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Saturday, June 2, 2012

My 100 Worst Movies of the 90's - 02 - Showgirls (1995)

Showgirls (1995; United Artists)
L - O - L!  Where do I even begin with this one!  Flashdance and Basic Instinct writer Joe Ezterhas reportedly sold this screenplay for two million dollars, which is quite a good bit a coin for a screenplay (No duh!).  Ezterhas teamed up with director Paul Verhoeven (who worked with him on Basic Instinct) once again and we got a wonderful piece of trash called Showgirls.  So, what is Showgirls?  It’s a drama about a girl with a mysterious past who travels to Vegas to become a dancer only to be forced in desperation into the seedy world of exotic dancing.  With no other choice she takes it all off for strangers as she is faced with the dark side of man’s most carnal desires.  So why is this one all the way down at number two?

Boy, oh boy.  This is a special film.  When the movie came out it was instantly struck with the dreaded NC-17 rating, immediately damning it to movie oblivion as it was banned from most theatres.  That was the first of many strikes against this film.  Those who saw this movie would find that it would be one of the most surreal experiences of the 90’s.  A lot of this strangeness comes from the film’s insane screenplay.  Though it sold for a great deal of money, it has some of the most unintentionally funny dialogue of the 90’s, but that doesn’t save this one from my wrath.

The messy plot follows Nomi Malone (Elizabeth Berkley) who, as mentioned, travels to Vegas to become a dancer.  Upon arriving she befriends a girl who is a dancer in a popular show while working as a lapdancer.  She then meets, through a client, a dancer at a major show who gets her a shot in one of the biggest shows in Vegas.  She works her way up the ladder, manipulating and selling her soul in the process, practically becoming the villain of the story.  There are other plot points, including one involving a man that comes in and out of her life who apparently teaches her how to dance or.. something.  And the the film climaxes when Nomi’s mysterious past comes out of nowhere to haunt her.

This is a sloppy, sloppy mess of a movie.  I’m not sure what happened here.  I would like to think that a producer did not read the screenplay as it was here and pay Eszterhas 2 mil for it.  This film does, admittedly, have a lot of studio-stink on it.  This is not uncommon but here it is so bad that it justifies me putting this movie below Batman and Robin.  BELOW BATMAN AND ROBIN!  Still, this movie has a huge cult following.  Like the Room from 2003 (which I, personally love) and my number 3, Troll 2, this one has adoring fans.  Not because they think it’s good, but because they think it’s so terrible it’s an enjoyable mess.  I, however, find this to be the un-sexiest sex film of all time.  Elizabeth Berkley looks strung out through much of the film, the supporting cast mumbles through their lines or overacts in each scene and some of the more famous funny moments are pretty hilarious, but they don’t really make this one worth stomaching, at least not for me.  

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