Released in the fall of 1995, Showgirls became the first big budget, wide release “NC-17” rated film. Despite the presence of director Paul Verhoeven and screenwriter Joe Eszterhas–both coming off the massive success of 1992’s Basic Instinct–and massive hype, Showgirls flopped with audiences and critics alike. The most panned film of the decade, it tarnished Verhoeven’s solid reputation as a filmmaker and nearly ruined the career of its star, Elizabeth Berkley, after shattering her squeaky-clean image.
Jeffrey McHale’s You Don’t Nomi (named after Elizabeth Berkley’s character) revisits the much-maligned Showgirls and makes the claim that fans and critics who called it a bomb got it wrong. In recent times, the film has become a cult classic. Some, (myself NOT among them) now argue that the film is masterpiece.
Showgirls is a rags to riches tale of a nobody trying to become a somebody. It tells of a traumatic childhood for Berkley’s Nomi, who hitches her way to Vegas and from there uses her sex appeal to gain the confidence she’s never had. Her goal is to advance from the lapdance circuit to star as a Vegas showgirl and do it by dethroning the gambling mecca’s queen, Cristal Connors (Gina Gershon).
Much of the content here comes from new 2020 interviews with critics Adam Nayman, Haley Mlotek, Susan Wloszcyna and Barbara Shilgasser-Parker, film professor Jeffrey Sconce, filmmaker Peaches Christ, poet Jeffrey Conway, and stage actor April Kidwell. We also get archival remarks from screenwriter Joe Eszterhas, director Paul Verhoeven, and actors Elizabeth Berkley and Gina Gershon.
You Don’t Nomi is fun and gives viewers a chance to see how critics evaluate a film. Through film clips we look back at the NC-17 rated movie, winner of the Razzies as the Worst Film of the Decade. But McHale isn’t necessarily trying to elevate Showgirls into elite company but show us how we attack certain content because of who we are. I haven’t seen Showgirls in years. After watching You Don’t Nomi, it’s earned a spot on my watchlist.
You Don’t Nomi appears in a aspect ratio of 1.78:1. Essentially a collection of movie clips, the source looked fine. Occasionally, Nomi included archival materials from television, but mainly focused on snippets from Verhoeven’s films. The works of others popped up occasionally, and quality varied. The shots of Showgirls itself looked pretty solid, as did some of the others. However, occasional clips looked mushy and less well-defined. Elements came across reasonably well. Sharpness was mostly appealing, and colors worked fine. While the image never really impressed, it’s fine given the nature of the production.
The same can be said for the mediocre DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack. There’s nothing particularly impressive here, but given the nature of the documentary, it does the job. Interview comments remained front-and-center, but movie dialogue spread throughout the room in a ‘pingy,’ slightly odd, manner. The interviews were recorded well.
English subtitles are included.
There are no extras available.
You Don't Nomi (2019)
Movie title: You Don't Nomi
Duration: 93 min
Director(s): Jeffrey McHale