I’ve never seen Showgirls and never intend to (I’m too much the religious prude for that) but I have to comment on the last line of your excerpt:
I never, ever cheered for Scarlett O’Hara. It is because of her personality, and the fact that the viewer is for reasons lost to me expected to view her as a sympathetic character, that I am completely unable to enjoy “Gone With the Wind,” “classic” though it may be.
" nearly every American critic howled in a Victorian rage."
As opposed to the audiences–they’ve howled with derisive laughter ever since its release, making Showgirls a cult classic!
Those who can’t get enough of Showgirls will be happy to know a Showgirls Special Edition DVD will be released this summer.
Let’s not forget, this is a Salon.com article for chrissakes. Not exactly Pulitzer-worthy stuff.
I haven’t seen the movie largely because Elizabeth Berkley has never compelled me much to waste an hour or two of my life on something she stars in. I’d rather waste it with something like cooking a good dinner, watching Bill Shatner sing “Rocket Man” once through, or browsing the SDMB.
There’s always a reappraisal.
The greater the consensus is one any subject, the greater the temptation becomes for some people to demonstrate their independance by opposing the consensus. So bad works of art will always attract some glowing reviews and great works of art will always attract some scathing reviews.
Trust me, as we speak, someone is writing about Gigli is a misunderstood masterpiece.
As a result of one of the countless arguments / discussions about Showgirls from the boards, I recently rewatched the movie with an eye towards seeing it in a new critical light. I’m sorry, I still don’t see it. It’s still a crappy movie that is just not very entertaining. And this is coming from someone who loves Buckaroo Banzai, so I can be very entertained by bad movies. Hell, I even like Total Recall and Robocop, so it’s not like I don’t enjoy Verrhoven. All the titties in the world can’t save it.
The nominees are
Sense and Sensibility
and the winner is …
I knew there’d be a thread as soon as I saw that article…
Apologists for Showgirls always try too hard to convince the masses. It’s like they know they have a bum product but if they pepper up the pitch enough people will start to buy it.
And Buckaroo Banzai is not a bad movie.
I watched the movie when I was going through puberty; fascinated by anything the slightest bit risque; and still a huge Saved by the Bell fan. Despite all that, I still thought it sucked and didn’t even bother rewinding it afterwards to … use it for other purposes.
This is one time I wholeheartedly agree with the masses. *Showgirls * has no appeal whatsoever.
Like I said; it’s only beginning. The rest of you will come around someday. Perhaps not today, perhaps not tomorrow. But I was right about this reappraisal, and I’ll be right about this: just like Hitchcock and Sirk, who were viewed as hollywood hacks in their day, Verhoeven will one day be acknowledged as the master filmmaker he is.
I hope some of you read the whole article, and that you go on to rewatch the movie with an open mind, and not just with the preconceived intention of proving him (and me, and Cervaise, and Jonathan Rosenbaum, and** Jaques Rivette**), wrong.
(I don’t usually like to drop names in a situation like this; when writing as a “critic” I try to take responsibility for my own opinions. But this is a special case, and Cervaise and Rosenbaum are usually afforded more respect around here than I am – deservedly so.)
Nope, he’ll be remembered as the hack he is, and his films, if they are remembered at all, will be remembered as the worthless, tasteless pieces of shit they are.
Look, lissener, I agree that Showgirls is really a parody, that the director deliberately chose bad actors to make a point, the sex was intentionally unsexy, the plot deliberately ridiculous, etc. And I agree that the film has a layer beyond the surface layer.
But I don’t agree that the presence of that second layer makes the movie any good. It’s still terrible. And it doesn’t make me respect Verhoeven more. In some ways a talentless hack who churns out T&A movies in order to make a buck has more integrity and more heart than a soul-less misanthropist who deliberately makes bad movies in order to make a point.
The fact is, there are plenty of bad movies. We don’t need any intentionally bad movies to point out the awful state of the movie business. The best way to criticize a bad movie is to make a good movie.
Fine; more for me.
FWIW, Rik, I was once right there with you, but then I sat down and worked my way through all his movies again (he’s the only director, so far, whose complete oeuvre I own on DVD), and the themes gelled.
All valid points. But personally, I’m glad there are BOTH kinds of movies.
As we speak? Try 8 months ago. (Okay, maybe he doesn’t claim it’s a masterpiece, but someone successfully avoided groupthink. Release the hounds.)
Ooo! Ooo! I know! This is a trick question! Because when you’re offering an opinion, the worst it can be is poorly thought out, not wrong, right? So it’s futile to try and tell someone that their opinion of a movie is wrong, right? Because it’s not true? By its nature…?
One of these days there will be a thread arguing about whether that drawing is really two faces or one vase. And someone will claim that because both images were clearly intended by the artist, it’s a brilliant work. And someone else will claim that there’s no way the artist really intended that, because it’s obviously the work of a hack, and anyway those aren’t even good faces, any competant draftsman could produce better profiles than those.
Count me on enjoying this movie.
Saw it in the theater way back when and remember really enjoying it as, surprisingly, did my then, puritanical, girlfriend.
I certainly wouldn’t call it a great film, but is is a guilty pleasure.
Been wanting to rent this again for years, but never got around to it. Partially due to the fact that Blockbuster only carries a watered down R-rated version of the film- and I’ll be damned if I’m going to watch it minus it’s most redeeming qualities.
Did see a short clip of it on VH1, of all places (in its most ridiculously censored form) and found myself wincing at the dialogue.
Guess I’ll have to give it a video re-watch and see how it holds up.
I liked Robocop, and Total Recall and Hollow Man were good popcorn flicks. I thought Starship Troopers was a brilliant spoof on authoritarian societies, war movies, and propaganda films. (I went to see it on the big screen with a friend; on the way out we were joking about having just seen a propaganda film that had somehow crossed over from a parallel universe.)
But Showgirls was such a piece of crap.
lissener, I’m not at all sure that Verhoeven is going to be remembered as the genius you think he is. But even if he is, he’s still entitled to a lousy movie or two.
“But I don’t agree that the presence of that second layer makes the movie any good. It’s still terrible. And it doesn’t make me respect Verhoeven more. In some ways a talentless hack who churns out T&A movies in order to make a buck has more integrity and more heart than a soul-less misanthropist who deliberately makes bad movies in order to make a point.”
Well said, Lemur! My feelings exactly.
Though this applies not just to Verhoeven: it also applies to the screenwriter, cynical hackmeister and sleazemonger Joe Eszterhas (who also penned Basic Instinct, Sliver, Jade … and Flashdance! … and the crappy “satire” of crappy Hollywood filmmaking, Burn Hollywood Burn! An Alan Smithee Film, which served as a fitting capstone/tombstone for his Hollywood career.)
My fervent wish is that, while you were typing this, you were twirling your moustache…
I conceded way back in the thread I started on Showgirls about a month ago that it was better upon thinking about it a little than I initially gave it credit for. So I hope, come the revolution, I will be stood up against the wall and merely wounded.
I was twirling my mustache inside, where it counts.