Glitter (2001)

All that glitters is gold

Mariah Carey is one of the top-selling artists of all-time, with over 175 million albums sold. This puts her in an elite category with acts such as Elvis Presley, The Beatles and Michael Jackson. This can certainly be attributed to her great catalogue of songs such as….okay, I can’t name a single one. How is it I am able to name more songs by Rick Astley than Mariah Carey? Nonetheless, she has certainly racked up some impressive numbers – and the number of that impressive rack is rumoured to be 36-C.

Glitter movie posterLike the other super successful music acts mentioned above, Carey made the inevitable jump to the silver screen back in 2001. While I may not know much about Ms. Carey’s music career, I can tell you that her first film, Glitter, was the most electrifying and important on screen debut in the illustrious history of motion pictures.

The movie is a somewhat autobiographical tale of Carey’s life, although some details have been added. Carey plays Billie, a young girl who had a difficult childhood. The story begins in the 1970s. Her father is not in the picture. Her mother is not capable of taking care of her. She doesn’t even have an Atari! Things turn around for Billie when she end up in an orphanage, and makes two very good friends, Louise and Roxanne.

Billie, Louise and Roxanne grow up to become backup singers – that is, until Billie is discovered by an aspiring producer. A club DJ known as the “Dice Man” takes Billie and her girls under his wing. Along the way, a romantic bond forms between Dice and Billie, However, as Billie’s career soars, her relationships with Dice, Louise and Roxanne all suffer.

Several years ago, I had the good fortune to watch a little film called Crossroads, which marked the acting debut of Britney Spears. It was a fun and thoughtful film about a young woman whose desire was to become a singer. I thought the film could not be topped. But, it turns out it could be equaled. In Glitter, Carey proved herself to be just as adept at acting as young Spears. Like Crossroads, this is a life affirming film that will make you laugh, it will make you cry, and it will make you appreciate the people around you.

Unfortunately, not everyone felt the same way about Glitter that I did. Some have called it among the worst of all-time. I guess everyone is entitled to their own opinion, no matter how incorrect that opinion may be. The film performed poorly at the box office, making only $5 million worldwide. That’s less than Carey spends on thongs and hair extensions in any given year. The lack of success for both the film and soundtrack may have also contributed to Carey suffering a physical and emotional breakdown.

Fortunately, she overcame it all to top the charts once again. Best of all, she will soon be returning to the big screen in Precious. With Elvis, Jackson and half of The Beatles gone, we must cherish our time with Carey, as she is music’s greatest living legend. With a little more experience under her belt, she will also be able to lay claim to the title of film’s greatest living legend.

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