Showgirls is kind of a terrible movie. I’m sure that will surprise no one who has seen the film as it has become quite the horrible cult classic over the years and has really proceeded to break quite a few records when it comes to the film medium. Not only was it the first widely distributed NC-17 film in theaters, but it was also one of MGM’s best selling films of all time on home video. This of course led to subsequent re-releases over the years that only further planted the film firmly in its cult status. Now Fox has pushed out a 15th Anniversary Sinsational Edition on Blu-ray which…well, it’s got absolutely zero new content on it aside from the HD transfer.
The show is about to begin. Sex, seduction, and betrayal come together in the outrageously unforgettable camp classic Showgirls: 15th Anniversary Sinsational Edition, hitting the strip on Blu-ray June 15 from MGM Home Entertainment. Its Vegas, baby, and Nomi’s (Elizabeth Berkley) dreams and desires to make it big are as sharp as a stiletto heel. When she catches the eye of Cristal (Gina Gershon), the Stardust’s sexy headliner, Nomi is on the brink of living her dream. But she soon realizes that there is only room for one starlet on the marquee… and that either she or Cristal will have to take the fall!
Obviously I didn’t see this movie when I came out as I was eight at the time, but I do remember hearing a lot about it even then. The big hub-bub was mostly centered around someone from Saved by the Bell baring it all in a NC-17 film and being that that was a series that was frequently watched in my house it quickly became a hot topic…which then proceeded to fizzle out when the film kind of floated away into nothingness. The film was known for its absolutely horrible acting, dialogue, and storyline but to me that wasn’t’ even what was the worst thing about the film. All these years I thought it was just a film about women who acted quite catty (for lack of using a more explicit term) at one another, but what I ended up with was…well, exactly that actually. It was also over two hours long.
Yes, this is a truly bad film not only in the sense that it has few redeemable qualities but also that it just lasts so damn long. My patience for films that exceed two hours is minimal at best and when it’s a film as terrible as this I feel like I’ve truly taken some kind of wrong turn my life to be subjected to such a thing. Still, as terrible as it all is it definitely has a funny side to it even if that side can really only be exploited by a group of people watching it and laughing at the absurdities of it all. Never mind the fact that Nomi’s character is really quite unlikeable, but everyone around her is either out to get her or worse than she is—it is, quite frankly, a movie full of dicks. And I’m not saying that in the actual phallic sense as there’s plenty of explicit nudity as well, but it just really is not a film that is enjoyable unless you can lampoon and laugh at it yourself. If you try to take it seriously in any way it truly is a ginormous mess.
There’s definitely an audience out there for this film and I definitely won’t begrudge them for liking it. I can see where the appeal lies in the film for some as it is really the definition of a guilty pleasure film if there ever was one—not only in the sense that it tosses about nudity like only a NC-17 film can but also that it just has such absurd scenarios and dialogue that you truly cannot take it seriously in the least. That was likely where the disconnect was back when it was first released as overly satirical films that weren’t done by Mel Brooks really had no place for audiences. Well, that and the fact it was NC-17 probably hurt it in the short run…although it definitely helped it gain notoriety in the long run.
Overall a film that should be Rented first before any real decision is made. But considering its age at this point you either love it or hate it.
Fox has released Showgirls on Blu-ray in a two-disc Elite Blu-ray case. The film arrives with the usual Blu-ray on one disc, but rather than including a digital copy they just include a DVD copy, which appears to be the 2004/2007 DVD release. Menus are simple and easy to navigate and overall it’s a nice little package…though as we’ll soon see it’s kind of a disappointing one.
Video is an AVC encoded expedition and the fifteen years that this film has lived through have been kind to it as Fox gives us a very solid presentation. Although there is a heavy amount of grain and whatnot on screen, it is probably one of the best looking films out there that isn’t straight up porn to test out how flesh tones look on your TV. It’s not a particularly stunning picture but it has its moments, mainly in the costume details. Audio is a DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix which is really complete overkill for a film like this, although the music at the various stages of the movie does thump and toss itself about in the surrounds a great deal. Dialogue comes through clean and clear and there’s really nothing else to say about the Blu-ray presentation other than that it looks nice and it’s what you’d expect from Fox.
Extras are too, sadly, what you’d expect from Fox:
• Pole Dancing: Finding Your Inner Stripper
• Lap Dance Tutorial Featuring the World-Famous Girls of Scores
• “The Greatest Movie Ever Made” – A Commentary by David Schmader
• Showgirls Fact-Up Trivia
• A Showgirls Diary
Those extras? All on the DVD as only the film resides on the Blu-ray. Kind of a waste if you ask me, but that’s Fox’s pattern of late with these Blu-ray/DVD combo packs. I suppose it is cheaper for them to just re-issue the same DVDs instead of pulling the extras off of them and slapping them on the Blu-ray. In any case the set is, again, a Rental unless you’re a die-hard fan of the film.
Showgirls: 15th Anniversary Sinsational Edition arrives on Blu-ray on June 15th.