Showgirls (1995)

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  •  (5 out of 5 stars)

The ultimate Las Vegas movie. A nearly flawless satire on the city of sex and money where everything is transactional and mechanical, from the slot machines to the dancing to the sex itself. Elizabeth Berkley is perfectly cast as the wide-eyed Nomi Malone who is willing to do anything to rise to the top of being a Vegas showgirl. Her manic delivery fits Joe Eszterhas' script perfectly, and she's well supported by great performances from Gina Gershon, Kyle MacLachlan, Glenn Plummer, Robert Davi, and Gina Ravera. Director Paul Verhoeven's hilariously over-the-top homage to MGM musicals was wildly misunderstood when it was released and is finally receiving the cult classic status it deserves decades later. Everything in the movie is as garish and stupid and exciting as the city of Vegas itself. In the 80s and 90s, Verhoeven was the preeminent American cinematic satirist, and in this big-budget spectacle, he holds a mirror up to the Las Vegas strip to show an America more American than any American director could realize. If you've seen the film once and dismissed it try watching it again, and then again. Also, watch the superb documentary on the film called You Don't Nomi (2019) which analyzes the movie from many different angles. Showgirls may very well be Paul Verhoeven's masterpiece.

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