Wednesday, December 30, 2009

#405: Dirty Dancing (1987)

Director: Emile Ardolino
Cast: Jennifer Grey & Patrick Swayze

On a family vacation at a resort in the Catskills, Baby Houseman strays from her family when she hears the undulating sounds of Rock 'n Roll in an area for staff only. She'd never seen dancing like it, and her eyes are particularly struck by the professional dancer at the resort, Johnny. When Johnny's dance partner falls ill, she becomes Johnny's only hope for some of his gigs, though she can't dance for the life of her. He coaches her over the next few days, while their emotions grow more and more apparent to each other (though they were quite clear from the beginning of the film for the audience!).

The biggest problem with this film is predictability. Of course Baby's father will be against the idea of her being with the greasy-looking guy that has no future in law or medicine. Of course Baby will stay by his side no matter what. And of course, there will be a huge scene at the end in which she dances with Johnny in front of a crowd, and the two win over her father's heart.

What this film does have is some great dances. Baby's education in dance is thoroughly believable. Her starting steps are pretty awful, but not so awful that it looks staged. The audience learns with her some of the basics of ballroom dance, and by the end she's ready to be on Dancing With The Stars. Of course, Swayze's dancing is flawless.

Not much else to say. Mr. Swayze, you will be missed.

Fun Trivia (Stolen from IMDB):
  • Voted #2 Must See Movie of all time by listeners of Capital FM in London.
  • The film was re-released in 1997 solely due to a petition led by late-night talk show host Conan O'Brien in which he asked viewers to send letters calling for the film's re-release. When exhibitors finally agreed, O'Brien joked that he actually didn't like the movie all that much.
  • In the scene where Johnny and Baby are practicing dancing, and she keeps laughing when he runs his arm down hers, it was not part of the scene, she was actually laughing and his frustration was genuine. They left it because it was effective. Her falling over in this scene was unplanned too.
  • The lake practice scene was filmed at Lake Lure in the mountains of North Carolina in October. There are no close-ups because the actors were so cold that their lips were blue.


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