Crossing the Line – ShowgirlsPosted: August 22, 2008
Change of plans, this week we’ll look at Showgirls! Everyone’s favorite Dutch director, Paul Verhoeven crafted this little gem in 1995. You probably remember the film as the first rated NC-17 film to be shown at your local theatre. You were probably also to young to get in to see it.
Tagline: Leave Your Inhibitions At The Door
Synopsis: Nomi gets duped by a guy that looks like Brian Setzer as she hitchhikes to Vegas, leaving her with no possessions. She befriends the wardrobe designer of a Vegas Showgirls show and lives together with her in a trailer. Nomi is a stripper, but she catches the eye of Cristal Conners, the star of the previously mentioned Showgirls show, who gets Nomi to give the head of the show a lapdance. He of course hires her soon afterwards. Backstabbing, silly dancing, sexual tension, and more backstabbing occur. Nomi sleeps and assaults her way to the head of the show. Her friend is brutally raped by a rock star that she worships, Nomi beats him bloody and leaves Vegas for the city of Angels. Oh, also Nomi used to be a prostitute.
Interesting Fact: The only time actresses complained that they felt uncomfortable was during the scenes with the monkeys, who constantly stared at their bare breasts.
Objectionable material: Nudity, bad dancing, the dumbest depiction of sex I’ve seen yet, interracial coupling!, lesbians, sexual harassment, vomit, gambling, rape, brutal beatings, drug use, menstruation
Disturbing Quote: It must be weird, not having anybody cum on you.
PsychoLarry: Things I learned from Paul Verhoeven’s version of Las Vegas:
-No one spends more than 10 minutes in the Casino
-A stripper who refuses to give lap dances and abuses the patrons is prized, not fired
-It is simple to find anyone in the city even when you have no name or contact information for them
-It requires only one rehearsal to completely memorize and perform a full Vegas show routine
-Show management has no problem with constant tension and outright hatred between the talent, even when it leads to continuous loss of said talent due to bickering related injuries
-By hitting someone’s car, vomiting on them, and constantly throwing temper tantrums you can easily make friends and living together with them immediately for as long as you’d like
-Rich, famous and handsome men often find it more pleasurable to beat and rape casino employees rather than simply have sex with them or the legalized prostitutes available in Vegas
-When said casino employees are raped, they are then turned loose and bloody on the party rather than dealt with discreetly
-Flailing about spastically makes you both the greatest natural dancer ever and fantastic in the sack
-It is easy to drive a Ferrari 90mph down the Las Vegas strip at night
-In Vegas, no one makes fun of a girl named “Gay Carpenter”
-If you look like Michael Ironsides, except with slightly more hair, and you run a Vegas show, sexual harassment is totally cool
Which is the real Michael Ironsides?!
MBRFT: Despite how much money you pump into a soft-core porno film, it still reeks of bad acting, crappy dialogue and a thin premise. You could argue that Verhoeven’s “Showgirls” is an intentional homage to the campy exploitation films of yore, except all of his other films suffer from the same glaring problems (and they are all sci-fi action flicks). I don’t understand why the director needed this much money to recreate a genre of film that thrived on almost non-existent budgets. For the amount of money it took to make this thing, about a dozen semi-talented film school grads could have each made their own film on a moderate budget and statistically one of those would have made more money than “Showgirls.”
But I don’t hate this movie. I own it. It was the best $5.99 I ever spent. Jesse Spano flopping around like a fish as she screws some guy in a pool was surprisingly high on the list of things I wanted to see on DVD. Kudos to Verhoeven or whatever Hollywood big-wig is responsible for convincing Elizabeth Berkley to bury her Bayside Valedictorian image under a plethora of unnecessary nudity and embarrassingly-awful dancing. Berkley’s performance manages to make her character so un-likeable that I was actually cheering for the never-ending string of sleazy men sexually harassing her.
The biggest compliment I can give the film is that it has every right to exist. It’s become culturally iconic as one of the biggest train-wrecks of the nineties. And it proudly stands as one of the few porno films that every pubescent boy can access relatively easily. “Showgirls” has made a man out of many boys and made us look at “Saved by the Bell” a little differently (sometimes wishing Tiffany-Amber Thiessen would follow in her co-star’s footsteps).
However, it wouldn’t be an official “Crossing the Line” film without another over-the-top and irrelevant rape scene. For some reason, Verhoeven and overpaid screen-writer Joe Ezsterhas feel the need to sexually brutalize the only moderately likeable character in the film, so that they can give Nomi a moment of proud and justified female-revenge. This whole side-story comes out of nowhere near the end of the film and stands as a needless aside in a film that isn’t all that focused anyway. The scene is cruel and ruins a lot of the fun. It’s like the obligatory fight that breaks out at a college party. Once it’s over, everything resumes like it never happened. And much like that party, you won’t remember much of “Showgirls,” but you’ll know it happened…and you’ll have an indiscernible stain on the clothes you were wearing.
Screaming Girl: I love the movie Showgirls. I’m not even lying. It’s been my guilty pleasure ever since I saw it once on HBO while I was skipping school in the eleventh grade. Yeah, there is nudity, rape, drug use and down right bad acting. But it really is 128 minutes of family fun. If your family is a frat house full of drunken boys.
Along with Kyle MacLachlan’s awesome hair and Elizabeth Berkley’s new face viewers get to see what it’s really like in the cut throat business of Vegas showgirls. According to the movie this is how to become one:
Step 1: Come into Vegas by hitchhiking with a weird Elvis lookalike and then get robbed by him.
Step 2: Meet a random girl who is very nice to you despite your lack of manners and then move in with her.
Step 3: Get a job at a strip club and thrash around wildly on the dance floor while a random black guy tells you that you can’t dance but that you have to potential to.
Step 4: Meet the lead showgirl who develops a creepy obsession with you and give her boyfriend a lap dance.
Step 5: Push the lead showgirl down the stairs and have sex with her boyfriend (note: more thrashing like a fish out of water when you’re having sex with him in the pool).
Step 6: Get your best friend raped by a musician
Step 7: Beat the musician near death and then realize that Vegas wasn’t really your scene and skip town leaving your best friend in the hospital and without a roommate.
This movie also tells us what would have happened if Zack Morris never interfered with Jesse Spano’s terrifying caffeine pill addiction. Thank God for that golden haired angel named Zack Morris.
Mind Fuckability Scale: Pick yourself up by those 6 inch red leather high heeled boot straps and finally follow that dream of being a stripper without the tips.
– Alright, this time I promise we’ll have Caligula for you next week. You’ll have it if I have to write all 4 responses myself!