Great Z-Movies of the Decade (An Occasional Series)

on June 29, 2009 by Steve Simels


glitter.jpgSo the other day I'm sitting in the darkened vastness of my local Hell Octaplex when the preview for the forthcoming (in November) and awkwardly monikered Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire appeared on the screen. I had two immediate visceral reactions -- 1) This film looks even less appealing, if that is possible, than that thing with Abigail Breslin and the bald chick with leukemia, and 2) The actress playing the minor role of a social worker looks oddly familiar.

Then the credits came up and I realized it was Mariah Carey. And I immediately flashed to another occasion in the very same Hell Octaplex when I had another couple of equally visceral reactions.

I refer, of course, to that magical moment in 2001 when I witnessed the singer/actress in Glitter, AKA Somebody Killed Her Career.

Ah, good times, at least for the ten or twelve people (in the Tri-State Metropolitan Area alone!) who actually bothered to see it. For the rest of us, here's the trailer for a little taste.

From my review at the time:


Contrary to what you may have heard, this monumentally ill-conceived vehicle for pop diva Mariah Carey's screen debut is not the worst lonely-at-the-top, inside-showbiz soap opera in film history. And therein lies the problem; instead of a camp trash wallow, à la VALLEY OF THE DOLLS or the Barbra Streisand version of A STAR IS BORN, it's a butt-numbing exercise in tedium, sporadically redeemed by moments of unintentional hilarity



The plot: Big-voiced kid Billie Frank (Carey) is abandoned by her seriously dysfunctional, jazz-singing mom and sent to a foster home, accompanied by a cute kitten that mysteriously disappears until a crucial second-act plot point that simply must be seen to be believed. A decade or so later, at an early '80s disco from hell, Billie is discovered by charismatic, aspiring-producer DJ Dice (Max Beesley). The duo eventually make it to the top of the music-business heap, despite the inevitable romantic misfortunes, industry back-stabbing and the threat of gratuitous violence (which, when it finally arrives, is way too little, way too late, dramatically speaking)...Again, contrary to what you may have heard, Carey can act after a fashion, though dialogue gives her trouble. But her performance alternates between two basic modes - a sort of porn-star, come-hither sexiness and a little-girl-on-the-verge-of-tears sulk - that get very old, very fast. On the plus side, while the script has its share of vintage clichés ("Don't blame me for your failure!"), it also invents some new ones, notably the scene in which Dice seduces Billie by playing the marimba. Aspiring screenwriters take note: The marimba gets 'em every time.


Strong and unminced words, I think you'll agree, and I stand by every one of them. In the meantime, astonishingly, you can still -- and absolutely should, immediately -- order a DVD of this total mishegass here.

You're welcome.


Tags: Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, Abigail Breslin, Mariah Carey, Glitter, VALLEY OF THE DOLLS

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