Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Vondie Curtis Hall|
|Produced by||Laurence Mark|
|Screenplay by||Kate Lanier|
|Story by||Cheryl L. West|
|Music by||Terence Blanchard|
|Edited by||Jeff Freeman|
|Laurence Mark Productions|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox (US Theatrical)
Columbia Pictures (non-US, US Home Video)
|Running time||104 minutes|
Glitter is a 2001 American romantic musical drama film starring R&B singer, songwriter Mariah Carey. Produced by 20th Century Fox and Columbia Pictures and directed by Vondie Curtis Hall, the film centers on the life and times of a struggling singer from the early club music scene in the 1980s. Glitter was a box office crash, grossing back only $5 million against its $22 million production budget. The film was also universally panned by critics, many considering it as one of the worst films ever made.
In the club scene of the early 1980s, a multiracial young girl, Billie, born to a Caucasian father and an Venezuelan African-American mother, grows up in a foster home after her mother abandoned her. Years later, the adult Billie (Mariah Carey) is a club dancer along with her foster-care friends Louise (Da Brat) and Roxanne (Tia Texada). They meet Timothy Walker (Terrence Howard), who offers a contract as backup singers/dancers to the singer Sylk (Padma Lakshmi). Initially, Billie refuses, hoping to achieve stardom on her own terms. After pestering from her friends, Billie relents and the three are contracted. They record the hit single, "All My Life" but Sylk's vocal is sub-standard. To maximize sales based on the sex appeal of Sylk, Timothy asks Billie to sing while Sylk lip-syncs. Later at a nightclub—DJed by Julian "Dice" Black (Max Beesley)—Sylk debuts "All My Life". Dice, knowing that Sylk is an indifferent singer, is shocked but goes backstage to congratulate her. Sylk insults her backing singers in front of a photographer and Billie, not wanting to take the verbal abuse, exposes Sylk by singing "All My Life" a cappella in front of Dice. Impressed, he wishes to produce her but Billie turns him down. When she relents, she raises concerns about her contract with Timothy. Dice threatens to not play any more artists from Timothy in his nightclub unless Timothy surrenders Billie and her friends' contacts. Timothy eventually agrees on the provision that Dice pays him $100,000.
Billie and Dice start working on songs: the first being the hit underground single, "Didn't Mean to Turn You On". Dice advises Billie to play off record companies to secure a bigger deal. Ultimately they sign with a major record label. With success in their hands, Dice asks Billie to dinner. Later, he asks her up to his apartment and they sleep together. Billie's first major single, "Loverboy" is a success. The music video originally features Billie, Louise, and Roxanne. However, the director, dissatisfied with the results, orders Billie to wear more revealing clothing and replaces Louise and Roxanne with professional semi-nude male dancers. When the male dancers are then ordered to dance closely to Billie, this frightens her. Dice intervenes on her behalf, and they leave the set before the music video can be finished.
Dice is denied permission to produce songs on Billie's debut, including "Reflections", which Billie wrote about her mother. Billie is called to perform at the USA Music Awards, where she meets singer/songwriter Rafael. Later at the party, they meet again, and Rafael suggests they write a song. Dice orders Billie and her friends to leave, accusing Rafael of sexual advances towards Billie. Louise and Roxanne give Billie an ultimatum: them or Dice, but leave before she can choose. Billie cries, but is comforted by Dice as she laments "If you didn't believe in me, none of this would have ever happened." The reconciliation is short-lived as Billie gets a threat from Timothy concerning the debt that Dice failed to pay. Billie tells Dice that Timothy was at their apartment about his debt and her contract. She is confused because she thought he had handled her contract properly. She admits to Dice that Timothy threatened her and Dice, in a rage, puts Timothy in the hospital. In the middle of the beating, Dice is arrested, causing Billie to leave her appearance on Late Night Live to bail him out. Billie, upset about how Dice lied about her contract and his arrest, argues with and leaves him. With nowhere to go, she goes back to live with Roxanne and Louise.
