Dirty Dancing (1987)

My 40th review in this series and we land here.  Aaah, You’ve had the time of your life, happy memories.  This dancing genre has so many casualties with way more misses than hits.  Dirty Dancing, however, can proudly be ranked up there at the top with the likes of Flashdance and Footloose.   This Oscar award winning (for the original song) movie is chock full of toe-tapping numbers that keeps what is a rather simple and predictable story line humming along without you noticing it has zero depth.

Jennifer Grey freshly off of  Ferris Bueller’s Day Off jumps into the role of Baby, the youngest daughter of a Doctor family that find themselves in a Virginian resort up in the mountains.  This is where we meet Johnny, played by ever flexible Patrick Swayze who is the local entertainment dancer who finds himself being quite the gigolo for lonely housewives on their retreat.

The age difference between these characters make for an interesting extra dynamic on screen, with Swayze 35 at the time, and Grey only 27.  She looks far younger on screen (which is good because she is meant to be a teenager) and conversely he looks far older.

So while the father is morally against this hookup due to a misunderstanding about the ethics of Johnny, he doesn’t seem to be at all concerned at what seems to be a huge age gap for his virginal daughter!

As an aside, rumor has it that Billy Zane and Sharon Stone auditioned for these parts.  I cannot begin to imagine what the movie would have looked like with those two. A reminder just how important a role the casting director has.

The soundtrack is what makes this movie, set in the early 1960s, there is many a hit of the decade thrown at this story that doesn’t at any point feel contrived, but a natural fit to the flow of the story.   Because of that, Dirty Dancing, lends itself perfectly to a movie you can throw on in the background and not pay it too much lip service, but instead enjoy the music and lookup every so often to catch some of the ironic classic lines No one puts Baby in the corner.

I first seen this movie as a young teenager and of course I was in as much love with Grey as the females at the time with Swayze.  She never repeated the success of Dirty Dancing which was the highlight of her acting career.   Swayze however went on to do many more ironic movies, including what probably is his shining glory, Sam in Ghost.

A classic movie that doesn’t suffer from aging, and while the story is horrendously weak and some of the supporting characters wooden, it still delivers a solid performance. 


Viewing Date
Sunday, 27th September 2015


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Author: Alan Williamson

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