"Thrust it! Thrust it!”
Before the sequins and controversy hit the screen, Showgirls was a script that sparked excitement for its bold take on the glitz and grunge of Las Vegas life. Helmed by Paul Verhoeven and penned by Joe Eszterhas, the duo behind the provocative hit Basic Instinct, expectations were high for this journey into the world of Vegas showgirls. Yet, the resulting film would divide audiences and critics, becoming a cult classic for some and a cautionary tale of excess for others. The backdrop was set for a film that would be discussed and dissected for years to come. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue the 1995 Golden Raspberry Awards Worst Director Nominees series with a conversation about Showgirls.
Here’s a hint at what we talk about.
In this deep dive, Pete and Andy explore the contentious legacy of Showgirls, a film that’s danced its way into infamy. They discuss the film’s place in the 1995 Golden Raspberry Awards as a Worst Director Nominee, debating whether the film’s over-the-top style was a misguided misstep or a misunderstood stroke of satirical genius. The hosts don’t always see eye-to-eye, revealing a schism in their takes on the film’s execution and its thematic intentions. They ponder whether Elizabeth Berkley’s performance as Nomi was intentionally exaggerated to serve the film’s satirical edge or if it was a misdirection that led to its critical panning. As part of their series on the Razzies, they delve into the broader conversation about what the nomination means for Showgirls and its place in cinematic history.
Here are a few other points in our discussion.
- The Dickensian description of the film by some and the evolving public opinion over time
- The comparison of Verhoeven’s direction in Showgirls to his work in RoboCop and other films
- The potential allegory of Hollywood and selling out as interpreted by Jonathan Rosenbaum
- The contrasting performances, particularly Berkley’s and Gina Gershon’s, and their impact on the film’s tone
- The undercurrents of power and gender dynamics within the narrative
- Our personal reactions to the comedic elements and whether they hit the mark or fell flat
As we peel back the layers of this high-kicking, high-stakes drama, we find a film that’s as polarizing as it is fascinating. Despite its Razzie nods and the debates it sparks, Showgirls remains an electrifying topic of discussion for cinephiles and critics alike. Whether you view it as a glittering satire or a cautionary tale of excess, there’s no denying the film’s unique place in the landscape of ’90s cinema. We have a great time talking about it, so check it out then tune in. The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins!
A show about movies and how they connect.
When the movie ends, our conversation begins.
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