Billie tries to deal with the pain by creating the single "Want You", with Rafael (Eric Benet), which is a hit, but her emotional pain leads her to solo songwriting. Dice also misses Billie, and also begins writing a song. Billie goes to Dice's apartment in an attempt to reconcile. He's not home, but the music he has written is and Billie realizes they wrote the same song: "Never Too Far". She kisses the sheet music, leaving a lipstick imprint, which Dice later discovers. Dice plans a reconciliation, but is shot dead by Timothy. Billie's management and support crew see a report of the murder on television. They wonder if Billie was with him, they see that she is there and has seen the report. Billie onstage commands the band to stop playing "Loverboy", tells the crowd never to take someone for granted, and that if you love them, you should tell them, because you might never have the chance to tell them how you really feel. She then starts to sing "Never Too Far".
Afterwords, Billie reads a note Dice had left her, where he tells of his love for her, his plan to see her perform and that he has found Billie's mother. Billie's limo takes her to the secluded rural property where she is united with her mother once again.
- Mariah Carey as Billie Frank
- Isabel Gomes as young Billie
- Max Beesley as Julian "Dice" Black
- Terrence Howard as Timothy Walker
- Da Brat as Louise
- Lindsey Pickering as young Louise
- Tia Texada as Roxanne
- Courtnie Beceiro as young Roxanne
- Eric Benét as Rafael
- Valarie Pettiford as Lillian Frank
- Ann Magnuson as Kelly
- Dorian Harewood as Guy Richardson
- Grant Nickalls as Jack Bridges
- Kate Stebbins as Rachelle
- Padma Lakshmi as Sylk
- Kim Roberts as Miss Wilson
- Bill Sage as Mr. Frank
Mariah Carey began working on a film and soundtrack project titled All That Glitters. However, during that period, Columbia Records pressured Carey to release a compilation album, in time for the favorable holiday season in November. Consequently, Carey put All That Glitters on hold, and released the compilation in November 1998. Following an additional studio album in 1999, titled Rainbow, the project was delayed. She published some of the material on Rainbow, in which she fully exerted creative control over the album and its sound, and then, Carey completed her contract with Columbia Records. Later, she signed a deal with Virgin Records (EMI Records). Carey has said about the film, "It's in the early '80s, in the club scene of that time. I play a singer, Billie, who's mixed-race, from a white father and a black mother. Billie grows up in a foster home, because her mother abandoned her. Later on she meets a DJ and becomes a star in just one night. The point is, that all this time she waits for her mother to return. As you can see, this is far away from my reality, because I couldn't have a closer relationship with my own mother. When she's not with me, she calls like every five minutes."
Glitter was panned by critics and did not perform as expected at the box office. In the United States, it was released in 1,196 theaters and was the eleventh highest-grossing film over its opening weekend, taking in $2,414,596. It was originally scheduled to open over Labor Day weekend, but the film was pushed back three weeks when Carey was admitted to a hospital for what she stated was extreme exhaustion. The film eventually grossed $5.27 million worldwide. As of July 2014, the movie holds a 7% approval rating and an average score of 2.8/10 with review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes based on 87 reviews with the consensus: "Glitter is a hodgepodge of movie cliches and bad acting that's sure to generate unintentional laughs. Unfortunately, the movie is not bad enough to be good."
As of 2013, WatchMojo.com ranked Glitter in their top 10 Worst Movies Ever Made at #9 and saying "Many divas have exploited their star power to sell movie tickets – to varying degrees of success. But Mariah Carey’s was a spectacular collapse. The rags-to-riches account of a biracial woman with lotsa talent and more than a little moxy is formulaic, and critics complained it was a clichéd catastrophe. Mariah blamed the September 11th attacks for keeping fans away from theaters, but those who’ve seen “Glitter” know the truth."
