Glitter (film)

Glitter (film)

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Glitter is a 2001 film starring R&B
Contemporary R&B
Contemporary R&B is a music genre that combines elements of hip hop, soul, R&B and funk.Although the abbreviation “R&B” originates from traditional rhythm and blues music, today the term R&B is most often used to describe a style of African American music originating after the demise of disco in...

 singer, songwriter Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, and actress. She made her recording debut with the release of her eponymous studio album in 1990, under the guidance of Columbia Records executive Tommy Mottola, whom she later married in 1993...

. It was produced by 20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation — also known as 20th Century Fox, or simply 20th or Fox — is one of the six major American film studios...

 and Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. is an American film production and distribution company. Columbia Pictures now forms part of the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment, a subsidiary of the Japanese conglomerate Sony. It is one of the leading film companies...

 and directed by Vondie Curtis-Hall
Vondie Curtis-Hall
Vondie Curtis-Hall is an American actor and film director.As an actor, he is best known for his role as Dr. Dennis Hancock on the CBS medical drama Chicago Hope created by David E. Kelley.-Early life:...

. It centers on the life and times of a struggling singer from the early club music scene in the 1980s.


Carey has said about the film, "It's in the early '80s, in the club scene of that time. I play a singer, Billie, who's black, from a white father and a black mother. Billie grows up in a foster home, because her mother abandoned her. Later on she meets a DJ and becomes a star in just one night. The point is, that all this time she waits for her mother to return. As you can see, this is far away from my reality, because I couldn't have a closer relationship with my own mother. When she's not with me, she calls like every five minutes."


Lillian, the mother of Billie, is a performer at a nightclub. Lillian tries to rouse the crowd with her torch song, "Lillie's Blues," with Billie accompanying her on vocals. The ploy fails and Lillian is fired. After asking her ex-lover (Billie's father) for money, a defeated Lillian falls asleep while smoking a cigarette and accidentally starts a fire, causing the building to be evacuated. Due to her mother's actions, Billie is fostered. Lillian promises she will regain custody but never does. Billie's father is not in the picture.

Years later, the adult Billie is a club dancer along with her foster-care friends Louise and Roxanne. They meet Timothy Walker, who offers a contract as backup singers/dancers to the singer Sylk. Initially, Billie refuses, hoping to achieve stardom on her own terms. After pestering from her friends, Billie relents and the three are contracted. They record the hit single, "All My Life" but Sylk's vocal is sub-standard. To maximize sales based on the sex appeal of Sylk, Timothy asks Billie to sing while Sylk lip-syncs.

Later at a nightclub – DJ'd by Julian "Dice" Black – Sylk debuts "All My Life." Dice, knowing that Sylk is an indifferent singer, is shocked but goes backstage to congratulate her. Sylk insults her backing singers in front of a photographer and Billie, not wanting to take the verbal abuse, exposes Sylk by singing "All My Life" a cappella
A cappella
A cappella music is specifically solo or group singing without instrumental sound, or a piece intended to be performed in this way. It is the opposite of cantata, which is accompanied singing. A cappella was originally intended to differentiate between Renaissance polyphony and Baroque concertato...

 in front of Dice. Impressed, he wishes to produce her but Billie turns him down. When she relents, she raises concerns about her contract with Timothy. Dice threatens to not play any more artists from Timothy in his nightclub unless Timothy surrenders Billie and friends' contacts. Timothy eventually agrees on the provision that Dice pays him $100,000.

Billie and Dice start working on songs: the first being the hit underground single, "Didn't Mean to Turn You On." Dice advises Billie to play off record companies to secure a bigger deal. Ultimately they sign with Guy Richardson of a major record label. With success in their hands, Dice asks Billie to dinner. Later, he asks her up to his apartment and they sleep together.

Billie's first major single, "Loverboy
Loverboy (Mariah Carey song)
"Loverboy" is a song by American singer-songwriter Mariah Carey. It was released on July 16, 2001 by Virgin Records as the lead single from Carey's eighth studio album, Glitter . Written and produced by Carey, Larry Blackmon, Thomas Jenkins, Clark Kent, "Loverboy" is built around a sample from...

