Reel Toronto: Mariah Carey in...Glitter
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Reel Toronto: Mariah Carey in…Glitter

Toronto’s extensive work on the silver screen reveals that, while we have the chameleonic ability to look like anywhere from New York City to Moscow, the disguise doesn’t always hold up to scrutiny. Reel Toronto revels in digging up and displaying the films that attempt to mask, hide, or—in rare cases—proudly display our city.
The Bible asks, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” and that question has been extrapolated to form the basis of all sorts of great art, from the legend of Faust onwards. But whoever wrote the Gospels could never have imagined the horror that is Glitter.
Since there is a consensus that Mariah Carey’s pre-breakdown vanity project is one of the worst movies ever made, you can rest assured that it’s far worse than even the usual tripe to which we are subjected. According to the folks at Rotten Tomatoes, Glitter is the second-worst reviewed movie in recent history, barely edging out Cheaper by the Dozen 2, another Toronto-shot film that somehow managed to impress seven per cent of critics. Good for you, Kevin Thomas of the LA Times! Don’t be part of the crowd!

Glitter is about this New York singer who wants to be a big star but must make all sorts of sacrifices to get there. This is the kind of plot that Hollywood people call “high concept” and that Mariah Carey might call “less than a stretch” or “a chance to show my boobs a lot.”
Director Vondie Curtis-Hall (hey, he was on Chicago Hope!) thinks he can throw in a bunch of interminable, hyper montages of New York (primarily using stock helicopter shots) and you won’t notice that Mariah and co. just didn’t have enough bank to shoot their flick without our tax credits.
Not surprisingly, Glitter contains all sorts of never-ending scenes of dancing and singing. Venues that will never be able to erase the stain of having hosted the film shoot include The Opera House
…which you can also recognize from the balcony…
…and what we believe to be the Phoenix Concert Theatre.
The film opens with a flashback, set at The Silver Dollar.
Hey, what the hell is that girl on the left wearing??!! Never mind…that’s outside Reel Toronto’s mandate. Where were we?
Right, so as Mariah starts getting bigger she moves from clubs to theatres, like Mississauga’s Living Arts Centre, seen looking at…
…and away from the stage.
The exterior, however, is the Sony Centre, or whatever they were calling it 10 years ago. For all we know that might have been the name for a few weeks.
Getting more famous means hanging out in fancier places, so Mariah dines at Monsoon…
…and is feted at the Capitol Event Theatre. Don’t even get us started on her DJ boyfriend, there. That dude barely wears a shirt and his infuriating personality comes through even when you watch the movie on mute. His name? Dice. What does his necklace spell out? Dice. You get the idea.
You also get to ride in limos, apparently down University Avenue. You can see this Staples store out Mariah’s window…
…and a bit more of the street, in this reverse shot.
And when she finally becomes the Big Star you hoped and dreamed she would, she knocks ’em dead, at Copps Coliseum.
You can see some of the distinctive orange and yellow seats here.
Just in case you really hate Mike Harris and wanted to find just one more thing for which to blame him, we give you concrete evidence that he actively participated in all this. Mel Lastman too.
This is one car crash we assure you that you can look away from and you can read a far more in-depth evisceration from the Onion AV Club‘s Nathan Rabin.
Carey snagged Worst Actress honours at The Razzies and the multi-nominated film would have done better if it hadn’t come out the same year as Freddie Got Fingered. (Also nominated that year was Sly Stallone’s Driven.) All in all, a proud year for Toronto and Canada.
In fairness to Mariah, the film came out the same week as 9/11 (the soundtrack actually came out that very day), so surely Osama Bin Laden has some share of the burden to bear for Glitter not getting a fair shake. We endured it and you can too. If you don’t even try, you’re letting the terrorists win!