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Showgirls: Sinsational Edition (Blu-ray Review)

ShowgirlsShowgirls will always be a cult classic favorite of mine.  I have owned this film on all available video formats as they have been released.  I imagine when holographic movies are released; I will be the first person standing in line eagerly awaiting this title.  I remember having to sneak this VHS rental home from Blockbuster back in late 1995.  I gave it a very quiet basement viewing after my parents went to sleep one night. I just had to see what was so controversial about the performance of Saved By The Bell’s sweetheart teen actress Elizabeth Berkley.  And wow, was I ever surprised at what I saw.  That wasn’t the Jessie Spano I knew and loved all these years.  My girl had grown up fast and oh, what moves she has learned.  And that word “moves,” can take on many different contextual meanings here.

Film 

Showgirls was directed by Basic Instinct’s Paul Verhoeven, a man who is no stranger to creating controversial films.  As I mentioned before, the film stars former teen actress Elizabeth Berkley, Kyle MacLachlan and Gina Gershon.  Significant controversy sprang up before the film’s theatrical release over the amount of sex and nudity within the feature.  In the United States, the movie got slapped with an NC-17 rating and interestingly enough, it became the first NC-17 rated film to be given a wide release in mainstream theaters.  How’s that for a breakout role for Elizabeth Berkley?  If nothing else, then at least she will always be part of that record.  As you can expect, the film wasn’t met with that much success theatrically, but later on it took on a life of its own as it dominated the home video rental market and quickly became one of MGM’s top 20 all-time bestsellers.  There have been a few different cuts of the film including a 128-minute Rated-R cut and a VH1 safe for television rendition that’s nothing short of ridiculous, but today we are going to talk about the good old 131-minute NC-17 theatrical cut making its Blu-ray debut on June 15th.

When the Blu-ray press release from MGM came across my desk months ago I could not be more excited to learn about Showgirl’s imminent High-Definition debut.  It was dubbed the 15th Anniversary Sinsational Edition.  My God, has it been 15 years already?  Its amazing how fast time flies.  Anyway, so I immediately requested a Blu-ray review copy and began checking off the days on my calendar.  To say I wasn’t interested in revisiting this cult gem on Blu-ray would be like saying there’s no problem down in the Gulf of Mexico right now (my heart goes out to those poor animals covered in oil… find out how you can help by clicking here).

For those of you who do not know the premise of the movie it’s quite simple really.  Showgirls tells the story of a drifter (Berkley) who ventures into Sin City (Vegas) and goes from rags (stripper) to riches (showgirl).  Anyone who thinks their name belongs in bright lights and desperately seeks fame any chance they get ought to give this film a watch first.  As Peter Parker always alluded to in the Spider-Man films, “with great power comes great responsibilities.”  Some people are not cut out for life in the spot light and for some, the lucky few, they recognize the corruption and get out before the big lights and produces take their soul and everything else they believe in.  This is the story of Showgirls with a little bit of sex and gratuitous nudity thrown in, but I never heard any guy complain about that.

Before I move and talk about the Blu-ray disc’s vitals and whatnots I wanted to take a quick moment and talk about my trip down memory lane here.  There were two things that jumped out at me while watching Showgirls on Blu-ray this weekend.  But before I go there, this just jumped in my cranium now, could you imagine a 3-D release of Showgirls done right?  Wow!  That would be pure bliss.  Okay, well anyway, like I was saying.  I chuckled hard when I saw a Magnavox recordable cassette tape.  I remember those fondly.  They fueled my weekly mix tape soundtracks back in the 90’s before recordable CD’s came along.  And second, I forgot how big the original cell phones were.  I remember my Audiovox set back in the late 90’s, but wow were they ever big in the mid 90’s.  It looked like they were calling in for military support when they whipped one out on the movie set.  Okay, I’m done.  That’s enough humor for one day.

Video 

Much to my surprise, the video presentation here is spectacular and every bit as bright and eccentric as the movie itself is.  The 1080p AVC MPEG-4 video encode is presented in a 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio.  The first thing that jumped out to me were the colors.  They were so vibrant that they effectively captured the heart, soul and bright lights of Las Vegas.  I felt like I was really there.  It was simply remarkable.  Even the brown eye/green eye oddity of Elizabeth Berkley was dominantly displayed throughout.  Every single sensual moment of the film was breathtakingly captured on this Blu-ray release.  The print was clean and free of debris.  The only thing hampering this 15-year old feature was the constant presence of cinematical grain, but it never once distracted me from my viewing pleasure.  It was simply enough grain that prevented a few scenes here and there from jumping out at you in the Blu-ray sharpness that we are all used to from most modern day releases.  But for a 15-year old film, this looked impeccable and gorgeous.  I couldn’t be happier.  This one is going in a sealed vault within my Blu-ray collection.

Audio 

The audio was another department on this Blu-ray disc that simply caught me off guard.  I was expecting a soundtrack more on par with the Basic Instinct soft drama-like track that we got a few years back on Blu-ray.  Never did I expect to hear something this good.  The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track delivers here with a rocking experience.  Dialog is never low or inaudible.  It’s not the greatest of dialog tracks of all-time, but it’s definitely doable.  What rocks here is the film’s incredible soundtrack.  The musical song and dance numbers are both impressive and strong.  They immerse you in the 5.1 surround environment.  I was ecstatic to hear my rear speakers nearly jumping off their respective stands.  Also, want to talk about some thunderous bass moments?  Well look no further than here.  Showgirls has that going for it too!

