‘Magic Mike’ is the ‘Citizen Kane’ of stripper movies
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If ‘Magic Mike’ is the ‘Citizen Kane’ of stripper movies ...

“Magic Mike,” director Steven Soderbergh’s male stripper movie, has been called the “Citizen Kane” of stripper movies by Entertainment Weekly columnist Libby Gelman-Waxner (pen name for screenwriter Paul Rudnick), and the quote is being played on TV commercials for the movie everywhere. But if “Magic Mike” is the “Citizen Kane,” then where does that leave all the stripper movies that came before it? Here’s a quick rundown of stripper movie classics and where they stand in the film pantheon. (Warner Bros.)
Blurred alliances and corruption adorn “Zombie Strippers” and “Training Day,” two films that leave the characters with tough ethical choices. When dancer Kat becomes a zombie, she becomes the star of the Rhino club, enticing other dancers to give up their humanity for fame. Similarly, when new cop Jake Hoyt discovers Det. Alonso Harris deals in the crime he’s paid to prevent, he must decide whether to follow suit. It’s like junior high all over again. (Sony Pictures / Warner Bros.)
One is set in industrial England and features naked men in questionable physical shape. The other starts off in the dust bowl of the Great Depression where gaunt “Okies” like Henry Fonda are making their way West. But stick with us. Aren’t the themes universal? Desperate people faced with economic ruin pursue any way to support their families. The Brits just had more fun. While our 1940 review called “Grapes” “relentless in its realism, somber and depressing,” the “Full Monty” was a crowd-pleaser, quickly becoming the U.K.'s highest grossing film ever after its 1997 release. (Twentieth Century Fox )
How far will a mother go for her son? And how far will that son go to protect his mother? Goldie Hawn’s character begins stripping to support her small family, and Mrs. Bates warned young Norman away from sex in order to protect him in Alfred Hitchcock’s classic suspenser. Of course, both boys discovered their mothers’ double lives and turned to crime to fix things. One got involved with drug-runners, the other turned to murder. But both did it for Mama. (MGM / Universal)
The 1995 Paul Verhoeven cult classic “Showgirls” starred Gina Gershon as Cristal, the star of a Las Vegas casino’s topless show, and Elizabeth Berkley as Nomi, a new-in-town stripper trying to become a showgirl. In the film (the first NC-17 movie to be given wide release in mainstream theaters), Cristal is a cruel diva, and Nomi stops at nothing to get what she wants, even pushing Cristal down the stairs. Though often listed as one of the worst films of all time, “Showgirls” is extremely derivative of “All About Eve,” the 1950 Joseph L. Mankiewicz drama that won six Oscars, including best picture. In that film, Bette Davis played Margo Channing, an aging Broadway star, and Anne Baxter played Eve Harrington, a young fan who uses flattery, blackmail and seduction to usurp Margo’s success. (20th Century Fox / MGM)
Our own Kenneth Turan once compared Demi Moore’s intensity to that of Joan Crawford, so we’re going to go with it. Both films are based on novels written by authors who also worked as journalists. Both feature determined single mothers with no-good exes. Both mothers make tough choices to protect their daughters. And while Moore’s movie daughter (played by real-life daughter Rumer, 8 years old when the film came out in 1996) seems sweet, who is to say she wouldn’t have grown up to be just as treacherous as Pierce’s man-stealing, money-hungry progeny? (Handout; Kerry Hayes / Castle Rock)
Lindsay Lohan certainly has a penchant for playing twins. Her breakout role in Disney’s 1998 update of “The Parent Trap” stars Lohan as twin sisters separated at birth, who find each other at a summer camp and switch places. Lohan again played twin sisters separated at birth in the widely-panned 2007 horror flick “I Know Who Killed Me,” in which one sister goes missing as a serial killer terrorizes her town, and the other is a stripper found on the side of a road. But while the sisters in the horror film use twin telepathy to escape a serial killer, the sisters in “The Parent Trap” use their twin talents to trick their parents, pull pranks and do adorable secret handshakes. (TriStar Pictures / Walt Disney Pictures)
It sounds cheesy, but it’s true: These two are “dancing for their lives.” One grows up in the hard knocks of northern England while the other spends her day welding iron in Pittsburgh. Billy taps out his anger on the streets while Alex takes to the strip club to dance it all out. Despite their unconventional training grounds — think Mawby’s bar and a boxing ring ballet class — the two wow the experts and make the big time. (Paramount Pictures; Giles Keyte )
The lives of several strangers are brought together through chance on a Christmas Eve in Los Angeles. There’s the mortician, the mobster, the transvestite prostitute, the suicidal ex-priest, the strip club owner and, of course, the stripper with a sick kid. The indie flick “Powder Blue” came and went in 2009 without much fanfare (outside of the fact that Jessica Biel played the stripper), but it was certainly looking to cash in on the box office and Oscar success of “Crash,” which featured a racist cop, a gangster, a Hollywood director, a district attorney and no strippers brought together by chance in Los Angeles. (Speakeasy Releasing / Lionsgate)
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