Matt Watches Bad Movies: Showgirls


I had to happen sometime. I’m watching bad movie here and there’s only so long I can go avoiding Nicholas Cage without watching something that is famously bad. So rather than wait until it was a last resort I decided to get Showgirls out of the way.

The infamous movie starring Jesse from saved by the bell as an exotic dancer is pretty terrible as I recall, but lets watch again and find out for sure.

This film stars Jesse from Saved by the Bell. She’s coked up and on the run, from what we don’t exactly know. We start out with Jesse hitch hiking and gets picked up by a douche in a pickup. He asks her name and she pulls a knife. He manages to get her to put the knife away by playing chicken with a semi truck. Once they get to Vegas, which is of course where she’s going, he capitalizes on the fact that she is either a drug addict or an idiot (or maybe both) and steals all her things.

In a fit of despair she tries to throw herself into traffic and in hindsight I wish she had and the movie had just ended. Unluckily though, she is saved by a character so bland I can’t come up with a witty name for her because she hasn’t met Jesse yet and if she had? She’d probably have let that car hit Jesse.

New best friend buys Jesse dinner and fails to notice that Jesse is not only distraught at the loss of her things but clearly coming down from a lengthy cocaine binge. Naturally, new best friend offers Jesse a place to stay because of, you know, reasons.

Fast forward and Jesse and new best friend are best friends in the whole world. NBF takes Jesse to work where she meets the classy topless dancer played by Gina Gershon from Showgirls. When classy topless dancer asks where Jesse dances –did I mention she wants to be a dancer?– and Jesse says “a strip club” and classy topless dancer says “that’s a strip club” Jesse goes into a momentary drug induced psychotic episode.

When NBF dresses her down for endangering her job, she then rewards her by taking her to a club where she meets The Black Guy From Speed. He tells her she can’t dance, because she can’t, and she kicks him the balls and starts a riot in the club. She gets thrown in jail and the guy bails her out and they have what I think is meant to be banter before NBF picks her up.

Next Jesse goes to work at the strip club. Her boss is the sleaze bag you expect him to be, and introduces a new girl to the crew an immediately tells the naive new girl that she has a new name, and owes him a blow job. Jesse “dances” and Gina Gershon shows up to watch with her boyfriend Muad’Dib. They order a private dance and Jesse makes Muad’Dib cream his pants.

Oh, and there’s also a fat woman at the strip club who can make her boobs pop out of her dress, I’m guessing because… I have no idea. Someone thought it was funny? Or something?

I’m not going to lie, I drifted off for a few minutes right around now. This movie is actually pretty boring.

She runs into the black guy from speed again and he buys her a burger and tries to have sex with her but she says she’s on her period. Which she proves to him. She then go to audition for a role in the classy topless show which she eventually gets. She goes back to the black guy from speed again but he’s having sex with the naive new girl because he’s a playa. Or she’s naive. Mere than likely that second one.

Aaaaand I drifted off again. She’s in the show now and she’s backstage and she’s learning and then, I swear to god this actually happens, half a dozen chimpanzees run through the backstage area where all the other topless dancers are.

Then HR wants to talk to her and ask questions that company would for basic employment records and Jesse gets all twitchy. Clearly at this point she’s having an acid flashback, perhaps to the murder spree she survived and as possibly participated in back at Bayside.

Jesse the dances to the best of her ability for a while, and then gets recruited to be a dancer at a boat show. Yeah, you can chalk that up to “too ridiculous to make up”. One of the guys who recruited then tried to get her to have sex for money but she draws the line there. Se tells Muad’Dib who then tears a strip off the guy. Once Jesse is gone its shown that it was all a big show and Muad’Dib offers her a ride home where they have what I think it meant to be sex in the cheesiest pool of all time –neon palm trees surrounding a swimming pool, true story– except there’s too much splashing from Jesse and Muad’Dib clearly isn’t having a good time.

Turns out it was all a big set up to make Jesse Gina Gershons understudy. Jesse didn’t know of course, but that doesn’t stop her from pushing Gina Gershon down the stairs to get the lead part.

Suddenly NBF is back to be the moral compass for Jesse after having disappeared. She calls Jesse out and then swears she wants noting to do with her anymore. Then at the big party for jesses ascendancy to the lead NBF shows up. Also at the party is a big shot celebrity who is famous for being Hank on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.

I can hear what you’re saying, and no, I didn’t have to look that up.

Everything is going fine for Jesse but then NBF stumbles out of a back room, Hank from Dr. Quinn has gang raped her with two of his bodyguards. It’s an important plot point, or at least as important as this film can manage, and it’s terrible in every sense of the word.

Jesse and Muad’Dib are at the hospital and Jesse wants to know why the cops aren’t there. Muad’Dib tells her because Hank from Dr. Quinn is a friend and then he shows her he has her record, turns out that after leaving bayside Jesse prostituted her way across the country. Muad’Dib uses this nf to blackmail her into … Doing…. Uh…. Well he uses it for something.

Since police aren’t coming Jesse tarts herself up and goes to see Hank. She tries to seduce him but it just comes off slutty, and then she beats the ever loving shit out of him.

Se goes to the hospital, says goodbye to new best friend, makes out with Gina Gershon, and then goes out to the highway and hitches a ride. Turns out with the same douchebag from the start of the film. She pulls a knife again and this time the camera pulls away and the truck swerves pretty badly so I assume she stabs him but then the credits roll so WE’LL NEVER KNOW FOR SURE.

You know I think I can see what Paul Verhoven was going for here. A lot of his work is pretty subversive and I can see that this really wanted to be that way about Las Vegas and showgirls vs. strippers and thing but it just fails on every level because of terrible terrible dialogue and because everyone is overacting as if someone has a gun to the back of their head the whole time.

I will say this though, it’s nearly worth watching for some of the terrible dialogue. (I tweeted some choice quotes as I watched) if you want to get an idea what I’m talking about.

So basically it’s a movie full of terrible ideas and dialogue being acted out terribly. Still, it’s a better love story than Twilight.

Rating: 1/10

Matt Watches Bad Movies is a feature in which Matt watches a bad film so you don’t have to. If you have suggestions of something terrible you’ve seen, or haven’t seen but are morbidly curious about, feel free to tell me about it in the comments or via twitter @posterboy81

4 Replies to “Matt Watches Bad Movies: Showgirls”

  1. It’s been awhile since you have done this column, but can you come back with this so you can watch “Town & Country” (2001), one of the biggest box office failures of all time?

    1. Hey Leo, I’ve been working up to bringing this back for a while so I’ll definitely add that one to the list!

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