July 29th, 2011
Todd: Hi, my name is Todd, and I'm a Mariah Carey fan.
- Video for "Dreamlover"
Todd (VO): Yes, yes, I know that there are many critics who think she's overrated, and that they complain about her oversinging and popularizing empty vocal gymnastics. And I'd like to ask those people,...
Todd: ...what's it like to be wrong all the time? Does it hurt? Do you dread waking up in the morning?
- Video for "Vision of Love"
Todd (VO): Saying Mariah Carey should tone down her singing is like asking Eddie Van Halen to play less notes, like saying Babe Ruth should've hit less home runs. When Mariah sings, the world soars.
Todd: And so, because I'm such a fan, I thought I should go ahead and check out her one and only attempt at a major film career, [title shot of...] Glitter.
Todd jumps onto his couch
Now, at this point in time, you have to understand that in her professional career, Mariah had never known anything but success.
- Clips of "Always Be My Baby" and "Honey"
Todd (VO): Right from her very debut album, she was making #1 hits and selling at platinum-level numbers or higher, and that had continued for seven straight albums. And so, in 2001, after more than a decade of uninterrupted success, Mariah had decided to branch out into movies, just like her predecessor Whitney Houston had a decade earlier with [clip of...] The Bodyguard. After all, that movie was a humongous hit, and its soundtrack was an even bigger one, so why couldn't Mariah do the same? [Trailer for Glitter] Sure, she had never acted, but director Vondie Curtis Hall had worked with music stars before, [poster for Gridlock'd] and his first film had what many considered a brilliant performance from the late Tupac Shakur, so hopes were high.
Unfortunately, Mariah's ambitions of spreading her success to two mediums collapsed when the movie, soundtrack album, and, by most accounts, [clip of Mariah on TRL] Mariah's mental health all failed spectacularly. [Clip of "We Belong Together"] Mariah's career would right itself a few years later, but Glitter still is a dark, black stain on her life story, ranking alongside Battlefield Earth and Gigli as one of the most infamous bombs of the decade.
Todd: But is it that bad?!
Todd (VO): Now, I'm of the opinion that very few people have given this movie a fair shake. It's just one of those movies that everyone knows is bad, but unlike other famously bad movies like Birdemic or The Room, very few people have ever tried to confirm this for themselves.
Todd: Well, I'm not one to back down from a challenge. I'm going to sit down and watch and review the bad movie that bad movie fans won't watch. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the one and only star vehicle of Miss Mariah Carey, Glitter.
- Movie begins, Lillian Frank (Valarie Pettiford) sings
- Lillian Frank: I give you love...
Todd (VO): Man, Mariah's really let herself go. No, that's actually her mom. Mom's a drunk bar singer who's actually allowed somehow to bring her daughter Mariah to work and onstage with her.
- Lillian: [handing mic over] Sing.
- Young Billie: ...and inside
- I'm so so cold
- Clip from The Simpsons
- Lisa: I'm the saddest kid in grade number two
- The crowd claps for the mother and daughter, then cuts to them walking home
Todd (VO): Okay, that was a weird cut, but whatever. Well, we see that Mariah doesn't know her deadbeat dad, and her mom's been fired and has a drinking problem; but they really love each other, so I'm sure they'll be fine.
- Lillian falls asleep with cigarette in hand. Cut to the house burning down.
- Talking Heads: Burning down the house
- Billie looks on sad. Cut to the charred remains.
Todd (VO): Seriously, these cuts.
Todd: I'm gonna have to start putting in some transitions for them.
- Transition: three spinning stars
Todd (VO): Okay, Mom loses custody—I'm gonna assume because of her booze issues—and Mariah and her cat are sent to an orphanage. And okay, the editing was beyond clumsy and the cinematography makes me think a tornado's about to take her to Oz, but that intro wasn't terrible. It gives you a lot of information, and...
Todd: ...sets up a clear motivation for her character—abandonment issues stemming from being given up by her mom at such a young age, not to mention fear that she will become just like her own mother and succumb to the drinking problems that caused...
