User ReviewsReview this title
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!!
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.
The music (soundtrack) was superb and I've watched/listened to the movie countless times. All the characters acting was high quality (except for a couple of cheesy instances) and their lives were interesting.
It made me laugh and cry, but mainly, it made me smile.
A lot of people are quick to judge a movie simply because it has the "Mariah Carey" name on it (whether good or bad). This WAS a good movie and deserves much more than what is given.
The multi-octave song-bird's film vehicle (originally titled 'All That Glitters... a much better name I think) opens with in the early 1960's, in an all-black bar with a woman (Valarie Pettiford) singing a jazz/blues number before introducing her young daughter, Billie Frank (Isobel Gomes), to the semi-interested audience and the two launch into a duet which wows the crowd. Cut to the next few shots where Billie's mother tries to get money from Billie's father, before giving her up to an adoption agency.
Fast-foward to the bright and bouncy 1980's where all-grown-up Billie (the aforementioned Carey) is dancing in a club with her two best friends Louise and Roxy (Da Brat and Tia Texada), who are soon offered as back-up singing gig for no-talent, good-looking up-and-comer Sylk. Needing the money, the 3 take the job, and the producer finds Mariah's... er... Billie's voice completely spellbinding - and chooses to use her voice instead of the God-awful voice that the main singer is belting out.
A recording of a song entitled "All My Life" is handed to a Club DJ - DJ Dice to be exact (British actor Max Beesley who puts on a 'wigga' accent - sometimes really good, other times really bad) who plays it and instantly falls in love with the vocals. Upon discovering that the vocal used is in fact Billie's he instantly wants to be her producer (of course her beautiful looks have nothing to do with it!). So, makes a deal with her old producer Timothy (Terrence Howard) to take the gorgeous Billie and her back-up singing, loud-mouthed friends and take them under his wing - for the reasonable (!) price of ONLY $100,000! So the Dice & Billie end up becoming good friends and record a song, "I Didn't Mean To Turn You On", and it is played for music executives, and before you can change the butt groove in your seat, Billie is signed to a major record label.
Of course, the road to musical superstardom is not an easy one and Billie has several troubles - the video director for her first single "Loverboy" wants her to parade around in nothing but a piece of string (Billie minds, Mariah wouldn't) and there's also the little problem of her undeniable attraction to Dice. The two become an item and she even moves into Dice's modern, typically New York apartment. Billie's first single unsurprisingly tops the U.S. chart - for ten weeks, at which point the record company are eager to release her first album which they want full control over - p***ing off both Billie and Dice.
Our star-crossed 80's lovers start fighting as her career begins to blossom. She's invited to all the right parties and invited to guest on all the right talk shows - a dream she's had for many years, but amist all of the amazing goings-on, her two best friends are seeing less and less of her and Dice is becoming a drag - she even has to bail him out of jail before an appearance on a show. The two have a massive fight, leading Billie to move out (and Girl Power-ly slap his face). Her attempts at tracking down her addicted biological mother fail as the adoption agency have lost contact with her. Also during this time, she records a single with pop singer Rafael (Halle Berry's musician hubby Eric Benét). The duet, titled "Want You" is another number one for Billie, and her biggest dream is about to come true - she's about to play at Madison Square Garden.
The day of the concert arrives and Billie returns to Dice's apartment to find him not there. Unfortunately Billie's day won't exactly go as planned - it seems, achieving your dreams sometimes means that you'll lose the ones you love. And with that, I won't go into the final minutes' in detail, but I'll just say that is very emotional.
So that's the story, but were the performances any good? Well yes and no. Mariah Carey (although despite what you've no doubt heard) is a promising actress. Her acting isn't brilliant (yet) - there are times when you feel she goes overboard (especially in the emotional bits). I've found that her most convincing scenes (and therefore best ones) are where she gets angry. Her stereotypical best friends are good too and add a needed comical element. Beesley as DJ Dice is good, although he sometimes seems very fake. Anyone else worth noticing is probably OK.
