Awesomely Awful! Staying Alive vs Showgirls – Leslie Goshko

staying alive vs showgirls


by Leslie Goshko, who just happens to be a semi-finalist for the Andy Kaufman Award and performs in the competition November 1st at Gotham Comedy Club.

I honestly didn’t think it could be done. I didn’t think the possibility even existed. But then, I witnessed it with my own eyes. The movie to rival my all-time favorite, NY Magazine-rated worst sequel ever…Showgirls. In case you aren’t familiar with either of these movies, here’s the gist: In Showgirls, Nomi is a wannabe dancer with a chip on her shoulder who likes to fuck dudes (and sometimes girls). In Staying Alive, Tony is a wannabe dancer with a chip on his shoulder who likes to fuck girls (no dudes, just girls). But what these two movies have in common, besides a ridiculous amount of ill-fitting spandex, is that they are both so deliciously horrible, they swing right past “despicable” and straight to “awesome”!* How is that possible? Well, they incorporate the must-have elements that make a great dance movie stand the test of time:

1. Characters who get angry and yell out random, quotable one-liners:

“Man everybody got AIDS and shit!” (Showgirls)

Not to be outdone by…

“I wouldn’t trust him. He looks like a demented paratrooper!” (Staying Alive)

2. Aggravated choreographers who want you to know they see the BIG picture:

“I got one interest here, and that’s the show. I don’t care whether you live or die. I want to see you dance and I want to see you smile.” (Showgirls)

“The show’s the thing, Manero. NOT YOU! You remember that!” (Staying Alive)

3. Antagonists who accuse the lead characters of sleeping their way to the top:

“You fuck him for the spot? Or you fuck him ‘cause you wanted to? I say you did it for the spot.” (Showgirls)

“Who do you think you’re dealing with… some little groupie who jumps when you call? Is that who you think I am? We met, we made it. What do you think it was? True love? And you say I used you, but what about you using me? Everybody uses everybody, don’t they?” (Staying Alive)

4. Live club singers who solve life’s mysteries one terrifically terrible song lyric at a time:

“Should we walk into the wind?
Maybe fall when autumn falls?
Let’s walk into the wind.
You have to learn to touch, by touching. Touch me, touch me if you can.
We’ve reached the end of the beginning, in this beatnik love affair…” (Showgirls)

“You gotta work a little harder than the next guy
Be a little smarter if you wanna survive
You gotta move a little faster than the last time
Know just what you’re after
And never look behind
You gotta look out for number one…” (Staying Alive)

5. And last, but certainly not least, ass-busting audition/rehearsal montage scenes:

And there you have it! The secret, now-known, elements that make a long-lasting cinematic guilty pleasure. Trends will come and go. Friendships, they may fade. But whether we like it or not, just like adolescent acne, Showgirls and Staying Alive will be here FOREVER!

*Although, I do have to admit that for a long time I maintained that Staying Alive was a legitimately good movie, much to the contrary of every single person I’ve ever met on the planet. Now I know how Christ must have felt being so outnumbered.

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