None of this informs the character at all!
Todd: Well, then why is it in the mov...never mind.
Todd (VO): Anyway, we then flash-forward to 1983, where...oh, am I watching Showgirls? Oh, no, I guess not. Anyway, a strikingly miscast Terrence Howard recruits Mariah and her friends as backup singers for his protege, an R&B singer who is named Sylk because the filmmakers apparently didn't know there's already [single cover of Silk's "Freak Me"] a singer with that name. Well unfortunately, Sylk sucks a lot.
- Sylk (Padma Lakshmi): You and only you can make me feel the way I do
- You and only you can give me pleasure
Todd: You think that sounded bad? You should hear her first attempt.
- Sylk: [dubbed over with Stan Bush] You got the touch
- You got the power
- Timothy Walker (Terrence Howard): Hey, Billie. Can you repeat that verse that Sylk just did? [to engineer] Turn Sylk way down, turn Billie all the way up.
- Sylk/Billie: For you...
Todd (VO): So Terrence has Sylk instead lip-sync to Mariah, and Mariah goes along with it because...why the hell not? The new single debuts to the appreciative ears of a club DJ named Dice.
- Clip of a totally different "Dice"
- Andrew Dice Clay: Oh!
Todd (VO): No, different Dice. Anyway, Dice likes it.
- Dice (Max Beesley): Let's hear it for Sylk!
- [Cut to Dice approaching Sylk]
- Dice: Oh, man, that was...that was great
- Sylk: Thanks, did you really like it?
- Dice: Sylk, I had no idea you could blow like that.
Todd chuckles briefly
Todd (VO): Speaking of blowing, Mariah blows their cover because...why the hell not?
- Billie: [singing as she walks away] So into you
- That's forever and ever
Todd (VO): Dice, now interested, decides to get to know her.
- Billie: I've heard a lot about you...Dice.
- Dice: Well, listen, don't believe everything you hear. Come here, I wanna show you something.
- Billie: Where are we going?
- Dice: I'm not gonna bite you, come on.
- [The movie speeds up a little]
Todd: Oh, I'm sorry, I must be sitting on the fast-forward button over...[picks up remote by his side]...no. No, it's right here. So what the hell was that?
Todd (VO): Does this movie hate itself so much, it's just speeding through its own scenes?
Todd: That just looks ridiculous. Actually, hold on, I need a soda. [In fast-forward, Todd gets up and drinks an entire can]
- Dice: When the mic comes...you can freestyle, you can sing. Hell, you can make love to the DJ if that's your thing.
- [Dice walks to Billie as the action slows and everything else fades]
Todd: [laughing] I have no words.
Todd (VO): Anyway, Dice is so impressed with her that he offers to be her manager and produce her. Mariah Carey is so excited that unfortunately her head explodes. [Over Billie's face, fireworks.] A tragedy, that.
- Dice: I want Billie and the girls.
- Timothy: Nah, nah, I can't do it.
- Dice: If you want your artists heard in this club again, you can. How much?
- Timothy: $100,000
Todd (VO): *Gulp* Dice produces some songs for her, they do well, and they attract record execs, just like they wanted.
- Dice: This is my latest track. And this is the singer, Billie Frank.
Todd (VO): [as Dice] She's the only woman in the entirety of the 1980s without big hair. You know she's special because she doesn't match the setting of the movie at all. You gotta sign her.
They get the record deal, and to celebrate, Dice is gonna take her out to dinner.
- Louise (Da Brat): Don't you be gettin' all freaky on the first date.
- Billie: It's not a date.
- Louise: Yes, it is a date.
Todd (VO): It was here that I began to get the horrible suspicion that not only was this character not going away after three scenes like I thought, he was also supposed to be a romantic lead.
Todd: But that couldn't possibly be the case. He looks, dresses, and acts like a [picture from Welcome Back, Kotter] gay Sweathog.
Todd (VO): No movie would be so stupid as to try and have this weaselly loser be their leading man.
Todd: That'd be ridiculous.
