|James Woods as a con man.|
The root of the con is a million-dollar wager with the villainous John Gillon (Bruce Dern) that "Honey" Roy Palmer, a little-known retired boxer, can defeat ten men in the boxing ring in a single day. Gabe and Gillon both work hard to outsmart each other. They bribe people, spy on the competition, and manipulate the rules. It's like a chess game played by two grand masters of the "art of the con." In the end, though, only one of them turns out to be a good con man.
|Gossett, Jr. as Honey Roy.|
Woods and Gossett, Jr. are the primary reasons to see Diggstown, although this caper film also has an easygoing appeal in its favor. There is one misstep in the film's tone (an unnecessary death), but the script somehow manages to get back on track before the climax. The ending, which features a nifty little twist, will leave you with a smile on your face.
|Ray Sharkey in the title role.|
Marcucci gets a credit as "technical advisor," although his imprint is all over this slightly fictionalized biography. Part of the fun is figuring out which character represents what real-life person. Sax player Tommy Dee is obviously based on trumpet player Frankie Avalon. The perfectly-coifed Caesare is Fabian. Magazine writer Brenda Roberts is Rona Barrett and the hard-charging Vincent Vacarri is Marcucci.
|Peter Gallagher as Caesare.|
Sadly, The Idolmaker didn't open many doors for the talented Ray Sharkey. He battled drug addiction through much of his career and died in 1993 at age 40 from complications due to AIDS. His best post-Idolmaker performance was as gangster Sonny Steelgrave in the excellent first season of the 1987-90 TV series Wiseguy.