The Revolted, Part 5: Rhinestone (1984)

| May 6, 2018


Some things just don’t work out.  Sometimes the intention overrides the execution and what you come away with is a misstep that, if you’re lucky, you can easily get over.  When it comes to movies, sometimes the misfires come in gargantuan proportions.  Enter: The Revolted, a bi-weekly examination of big-budget, highly anticipated movies that, for whatever reason, went down in history and came right back up.  Are they worth the venom?  You decide.

Nineteen Eighty-Four was an obnoxiously good year for movies of every size and shape; not just the prestige pictures like Amadeus and A Passage to India and The Killing Fields, but also a whole slew of memorable blockbusters which would become classics: Gremlins, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, The Karate Kid, Ghostbusters, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Beverly Hills Cop, The Terminator, This is Spinal Tap, Romancing the Stone and Splash among many others.

Strangely enough, even the worst movies were memorable – the bad got seriously bad; Supergirl, City Heat, Cannonball Run II, Sheena, Bolero, Silent Night Deadly Night and David Lynch’s elephantine folly called Dune.  They were memorable but the biggest turd that wouldn’t flush was Bob Clark’s Rhinestone, a half-assed hillbilly remake of ”My Fair Lady” that felt like a TV pilot and looked like an on-location shoot of “Hee Haw.”

The story features Dolly Parton in the Henry Higgins role and Sylvester Stallone as her Eliza Doolittle, a New York cab driver who can barely speak let alone sing.  All of it brought to you courtesy of Bob Clark, the man who brought you A Christmas Story just a year before.

The Story: Dolly makes a bet that she can turn Sly into a country star in just two weeks leading to a long series of television-style scenes that you can bet will be skillfully edited out of Stallone’s obituary reel (including a running gag about jock itch).

There’s this exchange:

DOLLY: Do you play an instrument?
SLY: Yeah, I can sorta play a couple of chords on this organ I have at home.  Hey, I’ll tell you what, why don’t you come to my house and teach me a new song?
DOLLY: Go to your house, huh?  I suppose that’s so you can show me your organ, right?
SLY: Why do you think I’m conning you?  I tell you I really do have this big organ!

If you think this dialogue is painful to read, just know that the entire movie – which runs an hour and fifty-one minutes runs entirely on lines like this.  It’s dirty jokes, double-entendres and one-liners that sound weird without a laugh track.  Personally, I’m agogged at lines like: “There are two kinds of people in this world, and you ain’t one of ’em!”  Someone WROTE this!  And someone else got PAID for it!  Stop the world I wanna get off!

Does the movie earn its place among The Revolted:

I’ll let the evidence speak for itself:


About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
Filed in: The Revolted