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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.
I don't know how many of you have ACTUALLY seen this movie but I recently rented it out of morbid curiousty and a sadistic love of BAD cinema (and of course making fun of it)... and I did give it an honest chance. I really did, and no less than 3 minutes into the movie I was convinced it was going to be a bomb... there's too much to complain about here, from the faux artistic shots and film techniques meant to give the film some false "class", to the insane gaping void of chemistry between the main lovebirds, to the comic relief that is not funny and is unnecesary since there was no drama or romance, to the numerous long, long shots of things that either didn't matter or didn't need to be shown for the 700th time... I kid you not this is a really awful movie... only the most inept movie fan or an insanely die hard Mariah Carey fan could ignore the gaping holes in plot, directions, style, and acting that Glitter presents. However if you enjoy watching movies and going all MST3K on them, then by all means rip on this one. It deserves all the insults you can muster.
I rented Glitter because I'd read it was destined to become a 'so bad it's good' classic, but I was disappointed. This is no Showgirls. What makes Glitter a bad movie is that it's a bland, soulless procession of clichés, exactly like Mariah Carey's songs. And that just makes it boring-bad instead of spectacularly bad. And though Mariah is plenty vacuous in the starring role, she doesn't reach the heights of strenuously bad acting that Elizabeth Berkeley does in Showgirls. The only element of this movie that satisfies my so-bad-it's-good criteria is the character of Mariah's boyfriend. Here you have the whitest man on Earth, saying 'hip' things like "I'm a'ight" and "when you got no food in yo crib". If only the movie had contained more cringe-worthy gems like those!
...because, as her vanity project, she undoubtedly had the final yea or nay
on what went into this mess. The inexplicable glitter strip (note: watch
for continuity errors in its location)? The longest-lived cat ever?
Telepathic songwriting? The most unsympathetic cast of characters since "A
Clockwork Orange?" Ms. Carey knew, or should have known.
Mariah's acting is, well.... zombified. Her screen presence would actually be explained by her being under the influence of some medication designed to help with her later well known breakdown. Ms. Carey proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that bad over-acting makes for more entertaining badfilm than bad under-acting, which just leaves the viewer wondering why the movie was made. I couldn't tell for sure whether the rest of the cast's tepid-to-annoying performances were due to their own bad acting or from trying to perform across from the lifeless Ms. Carey; after 45 minutes, I couldn't care either. A well-deserved 1.
Okay, without swear words...
This movies bites everything bad really hard.
Don't get me wrong. Even if a movie is BAD, I can still often get a kick out of it. Some bad films are so bad they're fun: Roadhouse, Kingdom of the Spiders ("starring" William Shatner), Orgy of the Dead, Cool as Ice, Battlefield Earth... This one's just plain bad. I'm not sure if I can EVER forgive myself for having watched it. I swear, my eyes and ears began bleeding about twenty minutes into it. Still, I waited for something so bad it was funny. It didn't happen. Just plain bad. No, not "just plain bad," but really bad. Really, really bad. I truly can't say how bad it was on this post without resorting to, and making up new, swear words.
That said, I was unfortunate enough to stumble upon some show on MTV about celebrities' homes during a segment about Pariah Careless herself. Let's just say that I used to think she was the Devil. Now I know that there are worse, more pretentious, and just all-around truly more terrible and terrifying things than the Devil. She's straight out of H P Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos. A slimy many-tentacled thing waiting to devour humankind's happiness to further its own demented, sickening Ends.
And if you think I'm being flippant or sarcastic, let me set the record straight: I am not religious, but I fear I may be in mortal danger for having exposed her as the the Evil Lurking Thing that she is. I pray to unknown benevolent gods that I never hear the wet, poison tentacle-claws scratching their way in through my door. I hope my death will be quick and painless when the Mariah-thing comes to reap my soul.
By the way, I really didn't like this movie at all.
"Glitter" might have been a camp classic if the story wasn't so dull and downbeat. It's yet another rewrite of "A Star Is Born", here turned into a vehicle for pop star Mariah Carey and apparently patterned after her own rise to the top (audiences weren't fooled, however, by the updated, late-night-movie clichés). Carey's funky/erotic music is driving (and her performance as blazing new talent Billie Frank is adequate), but the script for "Glitter" seems left over from the 1950s. Didn't the writers realize that times have changed and that Billie didn't have to be such a diva-doormat? Actresses of a lot higher caliber than Mariah Carey have fallen into this trap--they just don't want to see themselves on the screen acting bitchy and tough, so they end up playing the simp. "Glitter" features some rich cinematography (nice shots of the Big Apple), but it is too soft to make an impression--even as an unintended comedy. *1/2 from ****
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Even fans of bad movies will have a tough time with "Glitter", which
commits a number of gross sins while it is on your screen. Unlike the
similarly-panned "Showgirls", "Glitter" doesn't go far enough over the
top to be of any interest, and it takes itself way too seriously.
"Showgirls" made me feel giddy while I was watching it. "Glitter" made
me feel as if I had been poisoned.
