Glitter (2001) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

I was really disappointed in Glitter

I saw the impossibly bad reviews in advance, and I saw that it was rated 2.0 at IMDb and I anticipated that it would be one wonderful over-the-top indulgence in bad cinema. I anticipated a great unintentional comedy and the opportunity to write a scathingly satirical review.

I'm therefore disappointed to report that it isn't as bad as the critics said. Of the 90 minutes or so of running time, Mariah must sing for about half, and the girl can definitely sing. Therefore, if you like her style of singing, it's basically a concert film with a corny back story.

In the acting department, the critics must have really wanted her to fail. I know she is arrogant, and isn't generally well liked. To tell you the truth, though, she really isn't that bad. Even though she is a singer, not an actress, she does fine in some scenes. She is uncomfortable in others, but I think they could have worked her through those better. Don't get me wrong. She won't be taking any work away from Fionnula Flanagan or Judy Dench in the near future, but she showed signs that she could be an actress if she decided to do it full-time.

One thing the critics were right about, though. The plot is pure kitsch.

Start out with the child taken from her drunken mother, placed into an orphanage, clutching her kitty.

As she advances in her career, her boyfriend-manager buys out her contract from the ever sinister Terrence Howard, my favorite bad guy. Man, he's evil! He's so soft-spoken and handsome, but you can look at this guy and see that you shouldn't cross him. Unfortunately the Mariah boyfriend doesn't sense that, and crosses him, refusing to pay off his contractual obligations. Not a good move.

Now that I've told you that, you have enough background to appreciate the true kitsch of the plot described below.

Mariah (Billie) and her boyfriend have an argument and split up. (By the way, when she walked out, Mariah was still carrying that fucking kitty, just as she was when she left her mamma's house. Except now she's about 25 years old!).

While they are apart, Mariah and the boyfriend really miss each other. He writes a song "To Billie". He goes out for a puck of Luckies just as Mariah shows up in his garret, intending to reunite with him. She sees the sheet music, sings the song he has written for her, but has to leave before he returns, because she has a big concert that night. Before she leaves, she plants a lipsticky kiss on the sheet music. Boyfriend comes back, sees the lipstick, realizes that Billie misses him as much as he misses her, writes her a long love letter and has it delivered to her dressing room, so she can read it after the concert.

OK, have you figured out what's going to happen? Remember, Mr Boyfriend had the very bad sense to cross Terrence Howard. Terrence meets with Mr Boyfriend right after Boyfriend finishes his love letter. Terrence gives the guy a chance to change his mind, listens to his refusal, and promptly kills him. Terrence is THE man. He was really polite about it, too.

Mariah finds out that boyfriend has been killed while she is in her concert, and therefore gets to sing and make speeches about treasuring what you have when you have it. And, better still, she goes backstage and gets a letter from her dead boyfriend!

Best of all, she finds out in the final scene that her drunken mama is clean and sober, so she hops in her limo after the concert, and says "take me to my mama's house". Unfortunately for us, mama lives in Maryland, so the limo ride drags on forever with Mariah staring soulfully out of the window. Finally, she and mama are tearfully re-united.

I'm not sure what happened to the kitty.

Yes, I know that is a really bad plot, aimed at a target market of something like 10 year old girls, and I guess that's why the critics really took a hearty dump on the movie.

My summary: it is a bad movie, but ...

  • If you enjoy Mariah, she sings fine, her acting is not that bad, and you can ignore the really dumb plot to hear her sing.
  • If you don't like Mariah, you have to skip the film. The non-musical interludes aren't good, the movie isn't bad enough to be pleasurably bad, and you'll have to listen to a lot of singing from a singer you don't like.

Mariah happened to choose a truly lame project with a kitschy script, but I don't see any reason for her to give up trying for a movie career. She can sing, she has a great smile, she's sexy. Before I write her off, I'd like to see what she can do with better material.


None. The bottom half of Mariah's butt is seen once when she spins around on stage
Note the uncanny precision of this choreography (left)


DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 2.35:1

  • director's commentary

  • two music videos

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: one and a half stars. Ebert 2/4, Berardinelli 1/4


The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 2.0, making it the 62nd worst movie of all time. Strangely, this movie has received almost all 1's and 10's.
  • With their dollars ... it was a massive bomb. Only $4 million gross, despite 1200 screens. It was made for $22 million.
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a D. Not really watchable unless you are a Mariah Carey fan and want to hear her sing.

Return to the Movie House home page