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Billie Frank is a shy, young multiracial girl who is sent away by her alcoholic mother at a very early age. At an orphanage, she befriends Louise and Roxanne. Flash forward to 1983. Billie and her friends are spotted by a record producer, Timothy Walker, who wants them to sing backup for his latest pop-music discovery. But when super DJ Julian Dice hears Billie's incredible voice, he makes a shady deal with Timothy to get her out of that dead-end situation. Soon, Billie and Dice are making hits inside the studio, and falling in love outside of it. Eventually, the pressure of her newfound celebrity puts too heavy a strain on Billie, forcing her to decide what it is she really wants from Dice, and what she wants for herself. Written by
In my perverse desire to see every film in the bottom 100, I thought I could not go far wrong with a rental of this classic POS. Mariah Carey's first and so far only feature film is an example of how the combined MPAA and RIAA attempts to shovel garbage at us are starting to backfire. Sales of Mariah's recordings, once one of the highlights of an otherwise dreary RIAA mainstream catalogue, have slumped. It's all because of this film. Don't let the blind Mariah fans fool you - it is just as bad as critics say, and deserving of its bottom 100 status.
Where to begin when pulling apart this cinematic abortion? For me, the first major problem was the cinematography. If the viewer is not clued in on the fact that Vondie Curtis-Hall has only directed television before this film as it starts, the flat, Days-Of-Our-Lives-style shots will soon make it clear enough. Directors who put one or two actors, three tops, in a 2.35:1 frame are a dime a dozen. On the other hand, directors who cannot even differentiate these actors' spacing from the camera truly stand out, and not in a good way.
The story has been described as being syrupy enough to kill anyone who suffers from diabetes (or doesn't), and I am not going to contest that. It's a variation upon the classic rags to riches theme, specifically tailored towards Mariah. Mariah essentially plays herself in the guise of a young vocalist who starts singing backup for a considerably less talented vocalist. As she crosses the paths of more people, eventually said people twig to the fact that she can vocalise with the best of them. One DJ eventually picks her up, manages her through a record deal, and promises her that one day she *will* play in Madison Square Garden, or something along those lines.
This kind of story has been done before, with such real-life examples as the Jacksons providing source material for one excellent miniseries of the theme. The problem here is that we've heard this story a million times before. Another significant problem is that while Mariah has a voice many would kill for, there is absolutely nothing that stands out, even slightly about her material. As an old girlfriend of mine once said, the longer it takes the RIAA to twig to the fact that being female doesn't mandate wanting to hear this formulaic ballad crap, the more business they are going to lose to independents who support bands like Opera IX. I think the fact that Mariah's last album disappeared without trace in spite of having millions of dollars spent on its promotion proves her right.
Mariah's story is also incredibly bland, to say the least. So her junkie mother gave her up when she was young. Oh boo hoo. It happens, and you're probably better off for it, get over it already. The previously-mentioned Jacksons could run rings around the likes of Mariah Carey for sob stories, and their reluctance to deal with the media at large is a telling thing. So in the end, we are simply left with another example of the mainstream trying to seem alternative, and failing.
I gave Glitter a one out of ten. I don't think I am being too harsh. I think it is so amazingly bad that it becomes comedic, at least on the first viewing. I suspect that repeated viewings will simply become boring.
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