Showgirls: A Brief Synopsis

Elizabeth Berkley who played Nomi
Source: Flavorwire

While I was too young to watch Showgirls when it was initially released, the recent hype about the film was enough to persuade me to go out and get it on DVD. The 1995 French-American film follows Nomi, a drifter in search of a life of fame. The storyline tracks the main character as she moves to Las Vegas and becomes a stripper, in an attempt to reach the ultimate end goal of becoming a showgirl. Nomi quickly realises that success comes with a price, as her morals are put to the test.

Upon its release, the film received poor reviews and didn’t fair well financially, with Elizabeth Berkley who played Nomi, stating that it took her years to escape the black cloud that hung over her career after the release of Showgirls. Many people didn’t understand why a film that was directed by the same guy responsible for classics like Robocop and Elle (which received a Golden Globe award as well) managed to do so poorly. On the surface, Showgirls held a lot of promise, and many experts believed that it should have done well – so, where exactly did it all go wrong for this promising film? We discuss below.

Where Did it All Go Wrong?

Upon its initial release, Showgirls failed to reach commercial success status. Joe Eszterhas, who wrote the film, said that the mistakes made at that time resulted in one of the biggest failures of his career. The film was internationally ridiculed by film critics, with the popular review site Rotten Tomatoes giving it a rating of 22%. Be that as it may, there is not one single factor that can be attributed to the film’s failure. While some critics tend to blame the dreary storyline behind the demise of the film, others feel that bad acting, poor marketing and too many distasteful, half-naked women all contributed to the poor reception which it received. To this day, this motion picture is still considered one of the worst films ever made.

How Perception of the Film Evolved Over Time

When the film was initially released in 1995, the world was a very different place. This makes me wonder, was public perception of the film tainted by the definition of what was considered to be “quality entertainment” at the time – or was the film just generally bad? Over the years, showgirl-themed parties have become extremely popular and, as a result, many twenty-something year olds have taken a particular liking to the 1995 flick. In the USA, Showgirls has become a common pick for midnight movie viewings, and is shown alongside films like The Adventures of Priscilla and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Although the cinematic release of the film didn’t do too well, over the years, the film has managed to generate more than $100 million for video rentals alone. It has also become one of MGM’s top 20 bestsellers. Now that is definitely a pleasant twist in a tale.

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Showgirls Cult Status

Despite appearing on virtually all lists ranking the worst movies of all time, Showgirls has managed to achieve cult status. The film rose to prominence amongst young adults, with parties and festivals being initiated in the name of the timeless title. Many individuals still deem it to be one of the most successful film flops ever.

Final Thoughts

Whether your opinion is centred on the good or the bad, there is ultimately no denying that Showgirls is a classic. While the film may not have initially had the desired outcome to those involved, it did eventually give them some exposure, and like they say, no publicity is bad publicity. We’re pretty sure that this title will remain a favourite for many years to come, and will result in party tricks and memories made solely in the name of Showgirls. If you haven’t watched it yet, then be sure to grab a bowl of warm popcorn, press the play button and experience for yourself what all the fuss is about.