By Adam Lippe

showgirlsDear Elizabeth Berkley,

Since the early days of my youth, I have enjoyed your performances, in such shows as Saved by the Bell, films such as Bandit: Bandit Goes Country, Frog, and Platinum Blonde. It was not until the late days of September 1995, however, that you became my muse, my sanctuary, the epitome of everything I hold dear. On that day of September 22nd, I was taken to another place, somewhere I had never imagined before, and something I may never recover from. I bought my ticket for the first showing of the day, and arrived promptly at 11:45, anticipating the long lines I expected. Fortunately, there were no obstructions, I was lucky to find no line whatsoever. I sat in my seat, steering clear of any other patrons and gazed upon the screen, patiently waiting for the turgid radio advertisements to complete their cycle. And then it began…

I have never seen such a sight. From the opening scene where you threaten the Elvis clad fellow with a knife, to the tear inducing projectile vomiting sequence, to the absolutely moving speech you give about the various quality canine comestibles, I have never been so touched. Showgirls is a landmark film, misunderstood by the masses, as to be expected. When you shouted your mantra, “shit happens,” I felt like you were speaking to me, your voice and words reverberating in my head for days. When I got home that night, I wept. I required an entire box of tissues just to get through the evening, and had to return to the local grocer the next day just to stock up, if I expected to make it to the weekend.

laist_showgirlsI must say that your performance was spectacular, eerily convincing, you made me believe in your transformation from tawdry stripper to classy dancer, as if you had been taking ballet lessons for decades. When you instructed that fellow that you would have to abstain from sexual relations with him, because you were experiencing menstrual flow, I truly believed that, had we, as the audience, been able to inspect for ourselves, you would have produced a mass of blood that would make the red sea jealous.

So I found myself at a crossroads, how could I possibly re-experience something so earth shattering on a daily basis? I could return to the theater on a daily basis, paying for each and every show in an attempt to replicate the emotional catharsis that I felt during that first viewing. But I made a decision to do something more drastic, something more personal that would show the world how strongly I felt about your art.

My name is Lawrence and I am a public school bus driver in Lawrence, Nebraska, and have been for the past thirteen years. I am 5 ft 4 inches tall and weigh approximately 340 pounds. For years, I have thought of this as a hindrance, a stigma if you will, but your film lifted me, made me realize that I need to be who I am. Your film inspired me so much, that I felt that I had to express myself through it.

showgirlssplashThe week following my first screening of your film, I did a lot of thinking, in regards to how to go about my plan. I ventured to the local mall and decided that I must free myself right then and there. So I walked up to the cashier of the most highbrow store within the Galleria and asked her for it. That’s right; I purchased the same black with gold trim Versace dress you wore in the film. Granted, it was a wee bit larger size, but the effect was surely the same. And for weeks, I wore that dress to work, washing it each and every day, proud to be who I was. Yes, the children gave me odd looks and I had to be inventive about crossing my legs without ripping the fabric, especially in those high heels, but I managed. Not even when the PTA requested that I dress in proper attire would I budge from my personal stance.

Eventually, after a month of continuous use, the dress ripped right down the back. Luckily, the bus was empty as I had just taken the last child back to his home, and I was able to hold it around my unmentionables as I scampered back to my basement apartment. But, Ms. Berkley, for that 30 day period from the end of September 1995 to nearly the end of October 1995, I was king, and your spirit, my queen.


Lawrence Pintois

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Now on DVD and Blu-Ray


By Adam Lippe

Whenever there’s a genre parody or ode to a specific era of films, such as Black Dynamite’s mocking of Blaxploitation films or Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof, the second half of Grindhouse, the danger is that the film might fall into the trap of either being condescending without any particular insight, or so faithful that it becomes the very flawed thing it is emulating.

Black Dynamite has nothing new to say about Blaxploitation films, it just does a decent job of copying what an inept [...]

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Featured Quote (written by me)

On Cold Fish:

Though the 16 year old me described the 1994 weepie Angie, starring Geena Davis as a Brooklyn mother raising her new baby alone, as “maudlin and melodramatic,” Roger Ebert, during his TV review, referring to the multitude of soap-operaish problems piling up on the titular character, suggested that it was only in Hollywood where Angie would get a happy ending. “If they made this movie in France, Angie would have shot herself.”

Well Cold Fish was made in Japan, where Angie would have shot herself and that would have been the happy ending.