Every screenwriter needs a mantra, says Joe Eszterhas – an inspirational slogan pinned to the wall to keep him typing away. His is not some uplifting line of poetry, but a simple statement of Hollywood fact: "The first thing a writer must do is protect his own ass."Robert Colvile's review of Eszterhas' The Devil's Guide to Hollywood goes on to say that his box-office reign came to an end with the "disastrous" Showgirls.
Am I the only one to think that this film is actually far better than Basic Instinct (which isn't saying very much I know)? The tide turned against Paul Verhoeven not because Showgirls is a bad film but because it cast a cold eye on the American Dream. The definitive scene is when (I think) the Gina Gershon character gets to meet the singer she has long worshipped from afar. Her gushing words to him are curtailed when he assumes he can beat and rape her with impunity. It's a genuinely shocking scene.
There was a similar reaction to the great Starship Troopers, a satire-too-far of the American empire. And yes, concerned liberals, I'm on the side of the bugs.