Super Bowl XXXV ended around about 10 minutes to 7 in Las Vegas on the night of Jan. 28, 2001, as the Ray Lewis-led Baltimore Ravens slowly smothered the New York Giants over the course of three-plus hours at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium.
Boxing. Mixed martial arts. Desert rally racing. Wildly ill-advised motorcycle jumps over notable civic landmarks. Don’t let anyone ever say that Las Vegas doesn’t own its weird sports niches — some staged as New Year’s Eve stunt spectaculars.
Evel Knievel, of course, got the ball (and the bike, and several bones) rolling in 1967 with his New Year’s Eve jump over the Caesars Palace fountains that ended spectacularly poorly if you’re a stunt cyclist, but fantastic if you’re a TV producer. The allure of horsepower-plus-hang time-plus-Las Vegas would prove irresistible over the years, with Gary Wells trying (and failing) to conquer the Caesars fountains in September 1980 and Knievel’s son, Robbie, exorcising the fountains in April 1989 with a 170-footer that stuck the landing his father couldn’t.
And on New Year’s Eve 2008, things got weird.
Was it merely bad? Or was it so epically awful … so stupendously stupid … so breathtakingly bizarre … so toweringly terrible … that it deserves a kind of twisted cinematic canonization?
That debate over Showgirls will never die, and we thank the movie gods for it — because that’s why everything about this landmark stinker is so much fun.