" is a success. The music video
Music video
A music video or song video is a short film integrating a song and imagery, produced for promotional or artistic purposes. Modern music videos are primarily made and used as a marketing device intended to promote the sale of music recordings...

 originally features Billie, Louise, and Roxanne. However, the director, dissatisfied with the results, orders Billie to wear more revealing clothing and replaces Louise and Roxanne with professional semi-nude male dancers. When the male dancers are then ordered to dance closely to Billie, this frightens her. Dice intervenes on her behalf, and they leave the set before the music video can be finished.

Dice is denied permission to produce songs on Billie's debt, including "Reflections
Reflections (Care Enough)
"Reflections " is a song written and produced by American singer Mariah Carey and Philippe Pierre for Carey's eighth studio album, Glitter. The ballad has Carey, in character as Billie Frank in the film Glitter, reflecting on how her mother didn't "care enough" for her...

," which Billie wrote about her mother. Billie is called to perform at the USA Music Awards, where she meets singer/songwriter Rafael. Later at the party, they meet again, and Rafael suggests they write a song. Dice orders Billie and her friends to leave, accusing Rafael of sexual advances towards Billie. Louise and Roxanne give Billie an ultimatum: them or Dice, but leave before she can choose. Billie later cries but is comforted by Dice as she laments "If you didn't believe in me, none of this would have ever happened."

The reconciliation is short-lived as Billie gets a threat from Timothy concerning the debt that Dice failed to pay. Billie tells Dice that Timothy was at their apartment about his debt and her contract. She is confused because she thought he had handled her contract properly. She admits to Dice that Timothy threatened her and Dice, in a rage, puts Timothy in the hospital. In the middle of the beating, Dice is arrested, causing Billie to leave her appearance on Late Night Live, to bail him out. Billie, upset about how Dice lied about her contract and his arrest, argues with and ends up leaving him. With nowhere to go, she goes back to live with Roxanne and Louise.

Billie tries to deal with the pain by creating the single "Want You," with Rafael, which is a hit, but her emotional pain leads her to solo songwriting. Dice also misses Billie, and also begins writing a song. Billie goes to Dice's apartment in an attempt to reconcile. He's not home, but the music he has written is and Billie realizes they wrote the same song: "Never Too Far
Never Too Far
"Never Too Far" is a song written and produced by American singer Mariah Carey, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis for Carey's tenth album/soundtrack, Glitter. The protagonist of this ballad states that although physical distance can sometimes separate lovers, the love they share will never be too far apart...

." She kisses the sheet music, leaving a lipstick imprint, which Dice later discovers.

Dice plans a reconciliation but is shot dead by Timothy. Billie's management and support crew see a report of the murder on television. They wonder if Billie was with him, they see that she is there and has seen the report. Billie onstage commands the band to stop playing "Loverboy," tells the crowd never to take someone for granted, and that if you love them, you should tell them, because you might never have the chance to tell them how you really feel. She then starts to sing "Never Too Far."

Afterwords Billie reads a note Dice had left her, where he tells of his love for her, his plan to see her perform and that he has found Billie's mother. Billie's limo takes her to the secluded rural property where she is united with her mother once again.


  • Mariah Carey
    Mariah Carey
    Mariah Carey is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, and actress. She made her recording debut with the release of her eponymous studio album in 1990, under the guidance of Columbia Records executive Tommy Mottola, whom she later married in 1993...

     as Billie Frank
  • Max Beesley
    Max Beesley
    Maxton Gig Beesley Jr. , known simply as Max Beesley, is an English actor and musician.Beesley rose to fame for his role of Andy Simpson in Every Woman, Every Man from 1993 to 1998, and has since appeared in a variety of television shows including Bodies, Hotel Babylon, London Ink, Survivors and...