The soundtrack is brilliant. Carey's 9th studio album is a pop/r&b LP with great recordings. From the pumping 80's tracks (Last Night A DJ Saved My Life, Didn't Mean To Turn You On, All My Life) to the gorgeous Mariah-like ballads (Lead The Way, Reflections and especially Never Too Far) plus the Eric duet 'Want You' and the Ja Rule infected 'If We' - it's just as good as her previous efforts.
Overall, 'Glitter' IS a film that the troubled songbird should be proud of. It is a drama, though - and watch that, don't think it'll be laugh-a-minute. It's emotional, passionate and with Carey in the lead - it's one rollercoaster ride you'll like at the time and will leave you wanting more. Recommended definetely... Go Mariah!
If this film had of been done differently E.G. different female lead and as much as I love Mr Beesley replace him too. Then if some Hollywood hotshots are brought in it could be OK once the script is totally replaced.
Then again some apparent Hollywood hotshots can't save a film E.G. Gigli. For the love of god this world's going nuts.
Mariah delivers infinitely more than the one-dimensional Billie other reviews have led us to expect. Her transitions from despondency, to loneliness, to anger, to triumph...all brought forth with a crispness and clarity unknown to this age of the cinematic experience. And the ease with which she presents all these ranges of emotion draws you into the character of Billie, to the point where you hang breathlessly on Mariah's next word. She has such a natural talent, such an incredible comfort in front of the camera, that you instantly forget you are watching an actress playing Billie; you believe she really is Billie.
This can only be the smallest taste of what is to come from this future screen legend. Mariah has made her mark on the film industry, and now can, and must, move on to deeper, more complex roles...she must rightfully stake her claim as one of the greatest screen presences in cinema history. How marvelous it would be to see her take on some of the great female characters of literary classics, so in vogue today. A "Jane Eyre", for example, or Lizzy in "Pride and Prejudice". Many of Shakespeare's greatest works have remained uncommitted to celluloid; what greater compliment to the works of the master himself than to have them graced by Mariah Carey?
Please, do yourself a favour; you must see this movie, and see it with an open mind. Those who scoff are simply those who had already decided that Mariah would be a failure in the cross-over from music to film. They cannot admit they were wrong; for, unlike Barbra Streisand and Madonna before her, embarrassments both, Mariah Carey is a fabulous, fantastic, brilliant actress. Again, look at everything she was able to do with this meagre script!!!
Mariah Carey is the most stunningly beautiful, breathtaking, sexy, sensuous, heart-stopping woman ever to appear on the stage or screen. So many times during this movie, I realized that I was so captivated by her beauty that I wasn't even breathing; my heart was pounding so fiercely at the sight of her, I though it would burst.
Believe me, Mariah...keep acting...keep singing...you will always be remembered as a priceless legend.
However,when it comes to "Glitter",yes I,like most,was really let down. I wont even go into the plot since it's a moot point at this time. 5 years or 100 will not change or make this film any better. Even though I'm a fan,I'm not so one sided in thought that I'd just accept it all. This film was a mistake from the beginning. Even the soundtrack is not "all that" as they say. Although I do like the song "Never Too Far" & "Loverboy" . (That's why I gave 2 stars).
I heard about this film going into production back in 1998. Now,when a film takes nearly 3 years to make,that's the very first warning sign that it's not going to work. Not to mention some publicized production problems I read about. Mariah herself stated recently on Oprah that she just wasn't good at saying "no" during the dizzying pace of her career in the 90's. I'm sure this was just something she contractually said "yes" to and moved on.
Then,as happens with all "super-stars" (I hate that term) the low came after 11 years of riding high. There wasn't anything wrong with her music,she'd just been working too hard,too long and that's what led to this embarrassing moment and the one in 2002 on Total Request Live aka TRL. She has of course rebounded from all this,her song,"We Belong Together" spent 14 weeks at #1 last summer and the CD "Emancipation of Mimi" has sold millions. She can now do what "she" wants at her own pace.
