Glitter (2001) — Diving in Mariah’s dumpster

“I’m goin’ for a smoke.”

Clare’s rating: Glitter is directed by Vondie Curtis-Hall of Cop Rock fame and written by Kate Lanier best known for writing the screenplay for 1999’s Mod Squad remake. How could this movie do anything other than ROCK MY WORLD!?!

Clare’s review: So this past weekend I came up with the brilliant idea of hosting what I lovingly dubbed “effeminate gay man movie night”. Basically, it consisted of a group of us getting together, mixing liquor with fruit juice, eating expensive and foreign snack items and pulling together a line up of movies that the (metaphorically) effeminate gay man inside us would curl up his toes to watch.

Glitter was the main attraction for the night. I put on my sage colored satin PJ’s with my leopard print slippers and head band, we busted open the frozen concentrate juices, mixed up two flavors of tequila drenched punch and settled in for one of the most fabulous, spectacular movie night extravaganzas ever thrown together at the last minute on a Friday afternoon. After we heroically plowed through Caged Heat (the classic naked chicks in prison movie from 1974), we steeled ourselves with key lime powdered cookies and Belgian chocolates, refilled our cranberry/OJ swirl margaritas (on the rocks), and threw in “the beast”.

Glitter is the fictitious Behind the Music of a singer named Billie Frank who looks, I swear to God, exactly like Mariah Carey. The fact that the main character’s name was comprised of not one, but two, boy’s names gave my friends and I ample proof that this movie was conspicuously designed to appeal to drag queens from coast to coast. And we were fully ready to stage our own production of “Up With Mentally Ill Pop Divas” right there in the middle of my living room, until we realized that it would take a full 10 minutes or so before we actually got to the good (by which, of course, I mean bad) stuff.

First however, we had to sit through a flashback montage where we find out that Mariah (I mean Billie) learned to sing from her booze hound of a mom who ends up giving Mariah (I mean Billie) away after drunk-mom “accidentally” burns their house down when she falls asleep with a lit cigarette. She assures her curly headed, bright-eyed child that moms just needs some time to sober up and then she’ll come get Mariah/Billie just as soon as she can. Then we follow Mariah/Billie to the future-pop-diva orphanage for girls where she meets the unfortunately requisite sassy black girl and her loud-mouthed and equally sassy Latina friend who of course become Mariah/Billie’s BFF.

The rest of the movie is the gripping emotional journey of one poor girl’s meteoric rise to fame. Or it’s a stale vanity project that doesn’t resemble anything close to what most people would recognize as “interesting” or “worthwhile”. I think it depends on what angle you’re watching from. There are so many implausible “plot twists” and unexplained leaps in time that explaining the rest of the movie would be a waste. Needless to say, it provides plenty of opportunities to shout things at the TV and see who amongst you can come up with the funniest responses to the horribly written dialogue. It’s MST3K fodder for those of you who aren’t afraid to embrace the diva within.

Let me make particular note of one of the least charismatic, least appealing, least believable love interests in modern cinema. Some poor soul named Max Beesley was told by someone that he was a) handsome and b) could act. Sadly for the rest of us, that means that he went on auditions and by some miraculous feat of nature, landed the role as the boyfriend/producer/annoying buzzing sound in Mariah/Billie’s life. He plays a DJ at one of the many clubs that Mariah/Billy “performs” in even though it’s pitifully easy to tell from several hundred feet away that he does not in fact have any idea what to do with two turn-tables and a microphone (He bandies about cassette tapes seemingly oblivious to the fact that they don’t work so well when paired up with record players. Dumb ass). Then there’s the fact that we’re supposed to believe he’d stand a chance in the world of winning over anyone with his horrifying dearth of charm or intelligence. I know the world is littered with dim-witted, muscle-tee wearing yahoos, but that doesn’t mean I need them sullying up an otherwise perfectly horrible movie.

Glitter is gutter trash wrapped in gold lame and thrown under some pulsating dance lights hoping nobody will notice just how stinky it is. I rented it with the hopes that it would be perfectly god-awful and I was in no way disappointed.

Didja notice?

  • Your life slipping away from you as you watched this horror show unfold?
  • Mariah/Billie’s head blow up?
  • That Mariah/Billie’s cat from the beginning of the movie shows up near the end looking quite healthy even though it would be at least 20 years old. We donned it “mummy cat” and took great pleasure in providing back-story about crazy Mariah/Billie carrying around a petrified cat and refusing to let anyone tell her it was dead.
  • The little swatch of “glitter” Mariah/Billie has on her anatomy in every scene. For a while we thought it was duct tape that the grips kept putting on Mariah/Billie as an inside joke to keep themselves entertained during the shoot. Then we thought maybe she had some sort of roaming skin disease. Finally we resigned ourselves to the reality that this movie couldn’t possibly be cool enough to give its lead character gray (I mean “silver”) skin fungus.
  • Mariah/Billie’s poor, drunk/drug addled mother, who promises in the beginning of the film that she’d come get her daughter as soon as she cleaned up her act, lives in a respectable looking house and seemed plenty sober during the inevitable mother/daughter reunion at the end of the movie. I guess Mariah/Billie’s gonna need a little extra time on the Oprah show working this one out.

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