     as Julian "Dice" Blac
  • Terrence Howard
    Terrence Howard
    Terrence Dashon Howard is an American actor. Having his first major role in the 1995 film Mr. Holland's Opus, which subsequently led to a number of roles in films and high visibility among African American audiences. Howard broke into the mainstream with a succession of well-reviewed television...

     as Timothy Walker
  • Valarie Pettiford
    Valarie Pettiford
    Valarie Pettiford is an American stage and television actress, dancer, and jazz singer. She received a Tony nomination for her role in the broadway production Fosse. She is also known for her role as "Big Dee Dee" Thorne on the UPN sitcom Half & Half.-Stage:Pettiford began her career as a dancer...

     as Lillian Frank
  • Ann Magnuson
    Ann Magnuson
    Ann Magnuson is an American actress, performance artist, and nightclub performer who first gained prominence in the 1985 film Desperately Seeking Susan...

     as Kelly
  • Dorian Harewood
    Dorian Harewood
    W. Dorian Harewood is an American actor. He first garnered attention for his portrayal of Simon Haley in the ABC miniseries Roots: The Next Generations.-Career:...

     as Guy Richardson
  • Grant Nickalls as Jack Bridges
  • Da Brat
    Da Brat
    Shawntae Harris , better known as Da Brat, is an American rapper and actress. Her debut album, Funkdafied, sold one million copies, making her the first female rapper to have a platinum-selling album.-Early life:...

     as Louise
  • Kate Stebbins as Rachelle
  • Tia Texada
    Tia Texada
    Tia Texada is an American actress and singer. She is probably best known for portraying the role of Sgt. Maritza Cruz from the American television show Third Watch and for her role as Shay on ABC Family's Huge.Texada was born in Louisiana to a reflexologist mother and an insurance agent father...

     as Roxanne
  • Eric Benét
    Eric Benét
    Eric Benét, is an American singer. His duet with Tamia, "Spend My Life With You" was a number one song for three weeks on the US Billboard R&B chart and was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2000....

     as Rafael
  • Padma Lakshmi
    Padma Lakshmi
    Padma Parvati Lakshmi also Padma, Lady Rushdie is an American cookbook author, actress, model and television host. She has been the host of the US reality television program Top Chef since season two in 2006, for which she received a nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Host for...

     as Sylk
  • Isabel Gomes as Young Billie Frank
  • Courtnie Beceiro as Young Roxanne
  • Kim Roberts as Miss Wilson
  • Lindsey Pickering as Young Louise
  • Bill Sage
    Bill Sage
    William "Bill" Sage III is an American actor and alumnus of State University of New York at Purchase.- Filmography :* Simple Men ... as Dennis McCabe* Flirt ... as Bill...

     as Billie's father


Glitter received negative reviews from critics, and was also a commercial failure. In the United States, it was released in 1,196 theaters and was the eleventh highest-grossing film over its opening weekend, taking in just $2,414,596. It was originally scheduled to open over Labor Day
Labor Day
Labor Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September that celebrates the economic and social contributions of workers.-History:...

 weekend, but the film was pushed back three weeks when Carey was admitted to a hospital for what she stated was extreme exhaustion. The film eventually grossed just $5 million worldwide.

Carey stated in 2002, "It (referring to Glitter) started out as a concept with substance, but it ended up being geared to 10-year-olds." The film was panned by critics, and many labeled it as one of the worst films of all time. The Village Voice
The Village Voice
The Village Voice is a free weekly newspaper and news and features website in New York City that features investigative articles, analysis of current affairs and culture, arts and music coverage, and events listings for New York City...

proclaimed, "For her part, Carey seems most concerned about keeping her lips tightly sealed like a kid with braces, and when she tries for an emotion —any emotion— she looks as if she's lost her car keys." Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert
Roger Joseph Ebert is an American film critic and screenwriter. He is the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.Ebert is known for his film review column and for the television programs Sneak Previews, At the Movies with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, and Siskel and Ebert and The...

 spoke relatively well of Carey's individual performance saying, "Her acting ranges from dutiful flirtatiousness to intense sincerity...." However, he ended with, "and above all, the film is lacking in joy. It never seems like it's fun to be Billie Frank."