- Billie: I was wondering.
- Dice: Wondering what?
- Billie: Is this a date?
- Dice: I like hanging out with you, Billie.
Todd: Oh, I...I bet you say that to all the meal tickets.
Todd (VO): Okay, now they're back at his place. This cannot possibly be leading where I think it is.
- Dice: This is...this is actually called a marimba, and it's one of my favorite instruments. Would you move down a little, please? Thank you.
- [He plays a little for her. She kisses him, and they get...it...on.]
Todd: [beat] Did he just get Mariah into bed by playing the marimbas?
Todd (VO): Okay, there are instruments of seduction. [Shots of Todd playing...] Guitar, piano, saxophone on the outside, but marimba? Does he only bust out his giant xylophone when he can't...
Todd: ...kazoo his way into a girl's pants?
- Picture of idiot with kazoo in mouth as "Let's Get It On" is played with...kazoo
- Billie: I just have a little bit of trouble...trusting people.
Todd (VO): Uh, you jumped into bed with a guy named Dice 'cause he played the marimbas.
Todd (VO): Okay, now he's her manager/producer/boyfriend. That's good, I guess.
- Dice: There's so much goin' on. Lose all this superfluous shit.
Todd (VO): That's some good, solid production work right there. Take out all of the things. Oh, by the way, Mariah, you got...[shots of Todd brushing off shoulder] something on your, uh...on your sh...you know what? Never mind
Well, they record a song that every critic in the real world called Mariah's worst single, but in the movie, it starts to blow up; so they shoot a video too, and here's where things get sticky.
- Roxanne (Tia Texada): [to Louise] Shake-a, shake-a, shake. Shake your chi-chi, just shake your chi-chi.
- Guy Richardson (Dorian Harewood): [to Dice] We gotta lose her friends, the two girls.
- Dice: Those are her dancers.
- Well, the director wants other dancers.
- [Cut to makeup table]
- Billie: Where are they?
- Dice: They're home, they're cool.
- Billie: I've gotta go talk to somebody.
Todd (VO): Well, you can see where this is going. As she's becoming more famous, she's losing...
Todd: ...touch with her friends, and this fame and success take her further and further away from her roots, causing...
That scene affected nothing!
Todd's hand just drops
- Director: I want to see more of her breasts.
Todd (VO): Well, the video shoot takes a turn for the exploitative, making Mariah very uncomfortable.
- Director: And around her breasts, come on.
Todd (VO): So we see the real conflict of the movie—that being famous means compromising your principles, and possibly being treated like a piece of meat,...
Todd: ...forcing her to consider whether fame and success are really worth it in the end. Huh? Huh? Oka...
The movie forgets about this completely!
Todd: Oh, for the love of Christ, what the hell is the point of this movie?! What's the plot?! What's the theme?! Why does one scene follow the other?! WHY AM I WATCHING THIS?!
Todd (VO): Dice deep-sixes the shoot because he's an ass and because we didn't want that thread to go anywhere. Oh, and she's gonna talk to her friends and make up with them just to make sure that we never have a plot seed that actually blooms.
- Billie: You're like my family. I don't wanna lose that.
- Louise: Me neither.
- Billie: Alright, Roxy. Look, you guys wanna go shopping?
Todd: Yeah, yeah, yeah, shopping solves everything, let's just do it. Shopping montage of them trying on outfits and shit.
- The three girls come out wearing matching gold outfits and carrying bags. Todd has no words.
WORST. SHOPPING MONTAGE. EVER
Todd (VO): Well, more bad news for Dice. The record company is muscling him out of the picture so Mariah can work with other producers, and also apparently, Terrence Howard has come back to collect his money so that he can continue to finance Sylk's career. And I really have to wonder what amazing things this chick is doing to him in the bedroom that he's still flogging this dead pony after, what, like two years? Just find another pretty girl who actually can sing.
Todd: You're in New York, you can find them in the vending machines.
- Dice: Boy, you're gonna totally make that girl famous.
