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Home > DVDs, Written Reviews, Written Reviews > ‘Showgirls’ gets a Reprieve in “YOU DON’T NOMI”

‘Showgirls’ gets a Reprieve in “YOU DON’T NOMI”

 

 

 

Review by John Delia

If you were of age in the 1990’s and a fan of film, you probably checked out the movie Showgirls (1995), especially if you were male between the ages of 17 to 34. It was rated NC-17 for flesh and sex and the rating didn’t stop a lot of underage teens from sneaking a look after paying for a movie ticket to see Batman Forever. Popular for the wrong reasons however, the film received the designation “flop” for the poor box-office take of $20 million with a price tag of $45 million. The critic reviews mocked the film for its content and storyline with special attention to the gratuitous nudity.

Peaches Christ plays Cristal Connors in the stage production of “Showgirls! The Musical!” as featured in the documentary YOU DON’T NOMI, an RLJE Films release. Photo courtesy of RLJE Films.

Well, now that I have your attention, there’s a Documentary available via DVD and Blu-ray called You Don’t Nomi (the title referring to the central character Nomi Malone) that has some say so as to the raw deal that the film got. Taking a look at Showgirls some 25 years later, the film gives the acting, directing and content another dig, some tongue lashing and a few excuses for the nose dive. Well not by everyone, but the interviewees like Adam Nayman, April Kidwell, Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, David Schmader, Haley Mlotek, JeffreyConway, Jeffrey Sconce, Matt Baume, Peaches Christ, and Susan Wloszczyna are the chosen opinion makers. In fact even this list of people does have some good things to say including some words of wisdom.

As for whether movie Showgirls deserved the bashing or not, my humble opinion says no, not the rehash part anyway. Not that I was totally fond of the film, after all there was worse acting in a nude scene during that era with the bare breasted Striptease (1996) starring Demi Moore. Coming out only a year later it made a worldwide bank of $113 million on a paltry $12 million budget, so go figure. So what could have gone wrong with Showgirls? Maybe the NC-17 rating of the film or the timing of its release? After all, people were glued to their TV sets watching the OJ Simpson trial and the remnants of the awful bombing of the Oklahoma City government building was still in the news. Certain events sometime slow attendance and these two were certainly on every TV channel. Oh, and then the movie competition with the hot Batman Forever still filling auditoriums on its way to over $184 million. Apollo 13 was still raking in some money and dagger dug deep when Halloween: The Curse of Michael Meyers opened the next weekend leading audiences into the horror season.

April Kidwell plays Nomi Malone in the stage production of “Showgirls! The Musical!” as featured in the documentary YOU DON’T NOMI, an RLJE Films release. Photo courtesy of RLJE Films.

Well that’s my view, but what does You Don’t Nomi have to say? A lot! The film is not only stark realism about Paul Verhoeven’s one time failure, but also a bit of a pity party. You’ll see some opinion makers in this film give excuses for the poor attendance and actually say how important the film is because “you can’t make a ‘comedy’ like this anymore”. And one critic says “for those of us that get it, it can become our religion”. If you are not familiar with the movie, it’s the beginning or chance for an uplift to some star quality careers including Elizabeth Berkley, Gina Gershon, Robert Davi, and Glenn Plummer. The film centers on Berkley’s Nomi who decides to go to Las Vegas to start a career in show business and ends up in a role call for strippers. Easily convinced that it is her start to fame, she literally fights her way to a lead in a big Las Vegas show.

The film gets gritty, sometimes glamorous and sensually powerful with the stars baring their gorgeous bodies for all to see. Big shocks turn into little fizzles along the way and the drama gets way over glorified before turning the other cheek for the droopy ending.

Peaches Christ plays Cristal Connors in the stage production of “Showgirls! The Musical!” as featured in the documentary YOU DON’T NOMI, an RLJE Films release. Photo courtesy of RLJE Films.

In an interview with director Paul Verhoeven (who previous to this film made Basic Instinct and Total Recall) he says “people are much more inclined to say it’s really criminal to portray sex. Sexuality is part of our life and we should not be afraid of it”. That comment was surly a view of the future with sex being a big part to most films being released in the 21st century where baring private body parts in movies is starting to be a regular occurrence turning what was NC-17 into an R rated film. The sex between same-sex is shown without question by the MPAA who are probably scared to press buttons that may incite the LGBTQ generation who may call “foul”. What was once PG-13 has received the trickle down affect and that rating is getting far too loose on violence and sex. There’s only one more defense for the very young and that’s PG and unfortunately that has been getting a bit violent and loose on the kissing and physical content.

Well, thanks to filmmaker Jeffrey McHale for the release of You Don’t Nomi as it does open dialogue for film critics and fans. I actually recommend the movie to all responsible adults and students of film. In deference to Showgirls however, this film is NOT RATED. It does contain nudity, language and some bulling form vocal interviewees, but after all in most cases it’s their job. Be cautious when deciding to allow immature children to see You Don’t Nomi.

You Don’t Nomi has not been rated by the MPAA, but contains a lot of nudity, sex and language in the clips shown in the documentary.

FINAL ANALYSIS A good example of Hollywood defends itself even when it offends itself. (3 out of 5 Stars)

Specifications and additional video information:
Cast and Commentary by: Adam Nayman, April Kidwell, Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, David Schmader, Haley Mlotek, JeffreyConway, Jeffrey Sconce, Matt Baume, Peaches Christ, Susan Wloszczyna
Directed and Written by: Jeffrey McHale
Genre: Documentary, Comedy, Commentary
MPAA Rating: Not Rated, contains Showgirls clips with nudity, sex, and language
Running Time: 1hr. 31 min.
Video Release Date: July 21, 2020
Original Theatrical Release Date:
Language: English
Reviewed Format: Blu-ray
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Video: 16×9, Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
Subtitles: English SDH
Number of Discs: 1Disc
Distributed by: RLJE Films
Released on: Blu-ray, DVD

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