Friday, April 11, 2014

DIRTY DANCING (1987)

For as old as it is DIRTY DANCING has held up remarkably well.  I guess it has to do with the 1963 setting.  During the summer of 1963, the Houseman family (mom, dad, two late-20's teenage daughters) go a for a summer vacation up at a Catskill Mountains resort.  The resort is geared more towards the older crowd so younger daughter "Baby" is bored.  That is until she discovers some of the staff secretly "dirty dancing" over in their private quarters.  The initial display of dirty dancing is pretty much just vertical, clothed dry-humping, but later when Baby is convinced to substitute for a sick dancer at a dance performance at another resort then the dancing is pretty subdued.  Even in their private time we never get to see Baby truly dirty dancing like we saw at the beginning.  Although I guess the "dirty" in dirty dancing simply refers to Rock N' Roll.

Lack of dirty dancing aside, DIRTY DANCING is still a fun film.  The quality of the filmmaking is better than I expected and I really got into the relationship of Baby and the resorts number one dancing stud, Johnny Castle.  It's easy to see why this film was so popular upon its initial release.  Great music (I loved the Mickey & Sylvia - "Love Is Strange" scene), good pace, nice photography, Patrick Swayze looking dreamy as fuck, an illegal abortion, Jennifer Grey looking properly nerdy, but then blossoming and becoming more confident in her own sexuality, strong acting (especially by Jerry Orbach), jean shorts, classic cars, beautiful scenery. Now I want to know if Baby and Johnny stayed together?  As much as I would like for them to, I think that after that summer they drifted apart, mainly for the reasons Johnny stated earlier: they come from different walks of life.  Or maybe he joined her in the Peace Corps and they taught dancing.  Johnny and Baby dancing to "I Can't Help Myself" by The Four Tops, smiling while looking into each other eyes, on the an African savanna with the sun going down behind them, surrounded by dozens of smiling little faces. Yeah, I think I'll go with that.