At the 22nd Golden Raspberry Awards, the film received six nominations including Worst Picture and Worst Screen Couple for Mariah Carey's cleavage, and one win, for Carey who received the Razzie for Worst Actress. The accompanying soundtrack, Glitter
Glitter (Mariah Carey album)
Glitter is the soundtrack album to the film of the same name, and the eighth studio album by American singer-songwriter Mariah Carey, released on September 11, 2001 by Virgin Records. The album was a complete musical departure from any of Carey's previous releases, focusing heavily on...

, became Carey's worst showing on the charts. The first single, "Loverboy", peaked at number two on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, but that was only after Virgin Records
Virgin Records
Virgin Records is a British record label founded by English entrepreneur Richard Branson, Simon Draper, and Nik Powell in 1972. The company grew to be a worldwide music phenomenon, with platinum performers such as Roy Orbison, Devo, Genesis, Keith Richards, Janet Jackson, Culture Club, Lenny...

 spurred sales of the struggling single by dropping the price down to an unheard of 99 cents. The two follow-up singles did not crack the US Hot 100 at all. The album itself struggled to reach gold certification, but since its 2001 release has been certified platinum. Virgin Records dropped Carey from the label due to the poor sales of the album and canceled their $80 million contract with her.

Furthermore, 20th Century Fox decided not to release the film on DVD in the USA, giving up their rights to the international distributors, Columbia Pictures.

In an interview in 2010, Mariah Carey stated that she believed that the film's flop at the box office was largely due to the soundtrack's release date being 11 September 2001 – the same day as the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center
World Trade Center
The original World Trade Center was a complex with seven buildings featuring landmark twin towers in Lower Manhattan, New York City, United States. The complex opened on April 4, 1973, and was destroyed in 2001 during the September 11 attacks. The site is currently being rebuilt with five new...

 and The Pentagon
The Pentagon
The Pentagon is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense, located in Arlington County, Virginia. As a symbol of the U.S. military, "the Pentagon" is often used metonymically to refer to the Department of Defense rather than the building itself.Designed by the American architect...

. The film also suffered a probable loss of promotional opportunities in the week and a half leading to the film's release due to pre-emption of most American entertainment media shows due to sustaining coverage of the aftermath of the attacks. However, what Carey did not address was that a motion picture and its soundtrack are not adjoined and can be independently successful of each other; and furthermore all musical acts on the charts at that time would have had to contend with the terrorist attacks as well, but other musical acts still had impressive sales that week. This similar thing happened to Christina Milian
Christina Milian
Christine Flores , better known by her stage name Christina Milian , is an American singer-songwriter, actress, dancer, and model....

; Def Soul wanted her to release her self titled album in the U.S., but it was during the attacks and she declined the release.

Jeff Shannon of, Inc. is a multinational electronic commerce company headquartered in Seattle, Washington, United States. It is the world's largest online retailer. Amazon has separate websites for the following countries: United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, and...

gave the film a positive review: "Despite box-office failure and the highly publicized fatigue of its star at the time of its fall 2001 release, Glitter is a surprisingly effective vehicle for pop diva Mariah Carey, who will delight her many fans in her appealing screen debut. The standard rags-to-riches plot unfolds with the predictability of falling dominoes, but there's simple, infectious charm in Carey's portrayal of Billie Frank, an urban thrush who's discovered by ace club DJ Dice (Max Beesley) and rises to stadium-filling stardom in the post-disco New York of 1983. One hoary subplot works (Billie's quest for her long-lost mother) and another doesn't (Dice's debt to a threatening rival), while Carey plays a variant of herself with a gentle blend of vulnerability and good-girl fortitude. With a bright supporting cast and a stellar soundtrack, this movie didn't deserve the bad rap it got, and like her determined yet delicate character, Carey emerges unscathed despite considerable odds against her."