A Summer Blockbuster in Independent Film: “Skin Deep: Formulating a Legacy” Is A Serious Piece Of 2021 Summertime Fun!

By Vernon Nickerson

In the new film, “Skin Deep: Formulating a Legacy”, we are reminded that while “Jersey Shore” was becoming a cultural phenomenon, an actual phenomenally talented entrepreneur and cosmetic chemistry genius was working against relentless odds and a jaw-dropping series of unfortunate events. Thanks to the star and Executive Producer Vince Spinnato, a Jersey native and proud graduate of Vineland High School, we get to see from young Mr. Spinnato’s unique perspective as an LBGTQIA+ tribe member how he and his own “great cloud of witnesses”, friends, and business associates achieved dominance in the cosmetics and fragrance industry.  Spinnato has made and continues to make a significant contribution to a variety of plant-based natural perfumes, whole body washes, and other health and beauty staples. Skin Deep is one of the very good things to come roaring out of the abyss of the COVID-19/POTUS 45 dramatic psychopathology that was 2020 and the subsequent 2021 “return” to self-serving politics-as-G.O.A.I. ( Game of American Idiots- The Sequel). As such, the film takes us on a roller coaster ride of plot twists and turns.

If it were not so exquisitely told in the first person by Vince Spinnato, you could otherwise mistake it for an interesting fantasy imagining what would happen if Mike Sorrentino and Nicole Polizzi had married, settled in Vineland, and had a gay son who knew he wanted to a)- become a cosmetic chemist, b)- have his own cosmetic company for his own line and c)- work with a small committed core of cosmetic company entrepreneurs to create all-natural products for a variety of niche cosmetic products. 

As it actually unfolds without reality TV royalty, Spinattos story of having it all, losing it all, and rebuilding it from scratch– with the mentoring, therapy, and emotional and practical support of family and friends- needs no Mike and Nicole to weave one whale of a tapestry of one man’s lifelong journey and career in the uber-competitive cosmetics industry. If school were not out for the summer break, this would be a perfect film for the 18-22-year-olds it was my honor to reach in a small-class size setting for a diverse variety of differently-abled students.

But never fear, gentle readers and film lovers, you and your families can still go see this film. At the time of writing this review, I do not know if it will be streamed at any of the current streaming services, but please look for it, reach out to the streaming services and ask them to purchase distribution rights. You shelled out tons to see movies you had no reason to see other than you’d run out of content, so why not have them put something on their services that you actually have an interest in seeing.  And yes, there is so much more. 

Specifically, a trio of cast members from the nineties mega TV dramatic juggernaut– Dynasty in some delightful cameos. There is even a homage to Alexis and Dominique, but that is all I am going to share about that. You really must see this film to see exactly how the two glamorous divas worm their way back into the hearts of many of us Dynasty fanboys and girls- now in the “prime” of our lives. 

If you, like me, love to read a good memoir of the man who made “Jennie from the block” some serious coin and not at all shy to show and tell, you may also want to read the related memoir by Mr. Spinnato, “My Pursuit of Beauty: A Cosmetic Chemist Reveals the Glitter, the Glam, and the Batsh*t Crazy. Find lots more about the book at this link: https://mypursuitofbeautythebook.com/ Reading, still a fundamental and necessary part of everyone’s career pathway, is still a very good thing while we all await the release of Vince Spinnato’s fascinating and death-and-gravity defying life story as told in the documentary “Skin Deep: Formulating a Legacy”.