I'm Bringing Trashy Back! Ressurecting a 12-Year Bad Movie Tradition

Watching “Showgirls” is instant people-glue, like jury duty or being trapped in an elevator. When you come out the other side of that experience, you've really shared something.
Publish date:
September 26, 2011
movies, friendship, showgirls, cookies, bad movies, b movies, Trashy Movie Night

At first there were three of us, and there was "Showgirls."

I'd just moved back to Austin from my stint in California. I brought with me a husband -- a husband with Ugg flip-flops (remember those?), a Jeep and a passion for “Point Break.”

Our lives went something like this.

ME: Hey, I'm going out to get some ice for the cooler.

HIM: (as Keanu): Vaya con Dios.

Now back home, I needed to integrate him socially with the BFF I had left behind. We needed bonding.

Superficially, she and he had little in common. She liked stuff like system administration and ciabatta and NPR and Russian musical nationalists; he liked stuff like the California/Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and two-for-one burger night at Hut's.

But when we all share a world with “Showgirls,” can any of us truly say we have little in common?

I didn't think so.

Watching “Showgirls” is instant people-glue, like jury duty or being trapped in an elevator. When you come out the other side of that experience, you've really shared something.

We loved it. We wore it around. “You look better than a 10-inch dick,” she'd quote to him, totally deadpan; they were at opposite ends of the Kinsey scale. “I'm erect. Why aren't you?” he'd reply.

Thus Trashy Movie Night was born. It lived for 12 years, surviving a birth, a divorce, rehab and other calamities. At its proudest, it boasted a dozen viewers, themed food and drink and more drink still. Things kind of bottomed out the night we watched “Lake Placid”: Guests began to attempt Herculean feats of strength, lifting heavy objects and one another.

After that, we scaled back. Way back. Two viewers made a quorum, and we developed a custom of splurging on a single package of highfalutin' cookies -- Eurocookies, we called them -- as our indulgence for the evening. In the spirit of scaling back, we stuck mostly to Bahlsen biscuits or others readily available. HobNobs were for special occasions.

Really, it was about the movies -- and about how irreverently we could watch them. Like Lesley, we loved “Hackers.”

Picture some of the others:

  • Hardware
  • Rhinestone
  • Convoy
  • It's Pat
  • Cherry 2000
  • Hercules in New York
  • Mahogany
  • From Justin to Kelly
  • Battlefield Earth
  • Jesus Christ, Vampire Slayer (which we really quite liked, actually)
  • Knightriders
  • Parasite
  • Double Dragon
  • Two Moon Junction

And on and on for 12 years. We took turns selecting the trash. The selector kept his or her choice a secret until the movie was cued and the titles came on. We harvested turkeys and a few gems from the annals of low-budget precautionary science fiction, Christian mountain-climbing movies, puppet slasher flicks (but never -- never -- ones with clowns), and bloated blockbusters with big explosions.

We never took them seriously. Maybe it wasn't even the movies themselves. Maybe it just made a difference to have something -- one thing -- to not take seriously.

It's actually hard to pick out individual movies from my memory. They've coalesced together into some kind of meta-trash. We have a wiki someplace for keeping track.

For a long stretch after my kid was born, I would slump over on the couch and pass out shortly after the big reveal. I slept through the entirety of “Waterworld” almost immediately after foisting it on my friends.

Trashy Movie Night sputtered out due to a breakup (mine) and a move (hers). I think it's time to bring it back. We immediately fell into talk of web-conferencing the trash in real time and taking it global. Somebody who is not me can do that since I can't be trusted to stay awake. I did invite two friends I haven't seen in a while and two people from work who like to talk movies and could probably stand to not take things seriously for a couple of hours.

Bet you can't guess what I'm showing.