Sunday, October 05, 2014
Tales of movie watching...............................
I was 19 years old on a Friday night at Metro North (RIP) in the fall buying a new jacket. By the time the jacket shopping was all said & done it was early & had the rest of the evening to kill. So with that I decided to hit up the movie theater behind the mall and check out a movie that had just opened that night, "Showgirls". Yes, "Showgirls". The infamous NC-17 flick!! You'd think the reason for a young guy to see it would be simple, check out some T & A. Actually it wasn't the case. No the reason I decided to check out "Showgirls" on a whim was seeing as how it was the first NC-17 movie to have a wide distribution made it a moment in pop culture history!! Add to that the fact that the girl who was Jesse Spano on the Saturday morning show "Saved By The Bell" was the lead. It was big news at the time that an actress from a screwy Saturday morning show would make the jump to the big screen in such a dramatic fashion. Those two things, and me being goofy for pop culture moments, why not check this sucker out?? I make my way to the box office and get carded to purchase a ticket. No worries, I'm 19, so I'm in easy. I make my way to the theater where I get carded by an usher. This had actually been the very first time that I had ever been carded to get into a movie, so this was a different experience. Dozens of movies in the theater before I was even 16 with an R rating, no one looks at me twice. The opening night of the NC-17 movie I'm starting to wonder if there's gonna be a customs desk before I get to my seat. I hit the auditorium and the room is PACKED!! People of all ages and an equal ratio to the genders, and me with my jaw dropping a little bit. Given the nature of the movie I almost expected the place to be full of sweating guys with strategically placed rain coats. I look behind me and there's 3 women that could have easily passed for the Golden Girls. Once I saw them for a split second I thought that I had wandered into the wrong movie or that they had. I take my seat, the lights go down and the screen comes alive................... So yeah............... The movie.............Well........If you've never seen the movie lemme give you the briefest of synopsis. Drifter girl comes to Vegas and schemes & manipulates her way to being the biggest showgirl in Vegas. We'll leave it at that. About the halfway point in the movie I had realized something. Seeing as how this was an NC-17 movie that takes place in Vegas strip clubs and topless showgirl reviews there was skin beyond skin being shown, and at the halfway point I had so many topless women that I was getting bored with seeing girls topless!! Being a 19 year old college student this was something unheard of. The movie ended & I left the movie not sure what in the hell I had watched, but I was definite that it was something pretty horrid. When I saw the reviews the next week I wasn't the only one to think that, and the movie wound up being the punch line to many jokes for a couple years. I'm sure the writers for late night talk shows and stand up comedians world wide looked to the stars, tears welling up in their eyes, falling to their knees and crying out in thanks for the amount of material to be mined from this movie. Over the years, the movie has reached a cult status. Hell, a few years back a boxed set edition came out of it with shot glasses and party games! After that I started looking at this turd of a movie through the filter of an exploitation grindhouse film and realized that it wasn't that horrible! Yes, the acting is horrible and over the top, the plot is something from an old school network made for TV movie, the sex scene in the pool had me rolling on the floor laughing at how bizarre and ridiculous it looked. But as soon as I stopped looking at it as a serious film, and started looking at it as the campy over the top ride that it was I managed to develop a minor appreciation for it. Hell, in retrospect the makers of "Showgirls" beat Tarantino and Rodríguez to the punch in trying to bring 70's type grindhouse and sleaze to a modern audience! In the end it was mission accomplished in seeing this bit of pop culture history. True, it's a dubious history, but for a guy like me who's into the bizarre, the oddball, the left of normal, it's been a strange but fun ride watching the evolution from sleaze to cult.
Posted by Rusty at 5:15 PM