Sunday 8 May 2016

IMDb Bottom 100 Review - Number 33 Glitter

Another musical film on the list. Or a movie featuring a musician rather than an actor/ress. I’m counting Gigli here, because I’m still reluctant to call J-Lo an actress. But I digress. Traditionally singers turned actors do not fare well on the silver screen. With the possible exception of Will Smith. But then again, these days I’m reluctant to call him a musician. Anyway. This one I had dreaded for a while, because let’s be honest here. Mariah Carey. Turns out, I was partly mistaken. Or was I? No, I actually was. But not by much. Confused? Me too. Let’s try and clear things up with this review of…

Obviously this shot had to be in the movie somewhere.

Glitter (2001)

Like Gigli and Usher’s attempt at a serious(ish) movie, uh… Turn it up? No that can’t be right. In the mix. That it’s. I was close. Like Gigli and Usher’s In the Mix, Glitter is pretty much a movie built around the main attractions; J-Lo/Ben Affleck, Usher and Mariah Carey. Contrary to Gigli and In the Mix, the main attraction actually has a talent. Not acting. Acting is not that talent. But she has one. And that makes parts of the movie at least bearable. Let me just cast my verdict right off the bat here, so you know what you’re heading into: This movie isn’t good, but it’s not B100 bad. Not by a longshot. How do I determine? Well for starters, I didn’t want to murder myself and/or others immediately after credits rolled. This is a huge step up. Secondly, I was somewhat engaged. Granted, I played a whole Parcheesi tournament online while watching it (I won. Yay me) but still, a few times my little 10 second timer ran out because I accidentally got caught up in the movie. Crazy, right? So let’s have a look at the plot here, so you can try and get over this unprecedented turn of events. 

I think it's written in some music industry bylaws, that if you're a music producer, you have to wear a shirt with golden records on it at least once a week. And wear it outside.

Unsurprisingly, this movie is about Mariah Carey. Or, as they call her here, Billy Frank. But really Mariah Carey. It’s not autobiographical, but I don’t think Mariah Carey has the capacity to play anybody but herself, so… Mariah Carey. Her night club singer mother, who is living life a little too carelessly, has to give the 7-12 year old Billy up for adoption or foster care placement. I say 7-12 because in the scene after she is given up, Billy appears in school in what looks like a kindergarten classroom, but she, and the two girls she meets, look a lot older than kindergarten. It’s not important I guess. The two girls become her life long friends and co-dancer/singers. Cut to some years after. 1983 the caption claims, which is obviously a lie. We’ll deal with that later. Billy and her troupe are discovered in a club and asked to sing back up for some random talentless lady. Mariah Billy outshines the main attraction, and is immediately discovered by Terrence Howard - a music producer, and then rediscovered by Dice (Lucky 7s) a prominent NYC club DJ. Dice wants to produce Billy, and they enter a partnership that eventually leads to a romantic relationship. Dice buys her contract off of Terrence for a 100 large, that he doesn’t pay. Terrence, perhaps with good reason, is upset by this. 

Terrence is down a 100 grand, and this pleases him not at all. Here seen threatening a bewildered Billy with physical violence.

Dice starts making some noise for her, and rejects offers from small time producers. He believes in Billy, and it pays off. Warner or some other large production company signs her, and things move fast after that. Studio execs want to take over, and it causes some issues with jealousy and competition between Billy and Dice, but Dice ends up bowing out gracefully. He simply loves Billy too much to hold her back. But he’s embittered, is Dice. Bitter than he isn’t as successful. After some show, he’s drunk and says hurtful things to Billy. It turns out Billy doesn’t like having hurtful things said to her, and can we blame her? Nope. She bails on Dice. With her cat. Dice immediately regrets everything. Billy’s star rises fast, and her and Dice’s dream of her playing Madison Square Garden becomes a reality. Like immediately. Billy visits Dice’s apartment while he isn’t there, perhaps to pick up some stuff, that isn't immediately apparent, and sees he’s writing a song for her and that he has a ticket to her show. However, on his way to the concert, Dice is shot dead by Terrence, and Billy goes on stage and gives a teary rendition of some song that was special to her and Dice and which may or may not have come from Mariah’s actual catalogue. Right after the concert, in a letter left by Dice, Billy reads that her birth mother has been found. She heads directly from the concert and meets up with her mom and presumably lives happily ever after sans Dice and Terrence. Roll credits. 