Special Features 

And here’s yet another surprise on this MGM Blu-ray release… the Special Features.  For a 15-year old film you would expect all the disc’s Special Features to be presented in Standard Definition, right?  Well not Showgirls!  The bulk of the material I’m showcasing below graces your screen in beautiful HD resolution.  You can’t ask for anything more, can you?

Here’s why I love the Playstation 3 as a Blu-ray player… I just get a kick out of seeing if the movie studio took the time to create a quick title art piece that’s viewable when the Blu-ray disc is inserted into your player and rest assured, MGM did here (see below).

On the disc’s main menu (see below), if you let it play twice all the way through, then you get a very quick changing Easter Egg video sequence.  This changes every time too.

(removed)

Pole Dancing: Finding Your Inner Stripper (11:54 AVC HD) Teacher of S Factor talks about how she got involved in the sensual art of stripping, her students and displays basic dance and pole moves.  I never knew this one move was called the Firefly.  You’re interested huh?  Oh yeah, and there’s also the Swing Walk, the Climb, the Corkscrew, the Snake, the Pole Cat, the Helicopter and the Descending Angel.  I learned a lot today!

Lap Dance Tutorial Featuring the World-Famous Girls of Scores (4:56 MPEG-2 HD) Here’s another interesting special feature.  This Blu-ray is great, isn’t it?  The girls of Score teach women how to give a man a lap dance.  Just follow their simple 10-step process I documented for you all below.

  • Step 1.  Warm up and stretch yourself
  • Step 2.  Wear something that feels sexy
  • Step 3.  Create a relaxing atmosphere
  • Step 4.  Get aural with sexy music
  • Step 5.  Tempt his other senses
  • Step 6.  Tease, Pose and Spank
  • Step 7.  You can touch
  • Step 8.  Move in and show off
  • Step 9.  Find and remember his zones
  • Step 10. Leave him wanting more

The Greatest Movie Ever Made: Audio Commentary by David Schmader

Showgirls Fact-Up Trivia

A Showgirls Diary (MPEG-2 HD)

Theatrical Trailer (AVC HD) How’s this for a 15-year old film?  The film’s theatrical trailer is presented in glorious HD here!  Wow!  I’m in love with this MGM catalog release.

Disc 2 – DVD

The NC-17 presentation of Showgirls is also presented in Standard Definition on a second included DVD disc or a drink coaster to some.  There’s also a special behind-the-scenes featurette here, but I never visited it.  This is a Blu-ray review after all, is it not?

Final Thoughts 

Well there you have it folks.  I really can’t say enough good things about this MGM catalog Blu-ray release.  For a cult-favorite of mine and many others, it was a breath of fresh air to see that MGM delivered a Blu-ray release that we all can be proud of with exceptionally vivid video, a bombastic audio track and a special features package fans of the film and many men around the world can enjoy.  Fans of the film, don’t hesitate here at all.  Pull the trigger and pre-order Showgirls today!  All others, you owe it to yourself to at least partake in a rental of this historic movie many critics refer to as a must-see guilty pleasure of theirs.  I’m not sure if it will stay on my Top 10 list throughout the remainder of the calendar year, but for right now, this catalog release has earned a coveted spot in my ‘Top 10 Blu-ray Releases of 2010’ list.  And that says a lot!

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Pre-order Showgirls on Blu-ray today!

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Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

3 Responses to “Showgirls: Sinsational Edition (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Sean Ferguson

    Four stars?!Were you reviewing the movie or just the actresses? 🙂 This was a terrible movie and considering the writer and director involved, it was a huge letdown for me. A better example of their work was Basic Instinct which was titillating but still very well made with a great cast and a good script. I’m going to have to disagree with you on this one.

  2. Brian White

    I appreciate your comment, but I too have to disagree. Despite the subject matter and controversial visuals… Showgirls really has a strong message behind it. Like I said it is a cult favorite of mine. If you understand the definition of cult favorite, you will take note that they are all not necessarily fan favorites. It’s just like you and phantom menace….that movie is atrocious, but to you it is a gem. Same here for me bud. 🙂 I love how Berkley’s character went from rags to riches and then by choice….went back. They could have easily written it as your typical tragedy, but instead it is a triumphant coming of age story.

  3. Sean Ferguson

    I get cult favorites although I wouldn’t count Phantom Menace as a cult movie. It was a worldwide smash (as of right now it’s the 12th highest grossing movie of all time), and I will be the first to admit that it had some problems and things that I didn’t like. But I get what you are saying in that while a lot of people didn’t like Phantom Menace, I did despite some misgivings. I just don’t appreciate Showgirls as much as you do but I’m sure I have a guilty pleasure movie that you dislike as well. I was just shocked to see you give it 4 out of 5 stars. I’m glad you like it and wrote the review for it especially since it’s on blu-ray now!