What an unfortunate mis-step for star Mariah Carey, who gets sucked up into the vacuum of this movie like a dust bunny under the Hoover. It's not that Mariah is terrible, exactly. She doesn't seem like much of an actress, and she definitely doesn't have much screen presence. But the real problem is that she doesn't really do much except smile, sing, and look pretty. She simply exists. Perhaps since "Glitter" is touted as a semi-autobiographical film like "Purple Rain", the producers thought being Mariah Carey would be enough to carry the film. Her role is shallow and one-dimensional, despite the fact that the script tries to give her some depth by piling on the age-old "wayward childhood" cliché. The problem is we've seen all of this so often that it's very silly.
It only gets worse as the movie progresses. After Mariah's character, Billie, grows up, she meets an obnoxious club DJ who, much to our horror, turns out to be the movie's other main character. Carey and her costar, Max Beesley, have next to zero screen chemistry, but for some reasons she falls in love with him.
The director throws in a bunch of gimmicky techniques, like speeding up the film, as well as a hilariously awful cut that goes from Mariah's face to fireworks exploding. There is also a laugh-out-loud moment where the actress who plays the young Billie Frank joins her mother onstage and when she opens her mouth to sing, it is Mariah Carey's voice that comes out of her--pitched up until she sounds a little like Minnie Mouse. No wonder Mariah collapsed after this was released.
There are some absurd and awful moments in the film that have nothing to do with Mariah, most notably her two obnoxious friends who are directed as complete caricatures and seem to be intended for some sort of comic relief (there's plenty of that in other places, all of it unintentional).
Beesley is supposed to be a big-time club DJ, yet he plays more like a kid at a high-school dance. The role is all wrong for him. For some inexplicable reason, the film is set in the early 80s, yet more often than not it looks suspiciously like the early 00's (especially the furniture). The dialog is unmemorable and nobody has any real acting to do in this film, except for one or two "emotional" moments. The drama is uninvolving, and it doesn't really spiral out of control until the conclusion of the movie, where it soars so far into the absurd that we finally get some good "bad movie" stuff (a big fight, a beating, a murder, a campy moment of triumph onstage). It's too little, too late though.
The one thing that "Glitter" manages to carry off is a cliché but somewhat engaging scene where Billie finally meets up her long-lost mother. Unfortunately, it is the final scene of the movie, and the camera sails right up into the sky just when we get to the one moment in the film that works.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Ok. I finally picked up the courage to rent this this video for just 2
bucks. But what a money this was! This movie seems to be made for a 10 hr
television series but was edited to become a telemovie instead. But what
piece of low class crap this is. Mariah Carey gives her worst performance
ever in movie histroy - same expression for joy, pain, rejection etc.
The worst scenes as follows:
1. Mariah was told that she had a contract, entered a room and then the celebration begins! Amazing!
2. The boyfriend was murdered and then she sang a song during her concert. - more than an expression of freedom from her relationship than in remembrance for the dead. I was rolling with laughter here....
3. The DJs appear to accept any demo tapes even prior to sampling them? This being done at the risk of offending the party crowds! Ridiculous!
4. The film has the worst ending ever.... the way her mum looks at her appears that she knows "EVERYTHING" but was previously stangely left wandering in the streets in destitution!!! Daughter and mum hugged and cried. I cried too... for spending an hour plus of my life watching AND finishing the show.
O! How can I remove this guilt and embarrassment of my life!!!
Simple rule, if you are going to make a movie vehicle for a non-actor,
surround them with some good actors, so if they turn out to have all the
acting ability of a tin of tuna, you still have some hope of making the
movie just bad, rather than bowel clenchingly awful.
This rule is ignored, the result is a piece of dross, that was so bad Mariah had a nervous breakdown when she watched it, so bad that Virgin executives gave her $15 million as long as they would never have to watch it again, so bad, well you get the point.
If you want a storyline, easy, mom is black, dad is white. Mom doesn't want her, dad doesn't want her. She wants to be a star, black and white guys fight over her. Lots of tradgedy. Lots of singing, lots of walking around in tight dresses. Everything ends up OK.
I can think of nothing that would recomend this. If you are a fan of Mariah, she isn't photographed that well, there are no big stand out tunes. If you aren't, then, you are looking at a movie which everyone involved with is obviously embarrased about.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Okay, so it's been 6 1/2 years since this film has come out and it has still been considered one of the worst films of all time, but lets be honest, it is not terrible. Not great but not terrible. I think the greatest flaw in the film that there has not been that was not enough time dedicated to explaining certain aspects of Billie's emotions. There should have been more about her father and how that reflected her relationship with Dice. But when it comes to plot, it is fairly predictable, but there is a reason why there are so many films that share this plot line about fame: A Star Is Born, Dreamgirls etc., it is a part of fame. The main problem is the script, without a good script, the true potential for acting is limited. Now when it comes to the acting, I'll admit it is not great but no means it is terrible. Terrible acting is Jessica Simpson in "The Dukes of Hazzard" and "Blonde Ambition." I think it is time for people to stop treating this film as if it is the worst film to grace the screen, there are far worse films and this film, while not the greatest, should get the benefit of a doubt.
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