Now that Elizabeth Berkley has fully embraced the magnificence that is Showgirls it seems a perfect time to rewatch the camp classic once again!
Few movies can be quite so treasured despite being named one of the worst movies of all time, but Paul Verhoeven’s 1995 masterpiece Showgirl achieves just that.
The story follows Nomi Malone (Elizabeth Berkley), who hitches her way to Las Vegas with just a switchblade, and a dream. Her dream? To become a featured dancer in the cities most prestigious of topless shows in a casino. You aim for the stars Nomi!
While following her dreams Nomi encounters a few small speed bumps such as being robbed, left homeless, selling herself for sex, used by me and women, and brutally attacking a guy or two – the usual.
Upon its initial release, the movie bombed at the box office and was universally panned by critics and viewers alike. Between the inane plot, terrible acting, poor screenplay, and copious amounts of full frontal nudity, it became the joke of cinema in ’95.
Bizarrely upon its home video release, the film saw mass amounts of success, sky-rocketing to become one of MGM’s top 20 best-selling videos of all time. While nobody could quite understand the popularity spike at the time, it was due to the so bad, its brilliant phenomenon that meant youngsters at the time would view with friends in a ironic manner as a cult comedy.
The ultra-campness of the ordeal meant it became one of the gay communities new classics alongside terribly enjoyable movies such as Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? and Death Becomes Her. At its core the movie is about an outsider, who is looked down upon, bettering themselves and overcoming adversity by any means necessary; a sentiment that gay men can relate to.
Full of ridiculously overdramatic moments, and ludicrous phrases that took on a life of their own, the film had many references that were taken on by its gay audience who appreciated the outrageous humour behind it all. While it is no emotionally captivating, thought-inducer it is a flick that you can’t watch without bursting out laughing in pure shock and amusement.
Sadly due to Hollywood sexism, the movie killed any chance of a career Berkley had as she was publicly humiliated by the media, and untouched again by Hollywood agents due to the notion of her aggressively trying to shed her childhood acting past that amounted to ‘softcore pornography’. A true martyr for her art.
Our Verdict Is: This movie is everything! If you’re a fan of camp, or even if not so much. This movie is not just bad, but so unbelievably awful that it becomes one of the most enjoyable viewings you will have. Almost every scene is iconic and memorable for some reason or another. Even if you don’t get to watch, at least check out the mind-boggling pool scene!