48 Thoughts I Had While Watching ‘Glitter’


As a person who spends a decent amount of time watching pop stars attempt and possibly fail to act, it’s shocking that I had never seen Glitter. Mariah Carey’s famously bad movie is basically a legend in the pop culture canon.

Just take this Gilmore Girls reference as proof:


You see what I’m saying. In honor of the film’s 15th anniversary, I experienced the movie for the first time. Read on for my thoughts in regards to Mariah’s first starring role. Spoiler alert: I paused this movie twenty minutes from the end and went to sleep, because I was falling asleep. Let’s get right into it.

  1. Starting off strong, the actress playing Mariah Carey’s character Billie’s mom is quite possibly the worst lip sync-er I’ve ever seen. Lady, you have one job.
  2. “She looks a little like a young Zac Hanson. Sounds like him, too.”—my sister, upon seeing the actress they cast to play Young Billie.
  3. They go heavy-handed with the foreshadowing in this one; it was fairly obvious that Billie’s mother was going to torch their apartment considering how often they showed her falling asleep with a cigarette in her hand.
  4. When we time jump to 1983 to show grown-up Billie, the entire club goes wild when Blondie’s “Heart of Glass” comes on. Why does this movie take place in the ’80s? Because reasons? I guess I shouldn’t start asking questions too early.
  5. Billie’s friend Louise is played by Da Brat, leading me to question where Da Brat has been since the early 2000s.
  6. The out-of-tune pop star Billie and friends sing backup for is played by Padma Lakshmi, proving that some mistakes ARE forgotten.
  7. This out-of-tune pop star is named Sylk, which I cannot abide.
  8. Because Sylk basically has negative singing ability, they have her sing on top of a Mariah track. When DJ Julian Dice says “Sylk! I had no idea you could blow like that,” she responds “I had no idea you were so interested in how well I could blow.” Subtlety: there is none.
  9. When Sylk says that her backup dancers don’t matter, Billie makes a bold move for vengeance: she bursts out in song, exposing Sylk as a fake.
  10. When Dice gets on the microphone in the club, he develops a terrible New York accent.
  11. When Dice points Billie out in the crowd, the rest of the club begins dancing in slow motion, showing off the terrible cinematic effects of the early 2000s.
  12. When Billie and Dice take their flirting outside, his accent turns into one of the Boston persuasion.
  13. But why does this take place during the ’80s?
  14. I found the answer: so they could play Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “Relax” in the background of the club Billie and Dice go to in order to meet record executives.
  15. It was only around this time that I realized that Dice’s name was, in fact, Dice.
  16. Billie smells the rose that Dice brings her before their non-date roughly four times. Acting, damn it!
  17. I ended up shouting “WHO DID YOU KILL?” at my TV when I saw the gigantic NYC loft apartment in which Dice lives.
  18. There’s a legitimate marimba demonstration after they have dinner. Marimba. Demonstration. Things that I wasn’t expecting out of Glitter.
  19. When they’re lying in bed, we see that Dice wears a GIGANTIC necklace sporting his DJ name. It might as well say TOOL on it, just saying.
  20. Billie continuously shifting, telling us that Mariah’s acting abilities don’t extend to cuddling.
  21. The video director ironically yells “The glitter can’t overpower the artists!” But can’t it, sir?
  22. My favorite part of the movie is clearly when he demands to replace Billie’s best friends, as he requests, “Strippers, at least!”
  23. How does Mariah have so much confidence that she’s going to stay in her flimsy shirts and dresses? There must be a decent amount of fashion tape involved, I’d be terrified.
  24. It’s at this point where I notice that Billie always has a strip of silver paint in a different spot on her arm, back, or chest in every shot.
  25. Hair-wise, they remember it’s the ’80s—at least, that’s what it seems like with the overabundance of side ponytails I’m seeing. Clothes-wise, they definitely wandered into a Hollister or American Eagle circa 2001.
  26. “He killed his grandmother,” my sister says upon seeing how big Dice’s bedroom is in his ridiculously large apartment.
  27. Billie found a very WASP-y sweater set to wear when she goes to check on the records of her mother.
  28. Dice wears leather pants so much. Too much, considering the times we see him hanging out in his apartment. Love yourself more, buddy.
  29. Billie’s publicist says the word “fantabulous,” which is another thing I cannot abide.
  30. Billie and Dice wear absolutely horrifying outfits to the awards show. Seriously, an open shirt and leather pants for Dice (natch) and a baby pink evening gown and a matching fur for Billie. The early 2000s were kind to no one.
