A Sublime Failure – A Short Documentary


Twenty years ago, David Schmader saw Showgirls for the first time. Within six minutes of watching this notorious Hollywood flop, he knew he was in love. “Lots of bad movies are boring because they’re repetitive,” says Schmader, “But Showgirls is like ten bad movies trying to kill each other.”

Captivated by the movie’s “density of failure,” Schmader developed an annotated, live-viewing experience, guiding audiences as they follow Nomi Malone in her search for stardom in the hallowed theaters of Las Vegas. Pausing briefly at crucial plot twists, Schmader provides commentary about the questionable sexual politics in the film as well as behind-the-scenes insight into the strange and just-plain-terrible filmmaking decisions made by the director, writer and lead actors. He soon found himself touring festivals across the country, spreading the gospel of Showgirls like some kind of gay, barnstorming preacher of camp. The screenings became so popular, Schmader was eventually asked by MGM to record his commentary for an anniversary DVD of the film.

My short, A SUBLIME FAILURE, features Schmader as he reflects on his strange journey and provides his “greatest hits” of observations, supported by clips from the film and excerpts from Paul Verhoeven’s very serious writing about the film made at the time of production.

A SUBLIME FAILURE is currently available for film festival screenings.

List of Screenings:

Local Sightings Film Festival, Seattle WA. Sunday, September 23 in the Local Legends shorts program.

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