innocent_man: (goodguys)
[personal profile] innocent_man
Dirty Dancing is, of course, the romance/drama that kicked off Patrick Swayze's career. Jennifer Grey is really the star as Baby, a young adult vacationing with her family in the summer of 1963.

The resort is hokey and not entirely interesting to her, and then she meets the dancers - specifically Johnny (Swayze). Enthralled by the style of dancing they prefer away from the stuffy guests (which is basically clothed, musical fucking) she gets involved in their trials and tribulations, including getting money from her trusting father (Jerry Orbach) to help another dancer get an abortion. Meanwhile, her sister (Jane Brucker) is getting romanced by a snotty-ass waiter (Max Cantor), who happens to be the one that knocked up the other dancer in the first place. He shows Baby the book that changed his life - The Fountainhead, which tells you basically what you need to know about him.

The movie is really about Baby and her finding love, having sex, awakening as an adult, and learning that for all her father talks about inclusiveness and helping people, he's just as judgmental as a lot of other folks in his tax bracket. But she learns that while lying to him, and the relationship between them and how it's strained is really a compelling part of the movie. The romance between Baby and Johnny, likewise, works because Johnny isn't a complete tool - he's lower-class than she is, but he's not stupid and, more importantly, he's a good man.

My favorite character might well be Baby's father. For one thing, I'm fan of Jerry Orbach. For another, while he doesn't think real highly of Johnny and he seems pretty classist, he still helps when he's called on to help, and his motivation isn't so much "keep daughter away from hoodlums" as "protect daughter from an obviously bad situation." And, at the end, when he learns that it wasn't Johnny that impregnated Penny (Cynthia Rhodes), he delivers one of my favorite lines: "When I'm wrong, I say I'm wrong." Good man.

I saw this movie when it was in theaters in 1987, which means I would have been all of 12 or 13. I missed a lot of it, but watching it now, I think it's held up pretty well. The dancing is pretty, but the script is decent without being overly schlocky. And most of the soundtrack is good.

My grade: B+
Rewatch Value: Low

Next up: Dirty Pretty Things


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