  31. Mariah gets to show off her acting prowess when Dice kicks Billie’s friends out of the limo on the way back from the awards show. Rather than use her words to convey that she’d be staying with him, she dramatically hangs her head in shame.
  32. Billie sees a wily homeless woman belting a song on the street, and I can’t tell if we’re supposed to think it’s her mom. Is that her mom, or does she merely remind her of her mother? Help, Glitter, I don’t understand this scene.
  33. I cannot get over my shock at how normal Billie is throughout this whole movie. I think I was expecting a cross between Britney’s ingenue innocence in Crossroads and Rachel Leigh Cook’s bad bitch phase in Josie and the Pussycats, post-brainwashing.  
  34. This normality isn’t necessarily a good thing, because damn, this movie has been boring.
  35. Regardless of the fact that this is a fictional situation, I have a bone to pick with the part where Billie abandons her late night talk show performance in order to get Dice from jail after he brawls with Timothy. There is NO WAY she would have gone to get him—she would have performed and gone after, or sent someone else because she is a celebrity that would garner far too much attention.
  36. But who am I, really?
  37. At least there’s one slap to be found, when Dice spits at Billie that her mother would have been proud of her.
  38. I’ve developed some form of pop culture-related PTSD from this movie, as every time I see Dice smoking I become convinced that he’s going to accidentally burn down the apartment.
  39. And now Dice is a very serious songwriter.
  40. “I wish this movie were better…or worse, as the case may be.” So says my sister, so say I.
  41. When Billie returns to Dice’s apartment and finds his small shrine to her atop the piano, she kisses the sheet music and signs it with a B. I get that this is supposed to be a love note, but it also seems vaguely threatening. I should probably blame that assessment on reading Louis Sachar’s Holes so much as a child, where the town outlaw killed people using venom lipstick.
  42. ANYWAY, during the scene in which Timothy shoots Dice, he’s wearing leather pants, one of those oversized leather boy band jackets and a mesh shirt. LET HIM DIE WITH DIGNITY, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.
  43. I see that in the concert scene, Billie is rocking the silver paint streak on her back, reminding me that I STILL don’t know what that is about.
  44. And now we get confirmation that the homeless woman wasn’t Billie’s mother, since she discovers her mother is living in Maryland. I’m happy that was cleared up, but annoyed that the earlier scene was pointless in the first place.
  45. Billie hops into a limo after the show to go to Maryland, still wearing the slinky evening gown she wore to perform. Hell to the no. I get that Maryland is only like four hours at most from New York, but evening gowns aren’t ideal travel wear.
  46. When Billie goes to walk over to her mom with wide blinking eyes and stumbling legs, my sister yelled, “They were like, ACT LIKE A BABY DEER WHO HAS NEVER WALKED BEFORE!”
  47. We hear Mariah singing at least 13 times in this movie, both on screen and in the background.
  48. You guys, I’m disappointed in the lack of true awfulness in this movie. Is the story all that unique? Nah. Is the acting very good? Absolutely not. But it lacks the true bad factor that makes watching bad movies so fun. Truly, Glitter is just kind of boring. Give me Crossroads or From Justin to Kelly any day.

Bri is a 25-year-old born and raised in the swamps of Jersey. Just kidding, she lives at least twenty minutes from those swamps. She’s a publishing professional that moonlights as a writer. She enjoys going to concerts (anything from Rooney to Springsteen to NKOTBSB), roadtripping, and complaining that she truly belongs in the 1950’s, the 1920′s, or the 1980′s depending on her mood. She definitely owns more books than she should and reads every chance she gets. If you stop hearing from her, it’s because the book piles have fallen over and smothered her to death in the night. You can contact her at bri@theyoungfolks.com. Twitter: @bri_lockhart
  • DH Saunders

    Glitter was never really a bad movie. It did however, developed an overblown reputation with the haters as an awful film mostly because everyone who never really did go see it really hated it but those few that did see it didnt really mind it! Yes, most people expected a musical comedy romp,(just like this writer) instead of what it really was –a surprisingly dramatic, thinly veiled- star-is-born style critique on the music industry as it existed in the 1980’s.Not bad for such a low budget and Mariah Carey was just fine for her debut!