvester Stallone), a not-so-sharp New York cab driver. After some arguing and hijinks Jake convinces Nick to enter into the scheme. Off they go to Jake’s hometown so she can teach him to eat, sleep, and breathe country, so he can sing country.
Rhinestone is terrible. I mean like it’s way bad guys. Oh wait, it’s way bad y’all.
If you’ve been watching movies for long enough, one of the lessons you’ll have learned is that comedies involving Sylvester Stallone tend to not be what you’d call good. Sly singing? It’s a… it’s something alright. If I could wipe away the memory of him singing ‘Drinkenstein’ out of my head I would. In fact every time he sings without Dolly it’s physically painful. Some of that is intentional, especially in the beginning, but even by the end when he’s supposed to be all trained it’s still unbearable.
The laughs are about as cheap as they come. Example: There’s a whole running gag about jock itch. And while it’s played for laughs, the level of Jake as sex object makes me more than a little uncomfortable.
Even so, Ron Leibman’s Freddie is gross sure, but he’s about as threatening as Charles Grodin forcing punishing kisses on Miss Piggy.
But I can’t say that I hate Rhinestone.
It’s so weird. Like take every city guy goes to the farm comedy you’ve seen: Montages. Dancing at the local bar that leads to fights. Down home wisdom. He steps in animal poo! Oh hilarity! Only it’s all really weird. And if Jack and Nick had just become friends, I could’ve bought it, but of course they become love interests. Dolly Parton and Sylvester Stallone give off amiable buddy vibes, but completely lack anything resembling romantic chemistry. Everything about this movie is so strange it’s a little fascinating. Weird.
It has Richard Farnsworth, who adds a dose of instant awesome on his own.
And I actually like Dolly Parton, wigs and sewn on dresses and all. And as ear bleeding as Sly is Dolly is great. I can see why the soundtrack did better than the movie. She’s just so cute.
That’s it, that’s the thing. Rhinestone is bad, stupid, insulting (most notably to the Japanese, Italians, southern folk, and women), and occasionally creepy, but it’s just so darn cute. Weird cute. I’d be lying if I said that it didn’t make me laugh at all, sometimes even intentionally.
I can’t decide if it’s so bad that it’s good. Rhinestone is recommended for… Well I can’t say that I recommend this movie for anybody. But for bragging rights, just to say you’ve seen it? Just to say you’ve seen a movie about Dolly Parton teaching Sylvester Stallone to sing country music where they end up together? Yeah.
It’s a movie that could only have been made in the ’80s.
- The country singer with the scar has a mic in front of him when he walks out on stage. Then when he yells at the heckler he has to move the mic from the side of the stage to in front of him. Bends and breaks the mic, only to have it back in front of him in the next shot.
- Nice Waltons reference.
- When Jake says “Never trust a man.” she’s talking to a nun.
- On a lot of top 100 Worst Movies lists.
- Is It Worth Staying Through End Credits? Dolly and Sly continue to sing and then a final kiss.
Jake: Freddie, there are two kinds of people in this world, and you ain’t one of ’em!
Jake: Where are all the lepers when I need one?
Nick: No, no. “Hillbilly Bimbo.”
Nick’s Dad: I know what “Howdy” means, I read.
Jake: Go to your house, huh? I suppose that’s so you can show me your organ, right?
Nick: Why do you think I’m conning you? I tell you I really do have this big organ!
Nick: You can always tell when Barnett’s been over to my house. The toilet don’t never flush and the cat’s pregnant.
Jake: What’s the matter with the way I dress?
Nick: Nothing except you look like a moving violation.
Jake: Well when you stop wearing pants I can see your pulse through we got something to talk about.
If you liked this movie, try these:
- Hercules in New York
- Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot
- The Howling: New Moon Rising