Glitter

Glitter

This is not a bad movie.

It's not a great movie, either. It's cliched. It's corny. It's not well acted, and the writing could use a lot of work. But that's true of about 90% of movies, including many critical darlings and hugely popular films. There's not a single MCU film that isn't cliched, corny, badly acted, and badly written, yet they regularly rate highly with film snobs and the population at large. In 2002, the Oscars rewarded A Beautiful Mind as Best Picture: an ableist depiction of white man's struggle with mental illness and being exploited by the state. It's corny, cliched, badly acted, and badly written. It stars a white man and panders to the Academy.

This isn't a great movie, but it's a lot fucking better than A Beautiful Mind.

Glitter is a star-vehicle for Mariah Carey, one of the most popular entertainers of all time. A woman of color who had massive hits under her belt at the time this was released, who was unarguably a major talent in the music industry. Before the release of this film, she had a breakdown. Whatever the full story was (I don't know or care), it's not hard to figure out that the stress of being hugely exploitable/profitable for the record execs and lawyers while being a woman of color in a racist, misogynist society factored into it. It's impossible to divorce the critical response to this film from the context of this breakdown, the expectations for a star as big as Mariah Carey, and the ableism, racism, and misogyny of the press and critics.

I'm not suggesting Mariah Carey is a saint. I'm not suggesting she isn't sheltered by unfathomable wealth. But that doesn't make the response to this film less rooted in bigotry.

It's interesting to note that they did include some nods toward how she/her character was exploited as a sex object. It's clumsily handled and never quite condemned the way it should be, but the film does depict the music industry as predatory. There's a powerful story there, a conflict that is set up and never resolved. You can see the great film lurking under the surface, bogged down by corporate interference and bad decisions.

This is not a bad movie. I've seen bad movies. Holy fuck, have I seen bad movies. Movies that deserve the reputation this has. Movies that are acclaimed for all the wrong reasons, or movies rightfully ignored by society. This is a mediocre movie with a great soundtrack that got lambasted by a predatory industry ready to attack a woman of color at a vulnerable moment.

Anyway, unrelated, but "Always Be My Baby" is a contender for the greatest song of all time.

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