Thursday, April 15, 2010

Glitter: A Review

You know it had to happen, I had to purchase this cinematic masterpiece. In short, this was the movie that helped to drive Mariah Carey crazy. I can see why. Mariah plays a young singer Billie Frank who was supposedly a big star in the mid '80s. Didn't believe it for a mini-second--and there's the rub. For this movie to work, you have to believe this character could have existed. Nope, not quite. The early sequences had Billie on stage with her gakked out mother. Apparently mom was an actual recording artist, a plot point that begged to be explored somewhere in the film. It wasn't. Billie was dropped off into an opranage (dictionary says "orphanage") where the kids ate porridge, played with finger paints and watched Eight is Enough, and apparently formed life long friendships. Glitter did the soap operas one better by aging her from like 7 to 20 something. Good job! Who in the heck knew what happened during those years. You care? Neither do I. This is when Carey shows up with her kind of '80s clothes, her friends including a pointless character played by Da Brat, etc.

Billie's got a skill, she can sing, her group is bought by a cartoony bad guy played by Terence Howard. Howard loses Billie and the girls to a rising producer named Dice, played by Max Beasley. Oh thrilling. Billie's career soon skyrockets, her now-boyfriend Dice gets a little pissed and drunk for no reason (A Star is Born)and the wheels are off. Billie's mad huge, making mad dollars appearing on Late Night Live, wow, LNL starring John Lovitz as "The Pathological Truth Teller."  Dice meets his end and Billie hits the stage at Madison Square Center or somewhere and sings. Groan fest....

 The Good: Not much. Actually there's about 1/3 of a good movie here, it's slightly after mid-point near the end. 20 to 25 minutes isn't really enough to watch a movie over though. Despite the drubbing this received, a lot of the new material Carey did for this like, "Lead the Way" and "Never Too Far" are actually good songs.

The Bad: Mostly everything else. According to director Vondie-Curtis Hall (Mariah's best bud) a concerted effort was to minimize clothing and sets that were "Big '80s" in favor of timelessness. Big mistake. The '80s environment and energy is  just not here. In fact most of this looks like a decade/time that just didn't exist. Not good.

Grade **1/2 Wasn't awful and oddly enough the film's acknowledged executioner Vondie Curtis Hall did some illuminating director's commentary.
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