“Spending the summer at a Catskills resort with her family, Frances “Baby” Houseman falls in love with the camp’s dance instructor, Johnny Castle.”
Director: Emile Ardolino
Writer: Eleanor Bergstein
Staring: Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey, Jerry Orbach, Wayne Knight
Release Date: August 21, 1987
I lost my invitation to this dance in the mail. I finally found, and I don’t care if my RSVP is late. I am hopping on the Dirty Dancing (1987) conga line.
Dirty Dancing is absolutely fantastic. I get it. I get the hype.
I had seen a ton of different scenes from this movie on YouTube or in culture over the years, but to see them all in sexy sequences in order gives you a whole new appreciation.
Dirty Dancing takes place at family resort in the New York Catskill Mountains and follows the coming-of-age journey of Frances “Baby” Houseman (Jennifer Grey). The sweet, do-nothing-wrong young women is twirled into a world of song and dance when she meets Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze). The two, despite having very different backgrounds, join together to help Johnny’s dance partner who is in need of an illegal abortion. When she gets sick and falls ill, it is up to Baby to step into her dancing shoes and take the reigns of rebellious freedom.
Baby and Johnny start a budding romance that is interluded with vibrant dance sequences and classic soap opera-esq drama. A disapproving father, an overeager jealous lover, an asshole rich boy, and a stubborn business owner; these are but some of the things that trap Baby and Johnny in seemingly inescapable corners.
But we all know, “nobody puts baby in a corner.”
Listen, we all know Dirty Dancing is great. I think the only person who doesn’t like and has no desire to ever watch it is my mom. Dirty Dancing trots along and brings an audience a sense of euphoria by its finish. This movie right here is possibly the hardest I have rooted for a couple to make since A Star Is Born (2018). When Johnny Castle steps into that conventional hall at the end of the movie shimmering with effortless cool like Marlon Brandon in A Street Care Named Desire (1951), I was fist pumping to high heavens knowing what was coming next.
When Patrick Swayze is wearing the all black attire, whether it be his leather jacket and shades, or his dancing uniform….I mean, it just has to be said. He is hot as balls. What Dirty Dancing flips on its head so well are societies expectations of Johnny. People really think that he is the one who got his dance partner pregnant. They are quick to blame him for a theft and pin him up as a literal poster boy for older women to ogle at.
Dirty Dancing was ahead of its time. It deals with abortion. It deals with social classes. It deals with objectification of individuals. Dirty Dancing‘s plot has far more layers than I expected. The movie doesn’t need the extra pulp, but regardless it’s still delicious to drink up. That is a testament to everyone who took part in the making of Dirty Dancing. This movie blends its outstandingly fun aspects with just enough real stakes. Such a unique concoction makes for a one-of-a-kind watching experience.
Alright, I can say this now too. I think I fell in love with Jennifer Grey during this movie. Her attitude. Her good spirit. Her good will. He fashion. Her movies. Jennifer Grey is absolutely dynamite in this movie. The characters of Baby and johnny rank among the hottest couples I have ever seen on a movie screen. It really is unfair.
I am not breaking new ground here. Dirty Dancing is really good. It stands the test of time while also being a fantastic time capsule of when it was made. It has one of the best Original Songs in movie history. “I’ve Had The Time of My Life” won the Oscar in 1988 and has become a staple for any romantic endeavor or event. Will the song be played at Emma and I’s wedding, I don’t know. If it is, we will not be able to pull off the lift, but damnit if I won’t be dancing my heart out the entire time.
STANKO RATING: A- (4.5/5 Stars)
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