||[Oct. 21st, 2009|05:13 pm]
Dir. Paul Verhoeven
First off: Elizabeth Berkley as Nomi Malone in Showgirls sort of reminds me of my ex-girlfriend in all the wrong ways. So I might be biased.
With this in mind- If there is any justice in the universe, the deepest, darkest pit of hell is reserved for anyone and everyone who had anything to do with this film. I don't give a shit if Verhoeven also directed Robocop, and I don't care if this movie had a whole lot of female nudity. The only thing that could give me joy at this moment is knowing that everyone involved with the the making of this fucking thing is suffering in eternal torment. This movie is so deplorable I could taste it. Watching this was like trying to defecate with a bad hemorrhoid when you've been eating nothing but almonds. Your brain screams 'Please let this be over soon!'
And it's over two Goddamned hours long.
Sometimes, the premise of a film is so absurd, that have a hard time imagining what the pitch meeting went like. For example, for Showgirls, somebody had to sell Hollywood execs. on a film about a woman who moves to Las Vegas to be an exotic dancer, and is then shocked and appalled to discover that the job is sleazy and demeaning.
No seriously. That's the plot of the movie.
Perhaps there's a scene that was left on the cutting room floor, where a wide eyed Nomi Malone hears about Vegas for the first time, from someone she she doesn't realize has just suffered a concussion. Perhaps the scene goes like this:
Concussion Person: Yeah, and in Las Vegas, nobody is trying to make a quick buck or get into anyone's pants. When you get paid to dance naked in Vegas, the people who you work with are polite and professional asexual men and women, who will probably just give you a starring role, because they're just that friendly.
Nomi: Well, normally I'd be skeptical, but you've always been a sane and rational person, so I guess I'll have to believe you.
Concussion Person: Also, the restaurants in Vegas have Darth Vader himself come to the table and poop a live stork onto your plate, just to be friendly.
If you know one thing about exotic dancing, it's that if you want to make it in the business, you're probably going to have to sleep with your boss. If you know one thing about Las Vegas, it's that the town prides itself on being more fun than it is ethical. Does that sound like a good combo?
Okay, I've hammered on the stupidity of the plot enough for one day. I guess I should say something more about this hunk of crap.
As previously stated, Nomi Malone is hitching a ride to Vegas, where she plans to make it big as an exotic dancer. She catches a ride with the handsome and friendly Jeff (Dewey Weber) who turns out to be perhaps the most misguided thief on earth. Jeff gives Nomi a handful of quarters and encourages her to kill some time on the slot machines while he meets with someone. She leaves her suitcase in the truck and he abandons her at the casino with it.
If you're reading this, and you're considering a life of crime, know that this method of theft is foolhardy as it is cruel. First off, he gives her money, in the form of quarters for her to gamble with. Usually the goal of a theft is to not give the person who your stealing from money. Secondly, she's a woman with all her personal possessions in a suitcase, hitching a ride to Sin City, where she hopes to land a job in a field that's generally considered a disgrace to everyone involved. Whatever's in that suitcase, it's not gold bricks. Perhaps Jeff is a transvestite who hopes to score a slew of woman's unmentionables to fuel his hobby. At any rate, his decision to screw over Nomi and leave her stranded is only a three minute segment of a movie that's over two hours long.
Nomi understandably flips out, and in the process meets irrationally kindhearted (especially considering that we now know that Vegas is the kind of town where they steal your suitcase for no reason) Molly Abrams (Gina Ravera) who by the end of the film is the only likable character. Molly offers Nomi a place to stay until she can get back on her feet.
Six weeks later, Nomi is dancing at the infamously sleazy Cheetah's Club. Molly, who works as a makeup artist for the Stardust Resort & Casino (apparently these places really exist) invites Nomi to tag along one day, where she meets the Stardust's star performer, Cristal Conners (Gina Gershon). Cristal, perhaps sensing that Nomi is a threat, makes catty attempts to put Nomi in her place, and this will continue throughout the film.
Zack Carey (Kyle MacLachlan) is Cristal's loverboy, and as soon as he meets Nomi, a sexual tension, exasperated by her tiff with Cristal, builds. Nomi's other suitor, James Smith (Glen Plummer) spends most of his time trying to develop something genuine with Nomi, but on the dance floor and off, but his skirt chasing ways get the best of him.
Spoiler alert! Like you give a shit.
In the end, Nomi finds that everything and everybody in the Las Vegas exotic dancing industry is shallow and cutthroat, save her best friend Molly, who never succumbs to the attitude of Vegas, and is thus victimized by it. Nomi takes her leave of Vegas and ventures off into the great unknown. The end.
One of the things that I find some damningly unpleasant about this film, is that nothing seems to have any sort of effect on the plot or characters in the film. Throughout the film, Nomi is secretive about her past, and when that past is exposed to boyfriend Zack, his reaction at best reaffirms what she already knew about him. In the end, Nomi supposedly has an epiphany, but it's unclear at best what exactly she's learned from her time in Vegas, and how her life has suddenly improved. It's like gnawing on a bone for two hours and being told you're eating a fine steak. It's like being sold a bag of oregano and being told it's pot. It's like masturbating and being told you're getting some. In the end, you can't just tell me a movie has something important to say, you show me that your movie has something important to say, by saying it in the movie.
Sometimes I wonder about my labedo, when a movie like Showgirls can't redeem itself in my eyes by the amount of skin it shows, but that just goes to show you, when you're directing a movie, you always have to ask yourself, 'If my audience is asexual, will they still enjoy it?'