Get Out and Vote...For Your Favorite Stupid Pop Star Crossover Movie!

Today we'll be discussing the post-sophomore album crossover attempt: That time in a young pop starlet's life when, not content to be defined by her highly profitable and rapid ascent in the music industry, she makes the decision to move toward a concurrent career in film.

There are variations on this milestone in a pop star's career, of course: Christina Aguilera didn't storm Hollywood with the cinematic masterpiece of a vehicle that was Burlesque until 2010, following the release of her sixth studio record. But for many, finding the perfect vapid marshmallow of a film on which to hitch her hopes of movie stardom is a pivot that comes with a period of self-reinvention, often a public assertion of adulthood.

I bring this up now for a couple reasons: For one, Ariana Grande (who's currently in the middle of promoting her sophomore album) will reprise her role on the Fox slasher-comedy series Scream Queens in an episode that airs tonight, Nov. 3. She's yet to lasso her formidable ponytail around a feature film, but it can' t be too far around the bend.

Two: I will jump at any excuse to discuss the 2002 Britney Spears vehicle Crossroads.

Given that my esteemed colleague Emmanuel Hapsis is of a similar disposition, we thought we'd take this opportunity to revisit some of the most notable pop star crossover movies from the past few decades. Each can be discussed in terms of pros and cons, acting abilities, and more, as well as mined for retrospective signs about where their stars were headed. Is this necessary, you ask? We say: Ssshhh.

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Here's where you, dear readers, have to help us out. We want to honor one of these films with an official liveblogging process. All you have to do is let us know which you'd most like to see.

THE CONTENDERS:

Glitter (2001) 

Mariah Carey's star turn/infamous failure of a movie was released just over a week after 9/11, a fact on which the singer chose to blame the film's abysmal performance at the box office. The plot is semi-autobiographical, following a singer's ascent to fame in The Big City, and various overlapping plot lines featuring business drama and said singer's love life, but to be honest the only thing I really remember from this movie is a scene in which Mariah isn't sure if she wants to sleep with the producer dude, and then he's all "but wait, let me show you my xylophone," and then she does.

Crossroads (2002) 

Okay so I've clearly already showed my cards on this one, but Britney's (only) attempt at crossover stardom is objectively notable for a few reasons: She's a terrible actress, to be sure, a fact made more obvious by her co-conspirators (the now probably wishing-this-had-never-happened actual actresses Zoe Saldana and Taryn Manning), but it's tough to tell if Spears' performance is more or less embarrassing than the script itself; together, they're the cinematic equivalent of the nausea one might feel after eating too many mall food court hot dogs-on-sticks.

Plot points: Britney is a good-girl high school valedictorian (!) who plunks on a bucket hat and takes off on a whirlwind, devil-may-care road trip to California with her childhood best friends. In the process, she realizes she can sing and wear crop tops, learns some things about friendship, and falls in love with the only character in the movie portrayed by a worse actor than her. This movie also gave us perhaps the greatest desert-based adolescent ballad of all time.

A Walk To Remember (2002)

I really can't do this Nicholas Sparks adaptation any more justice than this excerpt from its Wikipedia page. Ahem:

Popular and rebellious teenager Landon Carter (Shane West) is threatened with expulsion from school after he and his friends leave evidence of underage drinking on the school grounds and seriously injure another student as the result of a prank gone wrong. The head of the school gives Landon the choice of being expelled or atoning for his actions by tutoring fellow students and participating in the school play. During these functions, Landon notices Jamie Sullivan (Mandy Moore), a girl he has known since kindergarten and who has attended many of the same classes as him, and who is also the local minister's daughter. Since he's one of the in-crowd, he has seldom paid any attention to Jamie, who wears modest dresses all the time and owns only one sweater.

Classic boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl, then Mandy Moore gets cancer kind of deal. BUMMER ALERT.

Burlesque (2010)

Xtina's mid-career tour de force has much in common with Mariah's, plot-wise: She's a small-town Midwestern girl who just wants to sing. Also dance. But the city is LA instead of New York, and the aesthetic is shot through with a deliciously campy feel, helped along in no small part by the matriarch of cinematic camp herself, a surprisingly willing-to-make-fun-of-herself Cher. Alan Cumming and Stanley Tucci never hurt anything either. As for Aguilera -- I want to say she's a slightly better actress than Spears, her one-time rival and fellow former Mouseketeer, but that's really not saying much. Basically, this is a big-budget, cliche-ridden,  PG-13 version of Showgirls -- but somehow way more entertaining than that sounds?

HERE'S WHERE YOU COME IN:

Find us on Twitter. That's @KQEDpop, duh. Then Tweet us your answers to the following:

1. Which movie deserves a revisit?

  • Glitter
  • Crossroads
  • A Walk To Remember
  • Burlesque

2. How stupid is this, exactly?

  • Pretty stupid
  • Extremely stupid

We'll also count answers left in the comments section, and let you know when we have a winner. Thanks for playing! And remember: All we have is now. And right now we have each other. 

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