A kiss for the song that the late Dice worked on. So heartfelt.

Alright. 1983. No. Just no. I mean sure, perhaps. But in that case, they should fire the props, costume and music department, because nothing is early 80s about this. It’s mid to late 90s at best. Now, I don’t know if they made the movie and didn’t realize or if they just thought fuck it, the demographic this movie caters to won’t know the difference. But it was not 80s. Mariah Carey was executive music producer on this, so I guess she should’ve been fired too. She used, or had somebody use pretty iconic 90s music. This may be chalked up to artistic liberty, but it just seems sloppy. Like nobody gave a shit about that aspect. Hairstyles and outfits were not in the least synced. Especially not Mariah who basically looked like Mariah all the way through. I mean she could’ve done that movie yesterday, and we wouldn’t have known the difference. 

That hat pissed me off more than anything else in this movie.

Plenty of the actors involved are ones you’d remember from some obscure little role in some obscure film or series. A few have done bigger things. Mariah Carey was obviously the star here, which is probably why she’s in almost every scene. Mostly people deliver decent performances. Nobody where I was appalled or wanted to phone the proper authorities. Like I mentioned, Mariah wasn’t as crappy as I had suspected she might be. It is the director, though, that kind of startled me the most. When I saw the name Vondie Curtis Hall on screen, I had this weird idea, that I’d seen that name before. And I felt pretty sure he was related to Arsenio. Turns out I was correct. Vondie Curtis has been in thousands of movies and series, but where I remember him from, is the overwhelmed Zamundan concession stand worker that wants a picture taken with Eddie Murphy in Coming to America. That’s the guy. Crazy that he’d go on to direct Glitter. What a time to be alive. 

"No Dice. I don't owe everything to you. I'm my own person. My own person and my own cat." - Billy Frank, probably.

After watching this movie, and figuring it wasn’t B100 material really, I had to ask myself the question: Why is it on this list? And at 33 no less. Well I’m going to assume it’s much the same reason that 5 (yes five) of Paris Hilton’s movies are also on this list. That’s almost all Hilton’s collected works in feature film. People just don’t like Mariah Carey. Now I wasn’t a big fan of Glitter. I won’t recommend it probably. And I won’t ever watch it again. But like I said, I didn’t hate it. And I didn’t hate Mariah Carey for it. I’ve never been a Carey enthusiast, but even a cold hearted sum’bitch like me can’t deny, that she has a voice and the skills with which to use it. Paris Hilton has zero skills worth anything in the movie business save a brand. Glitter belongs in the 4-5/10 range of the grading scale, and not below 3. The love story was a little forced, and Dice and Billy both make some weird choices and do some weird things. It’s amore, I guess. But really, lots of the conflict in this could’ve been handled if they had gotten an agent and a lawyer and negotiated a proper deal, instead of just half assing it. But alas, I’m just a lowly review writer. 

Fighting in the car. Billy has to chose between her man or her friends. She goes with the guy. Rookie mistake.

The whole mom subplot was… It was pretty stupid. You never got the idea that Billy had done all this shit all along just for her mom. She mentioned it at one point, because she finds a box of her mom’s old stuff. But it’s not really a thing besides this one mention. Yet when she reads Dice’s letter, it says her mom has been living clean for the past few years, which begs the question: why the fuck didn’t her mom both know Billy Frank existed and/or try and find her. Nevermind. But Billy goes to her mother’s house which is this fucking colonial giant of a house located in this super pictureque location, with trees and fields and meadows all around. I’m like “she was a drug addict down and out dive bar singer. How did she manage a massive house in Maryland like this? And why?” Don’t get me wrong, I only want the best for Mariah Carey’s movie mother, but it's weird that she is doing so well, yet Billy Frank had to find out she even existed through some guy. Like if she wanted to see Billy, wouldn't she have looked for her? Or at least like known Billy was a big shot singer? Billy was somewhere between 7 and 12 when she was given up for adoption, so presumably she had been Billy Frank from the get go? I’m going off on a tangent here. It really doesn’t matter. Glitter. Don’t watch it, but also don’t hate it?

Mom's humble abode. Just a small cabin in the affluent Maryland country side. 

1 comment:

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