Todd: Well, she might have a future hosting [picture of poster for Top Chef: Season 3. Miami., featuring Padma] reality cooking shows. Have you tried that?
- Dice: You got food at your crib? When you run out, come see me, 'cause this was a bullshit deal and you know it.
Todd: Yeah, a bullshit deal that you muscled him into taking, jerk!
Todd (VO): Dice decides that he's not gonna pay the money he agreed to, and to celebrate his unconscionable stupidity, Mariah and Dice decide to move in together.
- Dice: What's wrong?
- Billie: I found a box of my mom's things. [Holds up her finger with a ring] This was hers.
Todd (VO): Mariah Carey—vocal range of eight octaves, emotional range of a grapefruit. [as Billie writes] Dear diary: I'm really worried about the direction of the movie. There just doesn't seem to be any conflict or momentum moving the plot forward. I don't...I don't know what to do.
Well, they do go to a party. That's forward momentum, I guess. Nice outfit, Dice.
Todd: I...I truly don't understand why they made the decision to set this movie dead-smack in the middle of the most dated part of the 80s. If there was a lot of nostalgia for the [cover for Ready for the World's self-titled album] Jheri curl era of R&B, I wasn't aware of it. And most of the songs sound like the music of the early 2000s anyway. It'd be one thing if this was actually made in the 80s and the stupid fashions were just what was in at the time, but this movie doesn't have that excuse; it's like they're trying to make this story look even stupider than it is.
- Rafael (Eric Benét): Maybe we should get together. Do something
- Billie: I'd love that.
- Rafael: You think so?
- Dice: Hey, I'm Dice.
Todd (VO): Well, this one singer is flirting with Mariah, and Dice doesn't like that. Also he feels bad because no one is taking him seriously. Gee, I wonder why. (Try a shirt next time, dingus)
- Dice: Get your girls, go to the car now.
- Billie: What?
- Dice: Get the girls and go to the car. Don't make me make a scene, Billie.
Todd: Well, gee, do you think you can make a scene more embarrassing than showing up without a goddamn shirt?!
- Dice: Wow, he wants to write a song with you.
- Do you think that he'd wanna actually write a song with you if you were, you know, properly dressed? Look at everything here. Everything is hanging out.
Todd (VO): Says the guy without a shirt! Well, they make up, but the next day, this happens.
- Billie: Have you decided what you're gonna wear to the after-party yet?
- Timothy: I don't remember being invited to no after-party.
- I haven't received a penny of my money. Now I don't wanna hurt you...but I will.
Todd (VO): Um...is this necessary? Just...
Todd: ...you know, you could sue.
Todd (VO): Like, if you had a contract, just take him to court. I mean, that is the obvious solution, right?
Todd: Lawyer up, asshole.
Todd (VO): That's assuming she had a contract, which...I'm not sure is true. I mean...
Todd: ...I just don't understand the transaction here. [Clip from...] Was it like that scene in Almost Famous where the band gambled away their groupies? What the hell is going on?! Who is this guy?!
- Penny Lane: ...somebody...
- William Miller: ...who sold you to Humble Pie for fifty bucks and a case of beer?!
- Dice: Billie, what's wrong?
- Billie: He said if you don't pay him his money, he's gonna hurt me.
- Dice: He's gonna hurt you?
- Billie: Yes.
- Dice: Okay.
- [Dice beats up Timothy]
Todd: Um...I'm pretty sure that's not the way the loan shark-debtor relationship is supposed to work.
Todd (VO): [as Dice] Where's my money? Where's my money?! Oh, that's right. I still have my money because I haven't paid you all the money I owe you.
Todd (VO): Mariah has to cancel a performance and brave the paparazzi gauntlet to bail him out from jail, and that begins a fun conversation.
- Billie: I'm not gonna sit around and let you ruin everything that I'm working for.
- Dice: If it wasn't for me, you would be waiting tables...
- Billie: Total bullshit! Don't blame me for your failure.
- Dice: ...think inside your mind that because you swing your ass around onstage...