Carey stated in 2002, "It [Glitter] started out as a concept with substance, but it ended up being geared to 10-year-olds." The Village Voice proclaimed, "For her part, Carey seems most concerned about keeping her lips tightly sealed like a kid with braces, and when she tries for an emotion—any emotion—she looks as if she's lost her car keys." Roger Ebert spoke relatively well of Carey's individual performance saying, "Her acting ranges from dutiful flirtatiousness to intense sincerity...." However, he ended with, "and above all, the film is lacking in joy. It never seems like it's fun to be Billie Frank."
In an interview in 2010, Carey stated that she believed that the film's flop at the box office was largely due to the soundtrack's release date being September 11, 2001—the same day as the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and The Pentagon. The film also suffered a probable loss of promotional opportunities in the week and a half leading to the film's release due to pre-emption of most American entertainment media shows due to sustaining coverage of the aftermath of the attacks.
The film is listed in Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson's book The Official Razzie Movie Guide as one of the The 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made.
Awards and nominations
At the 22nd Golden Raspberry Awards, the film received six nominations including Worst Picture and Worst Screen Couple for Carey's cleavage, and one win, for Carey who received the Razzie for Worst Actress.
- Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Picture (lost to Freddy Got Fingered)
- Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actor - Max Beesley (lost to Charlton Heston in Cats & Dogs, Planet of the Apes, and Town & Country)
- Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Director - Vondie Curtis Hall (lost to Tom Green for Freddy Got Fingered)
- Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Screenplay - Screenplay by Kate Lanier, story by Cheryl L. West (lost to Tom Green and Derek Harvie for Freddy Got Fingered)
- Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Screen Couple - Mariah Carey's cleavage (lost to Tom Green and any animal he abuses in Freddy Got Fingered)
The accompanying soundtrack, Glitter, became Carey's worst showing on the charts. The first single, "Loverboy", peaked at number two on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, but that was only after Virgin Records spurred sales of the struggling single by dropping the price down to 99 cents. The next single, Never Too Far, would reach #81. The next two follow-up singles did not crack the US Hot 100 at all. The album itself struggled to reach gold certification, but since its 2001 release has been certified platinum. Virgin Records dropped Carey from the label due to the poor sales of the album and canceled their $100 million contract with her.
References in other media
- At the end of 2001, Sony Entertainment Television Latin America made a very mocking ad of the film and soundtrack's failure, stating that if you don't like someone, you could recommend the film or give away the soundtrack.
- In a Weekend Update segment on Saturday Night Live, Jimmy Fallon states that US forces will be searching for Osama Bin Laden in theaters showing Glitter, because of rumors that he is hiding in empty, deserted places.
- Fox's MADtv made a parody of the film as a preview entitled Gutter, which mocks Mariah's bad acting skills in the film and jokingly portrays her misuse of her vocal register.
- At the 2005 MTV Movie Awards, Eminem, using Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog, asks actress Lindsay Lohan what film she's going to remake next, and she suggests Glitter.
- Referred to on Brothers & Sisters as Scotty Wandell's favorite film in season 2.
- "GLITTER (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. 2001-08-29. Retrieved 2013-07-05.
- Box Office Mojo. "Glitter (2001). Accessed July 26, 2014.
- Shapiro 2001, pp. 97
- (Box Office Mojo - Glitter 2001)
- Gardner, Elysa (2002-11-28). "Mariah Carey, 'standing again'". USA Today. Retrieved 2010-05-03.
- Rotten Tomatoes. "Glitter (2001)". Accessed July 26, 2014.
- Ebert, Roger (2003). Roger Ebert's Movie Yearbook 2003. Kansas City, MO: Andrews McMeel Publishing. p. 239. ISBN 0-7407-2691-9.
- Mariah blames 9/11 for Glitter flop MSN Entertainment, accessed 01/26/2010
- Wilson, John (2005). The Official Razzie Movie Guide: Enjoying the Best of Hollywood's Worst. Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 0-446-69334-0.
- Glitter at the Internet Movie Database
- Glitter at Box Office Mojo
- Glitter at Rotten Tomatoes
- Glitter at Metacritic