First off, let me say that if you have only seen Showgirls on VH-1, then you haven’t had the full experience. It’s bad on network television, but the sheer scope of how truly awful it is can only be experienced in the full, uncut version. Laughing at an idiot is one thing. Laughing at a naked idiot is something else entirely. It’s amazing how un-sexy this film really is. Showgirls is funny in the same way that it was funny to make fun of the fat kid riding in the front of the bus in Junior High. …art of you feels sorry for Elizabeth Berkeley, and part of you secretly gets a certain satisfaction out of watching her fail so horribly and famously on film. The point is, this film is truly enjoyable, in the most twisted of ways.
This trashy flick is the very definition of a film so bad that it’s good. For those of you that live in a cave in Afghanistan, this is the story of a small-town girl who goes to Vegas to make it big as a showgirl (because you have to have goals, right?). Once she gets there, she finds that Sin City is called that for a reason, and she fights through catty co-workers, sleazy managers and her own blind ignorance to get her shot at the big time. I think I might have died of boredom if this movie wasn’t so gloriously horrible.
I was pleased and a little surprised to find that the audio track on this disc is actually well done, especially with regards to sounds moving around the room to match their sources on the screen. Cars, voices and other noises travel extremely well, including one great moment when a car comes toward the camera, and passes underneath.
Of course, it can’t be all good. This is one of the worst movies of all time, after all. The low end is present, but it is not enough to make any real impact. Truth be told, the entire audio track is not as aggressive as it should be. Perhaps it has been a bit too compressed. Perhaps the track has been damaged by time. Whatever the reason, the film’s audio lacks that certain intangible quality that takes the DVD viewer out of their living room and on location.
Las Vegas is the perfect setting for a film, as there is so much color and cinematic excess readily-available to the director. Unfortunately, it also poses some serious challenges, including bright lights, shooting at night, and an assault of powerful color hues to contend with in every shot. This is a challenge that was not easily met, as many of the shots contain colors that are highly overblown, and bleed badly onto the surrounding actors and objects. Some of this was done for artistic effect, but much of it was done out of a lack of skill.
If only that were all that was wrong. There are also some blemishes that show up on the negative during the first portion of the film, thought they seem to go away after the first 20-minutes or so. The entirety of the film is affected by a washed-out look, however, making it look much older than it is. Again, this is a real shame, given the immense opportunities provided by the gaudy city setting. Bad lighting, poor focus, and an overall lame transfer plague this disc from start to finish.
When a movie is this bad, there’s no hiding it. All the studio can do is throw up their hands and say, “We screwed up.” The best way to do that is to point and laugh at your own movie. What better way to do that than to lavish upon the film pseudo-accolades and ironic special features? MGM has proven that they get their own joke with this super-fantabulous boxed set. In addition to the token theatrical trailers, there are two commentary tracks on this bad boy; one is a video track for the strip club scene, hosted by two girls from Scores. Surprisingly enough, these two broads give the film a run for its money in the dumbness department. The other commentary, however, is truly priceless. It is from Showgirls historian David Schmader. This ironic genius provides a priceless commentary on the film, where he describes the sheer “density of failure” that the film is. His view is that the movie is so horrible, that it has actually become a work of art by sheer accident. This track alone is worth the price of the box set.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, however. Viewers brave enough to take on this monument of failure also get a set of four storyboard to screen featurettes that would be fascinating if they were on a different film. This mix of behind-the-scenes footage, shots of the script, drawings and storyboards really helps to show how all the creative parts fit together to get the final product on screen. A fact track is also included, which puts fun facts on the screen throughout the film, a’ la VH-1’s Pop-Up Video. This is a very well done piece that adds just one more fun way to watch this atrocious film.
In addition to all of this, those that purchase this box also get a pair of Showgirls shot glasses, a pin the pasties on the showgirl kit (complete with poster, tassels and blindfold), a set of Showgirls playing cards, and a set of photo cards with party games. This is one stacked set!
This boxed set is a smart and funny joke. It’s one thing to acknowledge that you made a bad movie, but it’s quite another to act as if you really, really, really don’t get it. I can only hope that Warner Brothers keeps this set in mind when they get ready to release a future special edition of Catwoman.
Special Features List
- Video Commentary
- Storyboard-to-Screen Featurette
- Pop-up Trivia Track
- Original Theatrical Trailer
- Showgirls Shot Glasses
- Pin the Pasties on the Showgirl Game
- Showgirls Playing Cards
- Photo Cards with Party Games