Sunday, October 26, 2014

#57 Glitter (Wes)

There’s a line in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice that is often misquoted by people as “All that glitters is not gold” (the original line uses the word “glisters” which means the same thing anyway, so it’s only really the pedantic who care). This is a good thing to remember in case you ever find yourself in the Californian hills prospecting for gold, and don’t want to get all excited every time you find a piece of iron pyrites, or when unwrapping presents from your Christmas stocking and happen to reveal amount of gold foil covered chocolate coins and think you have extremely generous friends, or most importantly of all, if you ever come across the Mariah Carey movie Glitter. Bearing this in mind I was prepared not to be expecting pure gold when I watched this movie, but I’m not sure I was quite prepared enough.
After she is dumped in an orphanage by her mother, Billie (Isabel Gomes) meets a muscular man who is convinced that he’s the real Santa Claus (Hulk Hogan)… No wait… That was a few films back. Let’s start again.

After she is dumped in an orphanage by her mother, Bille (Isabel Gomes) grows up to become Mariah Carey (strangely she’s seemingly abandoned in the 1930s and reaches adulthood in what looks like the 80s/90s, but we don’t get to hear much of this extremely long childhood). But Mariah Carey isn’t that superstar singer who you know has sold loads of records, but can only name “All I Want for Christmas is You”, she is still just a backing singer/dancer for Sylk (Padma Lakshmi). When club DJ Dice (Max Beesley) realises that she is really singing whilst Sylk lip-syncs he buys her contract from her manager Timothy Walker (Terence Howard), and becomes her producer. After an underground club hit, Dice manages to help Billie get signed to a major label who try to make Billie more into a sex symbol than a singer. This doesn’t sit well with Dice who doesn’t believe in professionalism and has started dating Billie. Dice grows ever more jealous as Billie’s career grows (her song gets played a bit more basically) and eventually they split up. Billie writes a song about it, but honestly it sounds the same as every other song she’s written and I just wish they’d go back to the orphanage with the muscular Santa who sings All I want for Christmas is you. Oh no. Wrong movie again.
I would say that liking this movie probably really depends on how much you like Mariah Carey, but seeing as it did so badly at the box office, while she sells shed loads of records leads me to believe that not even her fans like this movie. If that’s the case for people who like her, what about the people who think that her singing only just rates above the noise of a dentists drill (and that’s only because you don’t get the smell of burning teeth to accompany it)?

I detest Mariah’s music. I have a very wide taste in music, and learnt the important lesson from listening to the legendary John Peel Show that you should never judge a song just because of the genre it’s from, or even from the artist. Like films, I believe that you should at least give something a go before criticising it, but for every Mariah Carey song I’ve ever heard I’ve hated it. It’s amongst the worst kind of bland, soulless chart crap that I can think of. Music for those that want to put on the radio to a station that merely provides familiar background noise. So having to listen constantly to her bland caterwauling in this movie was sheer torture.
It’s funny as I’ve often heard people criticise metal, or punk bands for all sounding the same. Whilst this is true to an extent (for example I honestly have trouble distinguishing between different death metal bands), I think it’s true of a lot of different types of music, especially if someone has a distinct sound (be that artist or producer). Mariah’s music though takes it to another level. The day after watching this movie I honestly had to ask our guest reviewer Jo if there was more than two different songs in the movie. There’s a club song and a slow song, but I honestly couldn’t tell if there was more than one of each. I still don’t know. It doesn’t help that Mariah has the weirdest singing range. She either mumbles her words so they become completely intelligible, or she just screams for seemingly no reason other than to show that she can make a high-pitched wail. If she could act, she’d make a good casting choice for Siryn if they ever wanted to bring her properly into the X-Men movies.

As for the rest of the cast it’s a regular who’s who of people that have never been heard of in Hollywood again. The only actor I even recognised was Max Beesley, and that’s only because Colin reminded me where from (an advert for a jobs website. I forget which one). In a movie where the lead actress is as convincing as Sean Connery’s Spanish accent (or Russian, or Irish, or English, or… Well you get the point) you’d think that may give some of the other actors a chance to shine and make even an average performance look good. Seemingly not in this film though. It’s like the other actors were so afraid of upstaging Mariah that they tried their best to be just as bad as she was.
Carey and Beesley have so little chemistry between them that they still believe that all matter is made of earth, air, fire and water. They make Madonna and Adriano Giannini in Swept Away (see here) look like Romeo and Juliet. They make Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez in Gigli (see here) look like Anthony and Cleopatra. Hell, they even make Natalie Portman and Hayden Christiansen look like Lee Norris and the Chimp in Surf School (see here). If they spoke their lines to each other whilst starring in separate movies I’d be more convinced that they were a couple.

One last thing needs to be questioned before I wrap everything up here, and that’s why was the movie called Glitter? The director Vondie Curtis Hall, seemed to try to address this point by occasionally throwing some glitter in the air (during Mariah’s video shoot), or by showing some glittering fireworks, but this really doesn’t explain things very well. Is glitter supposed to be a sign of success? When I was in junior school I used to enjoy making pictues with dry macaroni and glitter, does that mean I was well on my way to becoming a superstar in the art world but just didn’t follow my dreams hard enough? It really doesn’t make any sense.
Anyway. About now would be the time when I tell you not to bother watching the movie (don’t. It’s boring and Mariah won’t stop singing), and make some crappy pun related to the movie itself. But this week I thought I’d give you something different. As I said earlier Mariah either mumbles or screams her way through her songs, so the words she’s singing really do get lost along the way. Well I’ve decided to try to help out here and give her some lyrics in case she ever feels the need to make Glitter 2: No Dice…

Colin, Jo and I watched a movie called Glitter,
We took the piss out of it on Twitter,
Whilst the actors were bitter,
As they flushed their careers down the shitter.
Need to make the words fit-a,
And hire a baby sitter,
As I run out of words that rhyme-a,
Making movies this bad should be a crime-a,
Mumble, mumble, mumble, mumble, SCREEEEEEAAAAAAAAMMMMMM!