Our favorite stinkers

This week's Best Worst Movie celebrates Troll 2. We've got some defending to do too.



  • SHOWGIRLS (1995)



The toxic rep: MTV’s annoying Tom Green jettisons any shred of good taste for this wildly offensive comedy about an infantile cartoonist feuding with his fed-up father (Rip Torn). Broken bones, a horse cock, a baby twirled on its umbilical cord and Drew Barrymore all figure in the plot.
What people missed: Though massively panned, the movie delivers huge dividends if you can embrace Green’s shtick and savor Torn’s fury. “We can live like kings!” Green screams from behind a scuba mask, as his dad flings him out of the shower stall. So much of the violence in this movie is painful, especially the abuses visited on an innocent neighbor kid, that it almost feels like an intellectual parody of slapstick. The credit must go to Green. Even Roger “zero stars” Ebert has come around (a little).—JR


The toxic rep: This adaptation of Gore Vidal’s gender-defying 1968 novel, starring Raquel Welch as the rebellious transsexual “whom no man will ever possess,” was widely reviled for its aesthetic ineptitude. The image of Welch impaling a straitlaced cowboy with a strap-on dildo certainly didn’t help matters.
What people missed: Ignore the botched Hollywood satire and embrace the fun-loving camp: There are cheeseball musical numbers (one featuring an aged Mae West enticing her audience to “taste all the fruit”), cameos from future pinup celebs Farrah Fawcett and Tom Selleck, and a plethora of old film clips that enhance the numerous double entendres. Plus, any movie that has film critic Rex Reed maniacally asking, “Where are my tits?!?” qualifies as some kind of classic.—KU


The toxic rep: Paul Verhoeven’s Sin City revamp of All About Eve gave audiences plenty to howl about: head-scratchingly bad dialogue (“It must be weird, not having somebody come on you”); acting that not only chewed scenery, but digested and defecated it into audience’s laps; and the single most unerotic sex scene to ever involve a swimming-pool fountain. Drag queens immediately recognized a kindred over-the-top spirit; everybody else cried fowl—as in turkey.
What people missed: While it’s hard to stand behind the contrarian claims that Verhoeven made Showgirls in the spirit of satirical irony or Sirkian melodrama (that would require ignoring Joe Eszterhas’s script), this may be the most satisfying, spot-on screen portrait of Vegas ever. Forget Sinatra’s Rat Pack cool or Scorsese’s mobbed-up Casino; the trashy, sleazy, dog-hump-dog world that the Dutch director presents is a far more anthropologically accurate take on our own Sodom and Gomorrah.—DF

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