Showgirls (1995) – Elizabeth Berkley
Sometimes a movie is so bad, it completely and utterly destroys a career before it even has the fair chance to flourish. Such is the case with Showgirls. (And come on, you knew this one would be here, didn’t you?) After four seasons as good girl Jesse Spano on the hugely popular Saved by the Bell, Elizabeth Berkley was looking to break away from that image and flex some serious acting chops. For her first starring film role, she played Nomi, the street smart hustler who works her way up the ranks to be a showgirl in Las Vegas. The movie’s release was widely anticipated, partly for people interested in seeing Berkley’s acting skills and partly for its controversial NC-17 rating, the only widely released film ever to be rated as such. But everything about the movie was considered a travesty when is finally made its premiere.
The script, the acting, the positively painful sex scenes- despite the filmmakers supposed extensive research into that lifestyle, nothing about the movie had any semblance of realism to it. It was a full on critical and commercial failure Other actors in the film have publicly distanced themselves from it and Berkley especially suffered during the backlash. She was dropped by her agent after the film’s release and supposedly other agents refused to return her calls. Since its initial release, Showgirls has become a bonafide cult classic, with many people, including the screenwriter, trying to claim that it is intentionally bad and made to be viewed as a satire. Berkley’s career never did get the chance to thrive after the Showgirls debacle, and she has since played various roles on television and in smaller films.
While many actors and actresses have come and gone over the course of movie history, some of them have truly bombed their way out of the industry. Whether a bad movie can be blamed on acting, a poorly written script, bad directing, or a combination of all factors, they are out there. And unfortunately, someone usually has to pay the price for their existence!