Jake Farris (Dolly Parton), a country singer stuck in a long-term contract performing at "The Rhinestone", a sleazy urban cowboy nightclub in New York City, boasts to the club's manager, Freddie (Ron Leibman), that she can make anybody into a country sensation, insisting that she can turn any normal guy into a country singer in just two weeks. Freddie accepts Jake's bet, putting up the remainder of Jake's contract (if she wins the bet, the contract becomes void; if she loses, another five years will be added). He then ups the ante: if Jake loses, she must also sleep with him.
The problem is that Freddie can select the man, and he selects an obnoxious New York cabbie named Nick Martinelli (Sylvester Stallone). Nick not only has no musical talent whatsoever, he claims to hate country music "worse than liver". Realizing she is stuck with Nick, she takes him back to her home in Tennessee to teach him how to walk, talk and behave like a real Country star. While there, he has to put up with Jake's constant nagging and berating him about his behavior, the culture-shock of not knowing anything about the South, and Jake's ex-fiancee Barnett Kale who befriends Nick, then turns on him when he realizes that he and Jake have developed feelings for one another.
It all leads to Nick performing a song at The Rhinestone where the crowd is a crazed group of hecklers and are "out for blood." After Nick's first attempt to sing bombs, he turns to the band and says, "Okay guys, let's pick up the beat" and the band begins playing the song in a more Rock n' Roll version and he wins the crowd over. In the end, Jake gets her contract back and she and Nick begin to sing another song with the implication that they will continue their budding relationship together.Sylvester Stallone as Nick Martinelli
Dolly Parton as Jake Farris
Richard Farnsworth as Noah Farris (Jake's Father)
Ron Leibman as Freddie Ugo (Rhinestone Owner)
Tim Thomerson as Barnett Kale
Stallone reportedly turned down Romancing the Stone and Beverly Hills Cop (1984) to make Rhinestone. He was paid $5 million and a percentage of the gross.
Original screenwriter Phil Alden Robinson was so offended by Stallone's reworking of his original screenplay that he briefly considered having his name removed from the film's credits. He was later convinced that having his name on a film of this "caliber" would look good on his resume.
Stallone later said:
The most fun I ever had on a movie was with Dolly Parton on RHINESTONE. I must tell everyone right now that originally the director was supposed to be Mike Nichols, that was the intention and it was supposed to be shot in New York, down and dirty with Dolly and I with gutsy mannerisms performed like two antagonists brought together by fate. I wanted the music at that time to be written by people who would give it sort of a bizarre edge. Believe it or not, I contacted Whitesnake’s management and they were ready to write some very interesting songs alongside Dolly’s. But, I was asked to come down to Fox and out steps the director, Bob Clark. Bob is a nice guy, but the film went in a direction that literally shattered my internal corn meter into smithereens. I would have done many things differently. I certainly would’ve steered clear of comedy unless it was dark, Belgian chocolate dark. Silly comedy didn’t work for me. I mean, would anybody pay to see John Wayne in a whimsical farce? Not likely. I would stay more true to who I am and what the audience would prefer rather than trying to stretch out and waste a lot of time and people’s patience.
Stallone now says he regrets making the film.
The film was panned upon its release, and is generally regarded as a commercial and critical flop; on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film currently has a 15% 'Rotten' rating. Nonetheless, the soundtrack album gave Dolly Parton two top ten country singles: "Tennessee Homesick Blues" and "God Won't Get You".
Rhinestone was nominated for five Golden Raspberry Awards, winning Worst Actor (Sylvester Stallone) and Worst Original Song ("Drinkenstein"). The film is listed in Golden Raspberry Award founder John J.B. Wilson's book The Official Razzie Movie Guide as one of The 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made.
Phil Alden Robinson publicly distanced himself from the film during its release, writing to critics complaining about changes made to his script.
The movie was nominated for a Stinkers Bad Movie Awards for Worst Picture.Golden Raspberry Awards
Worst Actor (Sylvester Stallone)
Worst "Original" Song (Drinkenstein
Worst Musical Score
Worst Supporting Actor (Ron Leibman)
Worst Director (Bob Clark)
Worst "Original" Song (Sweet Lovin' Friends
Worst Musical of Our First 25 Years