In closing,today is March 27th. Happy birthday Mariah,as far as I'm concerned you at least deserve one review that isn't filled with venom. Keep on singing. (END)
There are many scenes that are totally pointless and last all of thirty seconds. One of the best, ie worst, is when she and Dice walk into the suite of the record company, the business men say you've got a contract, and champagne glasses are raised - end scene. That is literally the scene and actually probably doesn't even last twenty seconds. There is no extra dialogue or any other action - walk in, "you got the contract", "I'll drink to that", scenes over. It is the type of writing I did when I was in junior high.
This is a bad, bad film. The more I think about it, there are many similarities between this film and "A Star is Born". Geez, Mariah probably thought she would be the next Barbara Streisand. I can't wait to see Mariah's interpretation of "Yentl".
The good news is that Mariah Carey does sound absolutely incredible, always have loved her voice with its beautiful tone, emotional connection and uniquely wide range. Also Terrence Howard is quite good and steals scenes.
However, Carey's enviable skills as a singer does not translate in her skills as an actress, it was really strange that an artist with such a huge vocal range (five octaves!) is the complete antithesis in her very one-note and often expressionless acting here, which is devoid of any joy, surprise, sincerity or emotion. The ability to connect emotionally with her songs also doesn't translate in the acting, she looks stiff and bored throughout here.
Unfortunately, the songs here do nothing for her vocal talents either. She sings them very well indeed, but there are far more memorable and emotionally powerful songs from her out there that also display her unique vocal gifts much more. They're not awful, just bland. The rest of the acting is also poor, with Max Beesley being equally lousy and not sounding sure what accent to pull off, while with the characters Carey's is shallow, one-dimensional and very difficult to relate to (which is a huge dividend considering the type of story it is) and the rest are annoying caricatures, a couple even irrelevant to the story.
Even for a film set in the 80s, 'Glitter' does much less than glitter and looks firmly stuck in the 80s. It looks gaudy and too much of the camera work is too gimmicky and amateurish. The structurally wafer-thin script, with clumsy attempts at being hip, embarrassingly unfunny humour and "poignant" moments that come over as emotionally manipulative, sounds even older than that and like an awkwardly written soap-opera rejected at first draft (and should have stayed there).
'Glitter' has very little story, it's very thin and aimless, and padded by the bland and uninspiredly choreographed songs shot like a series of out of date music videos and subplots that come out of nowhere and go very little further than that (i.e. the reappearance of the cat or the reunion with her mother). It starts tedious and loses even more drive as it plods on, and throughout like Carey's performance there's no joy, no emotion and no substance. The direction is decidedly inept.
Overall, not that horrendous but it is no wonder that Carey herself regrets being involved in this. 2/10 Bethany Cox
* (out of 4)
Mariah Carey pretty much plays herself in the story of a poor girl who grew up without her parents only to work really hard and eventually make it to the top. GLITTER is considered one of the worst movies ever made. Is it? I really don't think so but at the same time there's no question that it's really bad but I think with a little common sense the thing could have worked. There are way too many problems going on here, which could have been corrected and we can start with the screenplay. I'm guessing people just watched every rise-to-fame story out there, gathered all the cliché moments and threw them into this. There's really nothing that happens here that the viewer won't see coming from a mile away and worse of all is that none of the clichés are even given little pinches of something fresh or original. Even worse is the fact that there's really no one here to root for. The Carey character is pretty bland, boring and there's never a single second where we feel bad for her. I'm guess that Carey and company just figured since people knew it was based on her that we'd immediately have a connection with her. It doesn't work this way. You're still playing a character. You still need to bring some life to that character. The screenplay still needs to give that character something to do and the viewer something to feel for. Another major problem is that the new music here is just downright bad and it's certainly nothing you'll enjoy listening to. This here could have been corrected had the film just used Carey's previous hits but I guess they didn't want to pay the extra money that it would have cost to use them. Finally, Carey herself is just downright awful here. No matter if she's happy, sad, angry and calm, she has the exact same reaction all the time. She really doesn't bring this character to life and never is she believable in the part. When you can't get any form of emotion across it's hard to make an emotional story work. Max Beesley and Terrence Howard are both good in their roles but their talents are sadly wasted. GLITTER is a really bad movie but everything wrong with it could have easily been fixed. Sadly, in the end, the producers just took a cheap and easy fix and the viewers had to suffer for it.