- [Billie slaps him and Dice almost hits her back]
Todd (VO): Well, that's the end of that romance. Never has the breakup of a jealous, possessive dick and a blank-faced emotional cypher been more heart-rending. I believed in them. I really d...she kept the cat?! How old is that thing?! What is it, like seventeen at this point?!
- Billie: I gotta say goodbye to you.
Todd (VO): Well, anyway, thank God that dead-end of a romance is over. She does a duet with the guy that was flirting with her earlier, and thank God this movie has actually provided her with a positive love interest who's actually on her level and can help her in her career...
He's never mentioned again!
Todd: I hate this movie.
- DJ: Hey listen. Your homegirl just sold out Madison Square Garden.
- [Dice reads it in Billboard]
Todd (VO): You know, I can't help but notice this character's still in the movie. I feel like he's served his purpose, I don't think we need any more of DJ Douchebag.
- Billie and Dice write music in their separate homes. Billie sings while Dice plays
Todd (VO): Yes, that's right. They're composing the song psychically, music and lyrics together, despite being miles apart. This is actually happening.
Todd: Oh. The. Pathos.
Todd: (VO): And then she goes to his house and finds the song they composed together. Aw. [Dice finds the sheet music with Billie's kiss print] Oh, good, they're gonna get back together. I was sure rooting for those two crazy kids, and I'm totally ready to forgive him for being such an insecure, controlling asshole, and his clear tendencies towards violence and the part where he almost hit her, the fact that he was a horrible impediment to her career, the massive unpaid debts. Okay, speaking of.
- Timothy: Hey, Dice.
- [Dice walks up to Timothy and gets shot, immediately cutting to black]
Todd: Oh, God. I thought I was sad when Tommy Wiseau died at the end of The Room. I...I need a moment.
Todd (VO): And Mariah finds out he's dead, and it's just so sad.
Todd: I think we need a montage of this most tragic love story of our story.
- Montage of clips from movie set against...
- Barbra Streisand: Memories, like the corners of my mind
- Misty watercolor memories of the way we were
- Billie: [onstage] Don't ever take anybody for granted.
- [singing] Never too far away
Todd (VO): Well, I guess this was supposed to be the movie's big, best-selling ballad. And if you listen closely, you can hear the movie actively trying to will itself into becoming The Bodyguard.
- Billie: Remember...
Todd (VO): [with Whitney Houston] AND I...
Oh, and Dice's last gift to Mariah.
- Billie: [reading] "Congratulations, Billie. Madison Square Garden. Social services called, and they found your mother. She's living in a small town in Maryland. She's been clean and sober for quite some time."
- She falls asleep in the limo and wakes up
Todd (VO): [as crying limo driver] Ma'am, how much further do we have to go? I've been driving for hours. I need to see my kids.
And she finds her mom. I guess that's what this movie was about. [Billie and Lillian embrace with tears] You've been clean and sober for years?! Why didn't you call me, bitch?!'
Todd: So that was Glitter. Was it that bad? Um...yes, in that it was...
- Montage of clips from movie
Todd (VO): ...tediously paced, bizarrely edited, and had wooden performances of hollow characters with poorly defined motivations. Basically, it was bad in none of the fun ways. It was just a hollow, empty movie without any right to exist.
Todd: And by the way, was it just me, or did Mariah do nothing in this movie?
Todd (VO): I mean, stuff happens to her, but all she does is react to it by putting a sad face on. She doesn't learn anything, she doesn't become a stronger person. You could replace the character with a mannequin that plays Mariah Carey CDs, and nothing would change.
Todd: That's how worthless the character is—you could replace her with a statue and a CD player. [Thinks about it...] Hey, now, there's an idea.
At his regular post, he places a hoodie over a Mario statue and turns on a CD player.
Todd (recording): That Ke$ha song is terrible. What a terrible Ke$ha song.
Todd: Making these videos just got so much easier.
Closing tag song: Mariah Carey - "Didn't Mean to Turn You On"
"Glitter" is owned by 20th Century Fox
This video is owned by me