Showgirls ★★★★★

"They don't wanna fuck a Penny. They wanna fuck a Hope."

While it's become cliche to talk about everything we see and do and how the so-called (and, God willing, short lived) "Trump Era" has altered those experiences (especially regarding works we revisit post-November), the whole "grab em by the pussy" mentality that men possess in Verhoeven's artificial fantasyland feels downright prophetic at this point. Cinema's most articulate pervert is adapting a probable misogynist's script and then transforming it from simple tacky exploitation to a Jack Hill-esque exploitation movie about exploitation. This is Bob Fosse on peyote -- the technical wizardry (that roaming Steadicam in the dressing room always floors me) being applied to a scathing critique of how men consume entertainment and attempt to mold and abuse every female form around them in the name of discovering some sort of advantage. The bodies in motion aren't Machiavellian, reduced to instinct, sex and a cattiness that's dialed to twelve. Overall, Verhoeven achieves a simultaneously Sirkian and Sontagian level of kitschy melodrama, wringing genuine pathos from each gaudy frame while making us chuckle at cinema's most awkwardly erotic Spago lunches. Truly special, and totally boring to talk about in any sort of black and white purely qualitative sense. [35mm]

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