Before we discuss Metal Gear Solid, we have to talk about why Showgirls is actually a good movie.
When most people watch films, they are not first and foremost watching for technical craftsmanship. This is not meant as a slight, because it’d be a pretty bonkers world if they did, one that would completely undermine film’s century-long history as a populist medium. So, I think it’s safe to say — with no snideness intended — that most people watch films for stories, for relatable characters, for themes they can extrapolate onto their own lives for their own benefit and self-fulfillment. These are the elements we as human beings have deemed the very basics of “good” art and storytelling, the simplest building blocks that explain why applying our empathy to something abstract and stripped-down like the plot of a film is a vital and life-affirming experience. These are also the elements which Showgirls fails to communicate, and why most people reject it upon first encounter. Showgirls is a movie about shallow, stupid people doing shallow, stupid things, and unlike something like Seinfeld — where the characters’ awfulness is always winking at you, and the winking and relatability are the whole point — director Paul Verhoeven has all the sympathy for his creations as the blinding sun harassing hungover strip club denizens at dawn.