[Row Three programming if we owned a rep cinema]
So Bad They’re Profound (alternatively titled “When 90s Blockbusters Go Wrong, or: How I Learnt to Stop Worrying and Love Overanalyzing Sh*tty Movies”)
Batman & Robin (Schumacher, 1997) – 8:30pm
Showgirls (Verhoeven, 1995) – 11pm
Two of the biggest critical failures of the nineteen nineties, Joel Schumacher’s Batman & Robin and Paul Verhoeven’s Showgirls have become synonymous with movie making gone wrong, and are frequently listed amongst the worst films of all time. Both scripts contain some of the most superb howlers in cinema history. Visually, one resembles an Ed Wood picture shot in a toy factory for fifty million dollars and the other a soft-core porno crossed with a student film version of All About Eve. As for the performances…well, let’s just say you don’t see Elizabeth Hurley headlining too many movies these days. All in all, there really is very little redeemable about either one of these misguided, mishandled pimples on the otherwise rosy buttocks of cinema.
On the other hand…
It’s difficult to say what it is about some movies that make them so bad they’re good; what combination of elements seperates the awful from the awfully funny, the crap-tastic from the just plain crap. Whatever the formula, Batman & Robin and Showgirls fit squarely into the category of movies far more entertaining that the label “Worst movie of all time” seems to suggest. What’s more, when viewed through the lens of time (and with a fair amount of generosity), both Schumacher’s ode to the art of the toy-line tie in and Verhoeven’s experiment in eroticism gone wrong are revealed to be rather…wait for it…profound. No, you didn’t misread that – I believe that both of these films reflect many of the most interesting parts of nineties social and cinematic culture, and those who dismiss them are not only missing out on two of the most unintentionally funny movies ever made, but also two movies with genuinely interesting things to say (even if they only say them while cart wheeling backwards off the edge of the cliff). So for one night only, leave your American indies and Swedish arthouse DVDs at homes and come join us at the Row Three Rep for a celebration of two of the nineties’ most underappreciated films.
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