Cinematheque to Screen Four of the Worst Movies Ever Made

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A scene from Showgirls.
  • A scene from Showgirls.
Generally speaking, the Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque presents a discriminating selection of films carefully curated by director John Ewing.

Often, the Cinematheque will screen obscure foreign movies, new prints of classic films and arthouse movies too arty for Cleveland Cinemas.

But for the Cleveland Cult Film Festival, which takes place at the Cinematheque from April 1 to 8, it will screen “four of the worst movies ever made.” And in a press release, Ewing assures us “it’s not an April Fool’s Joke.”

Along with the descriptions Ewing has provided, here’s the festival’s schedule.


Saturday, April 1, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, April 2, at 8:35 p.m.

MOMENT BY MOMENT


At the start of his movie career, John Travolta had a three-film contract with the Robert Stigwood Organisation. His first two pictures were Saturday Night Fever and Grease. Moment by Moment, film #3, has largely been forgotten. This is not surprising given its disastrous reception by critics and the public in 1978. The movie is a love story in which lonely, unhappily married Beverly Hills socialite Trisha Rawlings (Lily Tomlin!) falls in love with a young drifter and car valet named Vick Sunset (Travolta). Sunset’s unfortunate nickname is “Strip” (get it?); thus, whenever Trisha calls him, it sounds like she’s giving him a sexy command! Not on video or DVD.

Saturday, April 1, at 9:05 pm and Sunday, April 2, at 6:30 pm
ISHTAR


Dustin Hoffman, Warren Beatty, Isabelle Adjani, and Charles Grodin in a $51 million comedy written and directed by Elaine May and shot by the great Vittorio Storaro—what could possibly go wrong? Plenty, if you believe the film critics of 1987. Beatty and Hoffman play untalented, unsuccessful lounge singers who accept a gig in Morocco. Soon they find themselves involved with CIA political intrigue—and even regime change!—in the neighboring (fictional) republic of Ishtar. Despite its reputation, this folly and flop has many ardent admirers—among them Quentin Tarantino, Lena Dunham, and Martin Scorsese. Cleveland natives Jack Weston and Carol Kane co-star.

Friday, April 7, at 7 pm and Saturday, April 8, at 9:20 pm
SHOWGIRLS


A young drifter (Elizabeth Berkley) rises from lowly lap dancer to Vegas headliner in this sleazy maybe-satire directed by Paul Verhoeven (Elle) and written by NE Ohio’s Joe Eszterhas (Basic Instinct). A critical and financial fiasco when first released, Showgirls has become a hugely profitable cult film with defenders ranging from Jim Jarmusch and Quentin Tarantino to Jacques Rivette. With Kyle MacLachlan and Gina Gershon.

Friday, April 7, at 9:30 p.m. and Saturday, April 8, at 7 p.m.
GIGLI


Everybody knows that Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck star in this notorious stinker. But how many know that Al Pacino and Christopher Walken are also in it? Or that writer-director Martin Brest previously directed such hits as Scent of a Woman, Beverly Hills Cop and Midnight Run? Surely it’s time to take another look at this much derided romantic comedy. Larry Gigli (Affleck) is a lackey in the L.A. mob who is ordered to kidnap the brother of a federal prosecutor. But he is offended when a woman—and a lesbian, no less (Lopez)—shows up to supervise the operation.
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