Sparkle celebrates the legend and exploits her too

August 21, 2012 – The untimely death of Whitney Houston may be the best thing that happened to the movie “Sparkle”, which hit theaters in wide release last Friday.

I’m not trying to be cruel; Houston was obviously talented and left this world too soon. Whether or not fans cite that Houston’s death is one of the reasons they want to see “Sparkle” is not clear, but I have to believe it will play a role. At the very least, the studio marketing team is quick to remind the general public the role was her last. Ads are plastered in newspapers across the country inviting us to “celebrate the legend”. She may not be the star, but all of the ads feature Houston’s image prominently.

Even in the image above, Houston’s face is the one that stands out most. Poor Jordan Sparks is cut off at the torso.

Of course, Hollywood is no stranger to stars passing before a big release. They have learned to make the best of it because it can add up to big bucks. Heath Ledger died before “The Dark Knight” hit theaters, and that certainly added to the curiosity of movie goers, especially since his role was dark, and it was reported that he had difficulty removing himself from the character after filming was complete. Stars like Clark Gable, Spencer Tracey, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Tupac Shakur, Brandon Lee and many more, have also suffered the same fate.

Despite the film’s reviews – the major critics seemed indifferent, neither loving it or hating it, and the weekend box office earnings totaled a modest $12M – the film is already considered a financial success since it only cost $14M to make.

“Sparkle” is a remake from a 1970’s film of the same name, which starred “Fame’s” Irene Cara in the lead role. While it naturally will be compared to the popular movie “Dreamgirls” – they both focus on Motown’s early days and girl groups – “Dreamgirls” had a more interesting cast, and seems like a better movie because it earned Jennifer Hudson an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, which kick started her acting career. Only time will tell if the same holds true for Jordan Sparks, or if this is her one and only.

The movie tells the story of three sisters trying to make it in the music business during the early days of Motown. The role was an interesting choice for Houston, especially since she plays the mother, the deadliest role for the aging woman in Hollywood. Of course, we all age and there’s nothing wrong with that, or with taking on a role as a mother. Many of us are mothers in real life and are proud of it, including Houston. I didn’t see the movie, so I can’t say whether the role was a juicy one, but there is buzz circulating that it could earn Houston an Oscar nom. If that happens, and I’ll be surprised if it does, I may get the desire to see it.

Here’s the major reason “Sparkle” doesn’t appeal to me. It may not be fair, but every time I think of “Sparkle”, I also think of the Mariah Carey bomb “Glitter”. And that image makes me want to avoid it completely.

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2 thoughts on “Sparkle celebrates the legend and exploits her too

  1. Remember Dan Ackroyd playing the Bad Cinema guy in SLN. He’d clap and say things like “That wasn’t very good, was it?”

    Oh, wait, that was your post from Sunday. Funny how it still applies here.

  2. I do remember that skit, SE. Too funny. I’m not sure I can classify Sparkle in that same category though. It doesn’t look like my cup of tea, but I reserve bad cinema reviews for movies I’ve seen.

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