New Surreal Film Chronicles Garth Brooks Meeting George Jones

Well now, this is certainly something we were not expecting to see in 2023 or any other year, but here we go. There is a new film being released that chronicles Garth Brooks meeting George Jones before George is scheduled to be cryogenically frozen in 1994. Called Country Gold, the film stars actor Ben Hall as George Jones, and writer/director Mickey Reece as “Troyal Brux” who is a rising 90s country music superstar in printed shirts—a.k.a. Garth Brooks, but probably due to Garth’s litigious nature, the name is changed. Troyal is Garth’s real first name.

Characterized as a something between a surreal comedy and fantasy film, the plot unfolds as Troyal Brux is blowing up in country music, and cites George Jones as his primary influence in interviews. Jones catches wind of the endorsement, and invites Brux to meet him in Nashville on the eve of going on an “extended vacation,” i.e. going into the deep freeze. While in Nashville, the two have a wild night together, with Brux excitedly meeting one of his idols, and Jones imparting important wisdom to the young star.

Clearly, a lot of this plot is pretty absurd on the surface, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t more substantive and touching moments underneath. One of the subplots is how George Jones points out to Troyal Brux all the folks who play country music, but never get their opportunity in the spotlight, while Jones’s own life illustrates the trappings and finite nature of stardom.

There has been no press about this film outside of the indie film realm. But after debuting at indie film festivals Fantasia and Fantastic Fest, and playing in select theaters this month, the reviews have been surprisingly positive. Country Gold holds an 89% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 100% positive audience score. As Anton Bitel of Projected Figures states,

” …this night of sex and drugs and country-and-western encompasses the arrogance of success, the fleetingness of celebrity and the ravages of time itself. And like all the best country songs, it comes steeped in melancholy and regret.”

So who knows, maybe this film has got something. Mickey Reece is an acclaimed indie filmmaker from Oklahoma who has explored musical themes in film previously, including in Mickey Reece’s Alien, which despite the title, was about the relationship between Elvis and Priscilla Presley. Still, audiences should go into it understanding this is an independent film shot in black and white, not a big budget production.

Country Gold was shown in a limited run of very select theaters in March, and is currently being screened at the Rodeo Cinema in Oklahoma City and the Circle Cinema in Tulsa until April 3rd. The film premiers on the indie film streaming service Fandor on April 4th.

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