You Don’t Nomi
review by Bobby Blakey
Throughout his career Paul Verhoeven has delivered a variety of flicks including Robocop, Total Recall, Basic Instinct and Black Book to name a few. All of his films offer up controversial topics, violence and sex. In 1995 he brought the sexuality to the forefront with his film Showgirls starring Elizabeth Berkley, Gina Gershon, Kyle MacLachlan, and Glenn Plummer.
You Don’t Nomi follows a chorus of film critics and fervent devotees explore the complicated afterlife of 1995s biggest film flop, Paul Verhoeven's Showgirls, from disastrous release to cult adoration and extraordinary redemption. The films features Adam Nayman (Vice Guide to Film), April Kidwell (I, Nomi) and Peaches Christ (Milk). I have to admit that I was one of the people that loved this movie when it was released, but like most it was more from a young man’s perspective of the sexuality and the chance to see Berkley ditch her stuffy Saved By The Bell persona. Despite that I always saw the bad acting and over the top nature of the whole thing and again like most was just confused by the whole thing.
Like other films of its kind that are major flops the film has found cult status over the years to become so much more than it originally was. This new documentary dives into this films journey and even better taking you on a journey of some of the deeper films aspects that people clearly missed. Hearing the elements of the film broken down, the inspirations of filming styles and subtle background references that depict the coming tale showcases more of Verhoeven’s true brilliance behind this film that might be a lot better than you realize.
This review isn’t to argue the nature of Showgirls itself, but how important this film is to it and film history in my opinion. This is a guide of sorts that takes you on a journey through its production the time period and effects it had on all involved. As one of the people discussing it starts to break it down you see so much of the nuances of it all and how it actually works if you can see it. Even Verhoeven himself is quoted saying Berkley’s overacting in the role was by his direction for the vision he had for the film. It’s such an intriguing look at a film that so many hated, but has found a new life so many years later.
Grab your copy of You Don’t Nomi available now on Blu-ray and DVD from RLJE Films.