Celebrating 25 Years Of The “BEST WORST” Movie!
It’s an iconic moment for cult movie fans: Elizabeth Berkley licking a stripper pole – trust me, it’s one of the “TAMER” moments from a slice of cinematic insanity known as “Showgirls!”
I have a memorable story about how I saw this for the first time – and where I saw it!
But first, 25 years ago this week was the film’s release, so we are going to celebrate by diving into the deep end of the “Showgirls” pool!
Let’s face it: this film has taken its place in movie history as one of the wildest major motion studio releases of all time!
So much to discuss, let’s get to it!
“Leave Your Inhibitions At The Door” Indeed!
The movie poster hints at what is to come, but when “Showgirls” was released in 1994, it stunned moviegoers worldwide!
It’s the story of Nomi Malone, who arrives in Las Vegas seeking fame and fortune – but as the movie shows, it comes with a price!
As the trailer says: “How far would you go for fame?”
Check it out:
“Showgirls” tells the raw inside story of Las Vegas: the glitz, glamour and secrets of those Las Vegas Showgirls!
The film’s screenplay was written by controversial Writer Joe Eszterhas, whose script for “Basic Instinct” included this memorable movie moment:
Yes, Sharon Stone spoke with police while neglecting to put on underwear, and cinematic history was made!
“Showgirls” was more of the same – hugely controversial when released for two reasons: first, for the copious amounts of sex and nudity throughout the film.
Elizabeth Berkley stars, and deserves credit for giving a fearless performance…also starring is Gina Gershon as the Vegas headliner who shows her the ropes!
The second reason the film was so controversial was its rating: it was released in movie theaters with an “NC-17” rating for “nudity and erotic sexuality throughout, some graphic language, and sexual violence.”
“Showgirls” was the first AND ONLY NC-17 rated film to be given a wide release in mainstream theaters!
Naomi’s story begins when she lands a job as a Stripper, and ends up giving Kyle MacLachlan a lap dance in a private room. She is completely nude and as I said, fearless in the role:
Berkley was famous for her work in the TV comedy “Saved By The Bell”, but she was all grown up here! The appearance of MacLachlan in the film was head-scratching as well, but remember that after “Basic Instinct”, this was intended to be a provocative, “no holds barred” look at sex and Vegas!
My wife and I saw it in Westwood when it opened: everyone wanted to know if it was as bad as the reviewers said! After the showing when we exited the theater, Carrie Fisher was outside to interview us about the film!
My Early “Sneak Peek!”
I actually got to see a sneak peek of the film months before it opened!
I interviewed Director Paul Verhoeven and star Elizabeth Berkley as they previewed 20 minutes of the film at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival – we were stunned by what we saw, for all of the reasons you can imagine!
My wife and I created the E! travel series “Wild On…”, which launched originally as “Sex On The Riviera”, the unofficial look at Cannes…Berkley told me how excited she was:
“Last year when I watch the show, I told my parent: ‘next year, I’m going to be on Sex On The Riveria!'”
And she was!
That was one of my Cannes highlights, because we got a glimpse of what has become one of the most notoriously laughable scenes in the film!
Flopping In The Pool!
Yes, the twenty minutes of preview material we were shown included dance numbers, lots of adult content – and the infamous pool scene between Berkley and MacLachlan.
It’s probably the least erotic moment in the movie: Elizabeth spends the night with Kyle, and they end up making love in his pool – leading to this legendary gif!
At the height of the “action”, Berkley begins to flip her head in and out of the water, literally like a fish! She is flopping around in such a comical way we didn’t know if it was a joke or not – but you know what? I’m so glad it’s in the film, because it’s part of what make “Showgirls” the best bad movie that it is!
And to make it even more hilarious, the sex scene takes place as water jets shoot out of the mouths of cement dolphins!
Director Paul Verhoeven has made many controversial films in his career, and this may be the wildest…of course, many feel that THAT SCENE was a turning point in “Sinema” as we know it:
There was a great story about how “Basic Instinct” may have been the birth of “Skinamax!”
Click here to see the whole story, with some great trivia about this notorious “Basic Instinct” scene:
I also worked with Adult Star Jenna Jameson at the Cannes Film Festival the year after “Showgirls” – she was just getting started in the business, and we filmed with her in Cannes – and I shot with her many times after that as well:
Yes, I traveled the world with Jenna, including when I shot a pilot with her as the new Host of “Wild On…”
We shot with a LOT of stars on that trip! You can click here to see some of that “wild” adventure:
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If you like the story, share on your social media – and happy 25th to the wonders of “Showgirls!”