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Screening: ‘Showgirls’

Dancers, Not Strippers!

Above: Elizabeth Berkley stars as a stripper... um, I mean dancer in Paul Verhoeven's 1995 "Showgirls."

FilmOut continues it's monthly screening series with a delicious guilty pleasure, "Showgirls" (playing one night only on September 14 at the Birch North Park Theater).

There is nothing to be said in defense of "Showgirls." It has no redeeming features, it is not a work of art, it is sexist... yet it is irresistible. Now don't get it confused with the recent "Burlesque," starring Cher and Christina Aguilera. That film can only aspire to the cheese, kitsch, ridiculousness, and unintended (or perhaps intended) genius that is Paul Verhoeven's "Showgirls."

Verhoeven started as something of a foreign film/art house darling with "Turkish Delight," "Soldier of Orange," and "Spetters." He introduced us to Rutger Hauer, and then moved to Hollywood to deliver the brilliant "Robocop" and the erotic thriller "Basic Instinct." Then came "Showgirls." When I first saw it I had no words to describe it. I expected so much more from Verhoeven. But with time I have come to appreciate the film. I think I needed to see "Starship Troopers," which followed "Showgirls," to see that Verhoeven is a savvy satirist and maybe I should see "Showgirls" as a film designed to be over the top and bad, designed to provoke, designed to shock. I haven't seen the film since it came out in 1995 so I am looking forward to finding out what a re-viewing will lead to and what new conclusions I will reach.

Here's the trailer. Hope to see you there. And next month check out the 12-hour horror marathon Thrill-O-Rama on October 8.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | September 13, 2011 at 12:45 p.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

Ah, yes, the Verhoeven-Esterhaz magnum opus.

Beth, do you know what happened with the "40 foot film" series or whatever it was called that was at Gaslamp Reading? I see nothing in the website except for the last film which was in August.

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Avatar for user 'Beth Accomando'

Beth Accomando, KPBS Staff | September 18, 2011 at 12:59 p.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

Not sure what's up with that series but Reading seems dedicated to continuing film screening programs and they may just be branding each program differently and changing them with the seasons or quarters. So just keep checking back on their site to see what they might have coming next. If I hear anything I'll let you know.

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