Jake (Dolly Parton) is a country singer living in New York City. Talking with her manager after a performance, Jake decides to make a bet with him, saying that she can turn anyone — any random person off of the street – into a big star. A rhinestone cowboy.
Nick Martinelli (Sylvester Stallone) is an Italian-American cabbie who happens to be dropping a family of tourists off at the “country place” where Jake performs as she’s making the bet. And Jake’s manager decides that he will be the man that Jake transforms into an overnight sensation of the bedazzled brand of country music that exists in their circles.
Jake drags Nick off to Tennessee, where she’ll give him a two-week “boot camp,” training him to become a bonafide country star. If Nick makes the transformation, Jake’s manager will rip up her contract, giving her the freedom to take control of her own career. And if Jake’s efforts are unsuccessful, she’ll be trapped into eight more years of working with the sleazy manager.
Rhinestone was directed by Bob Clark (A Christmas Story, Baby Geniuses). The script was originally written by Phil Alden Robinson and re-written by Sylvester Stallone. This film was nominated for a whopping eight Razzie Awards, winning two of them (Worst Actor – Sylvester Stallone and Worst Original Song – “Drinkenstein,” written by Dolly Parton and performed by Stallone).
Sylvester Stallone has reportedly stated that this is one of the films he most regrets making — he turned down roles in Romancing the Stone and Beverly Hills Cop in order to play Nick Martinelli. Dolly Parton, on the other hand, considers her work on the soundtrack of the film to be some of her best work.
Why does Rhinestone land a place in the Classics of the Corn hall of shame? Well, it all begins with the opening credits, which grace the viewer’s screen in glitter fonts, following shots of New York City which are accompanied by Dolly Parton yodeling. Seriously.
I find it difficult to put my thoughts about this film into complete sentences, so instead I’m going to share with you some of my favorite quotes, moments and screenshots.
Jake (to her manager): “Freddie, there are two kinds of people in this world, and you ain’t one of ’em.”
Nick: “Stress and deli sandwiches kill more taxi cab drivers than anything.”
One of the film’s earliest musical numbers is a song about a woman getting killed by a tractor, which evokes cackling rather than sympathy from the audience. “Hey, this really happened to my Loretta!,” the singer of the tune proclaims.
“There was blood on the corn, and brains on the haaaaay!”
Nick calls Jake a “redneck from hee-haw”
Sylvester Stallone offers awful, screeching renditions of “Tutti Frutti” and “Old MacDonald”… on a funeral home piano, during a funeral service.
“BUDWEISER YOU’VE CREATED A MONSTER, AND THEY CALL ME… DRINKENSTEIN!”
If you pay attention to nothing else while viewing this post, you MUST at least watch this video. It makes me cry. “That suit is YOU!”
The dialogue and songs bring the corn in the film, which is overall pretty tame. It brings only a few huge laughs, but there are lots of little chuckles to be had throughout this chunk of recently-recalled Velveeta, usually at the weird things that Stallone and Parton say and sing. (See the aforementioned “Drinkenstein” as the greatest example.) Sylvester Stallone has made some questionable films throughout his career, but this one is without a doubt the strangest.