Movie Review: An Indie Giggle at Garth and George’s Expense — “Country Gold”

“Country Gold” is a pulled-punch satire of country music stardom, a Garth Brooks send-up that arrives about 20 years too late to land.

But give director, co-writer and star Mickey Reece credit for ambition. The Oklahoman Reece (“Anges” and “Corgis 2” were his) follows that reach-must-exceed-my-grasp artist’s dictum in a stagey, downbeat “comedy” that barely manages a laugh.

Reece stars as Troyal Brux, a cherubic king of country music at his mid-90s peak, a star who rides his big hat and “good ol’boy” image as hard as he can, neglecting his family as he does.

“I make nothing but hit records and baby boys” he brags to his wife (Leah N.H. Philpott).

His latest brush-off begins with a phone call. George Jones, that ol’Possom himself, an icon who seemed to live the hard-life/hard-love songs he wrote and sang, wants to meet up. “Time with me and the kids” will just have to wait.

Meeting his idol (Ben Hall) at a steakhouse, and carrying that over to The Ol’ Possom’s favorite watering hole, his pal Pee Wee’s honkytonk, “where country stars come to write their drinking songs,” just might let the evening get out of hand.

George isn’t really a fan, but he lets Troyal know that he’s about to have himself cryogenically frozen, and that he’s chosen to spend his “last night on Earth” (unless he comes back) with him. So the delusional diva takes that as a compliment, and sticks around through the booze, cocaine and lady masseuses to follow.

The script has Jones, a “washed-up gin rat” one person who joins them at their table notes, pass on wisdom to Troyal — “There’s true things that are terrible and terrible things that’re true.” George lived on his Daddy’s advice, “The world won’t let you scream, so you’d better learn to sing.”

Troyal probably learns more from the transvestite in the men’s room than from the aged boozehound, with “You can be anyone you want to be this time around” giving him visions of Garth’s “Chris Gaines” interlude.

Reece suggests a thorough if somewhat superficial grasp of his target and the country music milieu. Jones’ real-life pal Pee Wee Johnson becomes Pee Wee Roberts, for instance.

But Reece is a one-dimensional screen presence, with little that suggests charismatic “star” about him. He performs his glib patter at a sprint, which doesn’t make it funnier, and he’s an indifferent if country competent singer. Hall is a sturdier presence, even if he sounds little like the eminence he’s playing.

Despite the f-bombs, the egomania and a montage of Troyal shooting a beer commercial and having a hissy fit as he does, too little here rises to the level of “satire” or even “amusing.” Blown lines made the final cut, sidebars are set-up and abandoned and a promising premise that might apply to any country singer who achieves stardom is wasted.

“If George Jones was watching you, what would he say?”

Rating: unrated, drug abuse, nudity, profanity

Cast: Mickey Reece, Ben Hall and Jacob Ryan Snovel

Credits: Directed by Mickey Reece, scripted by Mickey Reece and John Selvidge. A Cinedigm release.

Running time: 1:23


About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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