Special Cinema Spotlight: Dirty Dancing

by - October 22, 2014

A Vintage Nerd

Did you have the time of your life watching this film? I don't know anyone who hasn't. Dirty Dancing has become one of those movie staples that are a must-see. And believe me I have seen this film more than any other. Not because it is my favorite but because it was always so accessible on television and just so easy to watch.

Every time I would watch this film I would learn something new about the story or the characters. But it is recently that I really felt I understood the the full story. I always focused on the music and dancing, always wondered how a little girl like Baby could snag a hottie like Johnny. But after re-watching it just the other day I finally got it!

It just wasn't about a plain girl and a gorgeous guy hooking up and dancing. It is so much more than that. That is why I find films so fascinating. The more you re-watch them (especially when some time in-between) the more you can discover things you didn't fully understand before.

Now I get it. The premise of the film is that a girl and her family in the summer of 1963 travel to Kellerman's in the Catskill Mountains. What is supposed to be a family vacation turns into a life changing summer for the main characters of "Baby" Frances Houseman (Jennifer Grey) and Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze). Baby helps Johnny and his dance partner, Penny (Cynthia Rhodes) get medical help via her father. In the mix of things she learns to dance, learns to stand up for what she believes is right, learns to apologize, and learns to love.

Dirty Dancing
Dirty Dancing
Dirty Dancing
Dirty Dancing
Dirty Dancing
Dirty Dancing

Today, three of the main actors in the film have since passed; Jerry Orbach (Baby's father), Patrick Swayze (Johnny), and Max Cantor (Robbie). I have to be honest I have not been able to watch a Swayze film until just the other day. I cannot believe it took me five years since his passing. After I watched it again it was like seeing it for the first time.

It is filled with great music from the early 1960's. And although it does look like an 1980's film set in the 1960's, I say they gave it a good go of it and it came out to be one heck of a movie. I was so glad I was able to view this film with new eyes and understand things I didn't before. There was a lot of "don't judge a book by its cover" theme throughout the film, something I didn't realize until now. I think that sends out a powerful message and perhaps that is one of the reasons that it is such a fan favorite amongst people. It doesn't hurt that Swayze was a fox in this film and that the good, plain girl scores the dishy guy in the end. Good for her I say!

Have you seen this film? If so, how many times? Don't be shy. It's okay if you saw it over 50 times. I know I have!

By the way, do you think Johnny and Baby live happily ever after in the end or do you think he marries Penny and they open up a dance studio together? Swayze shared his views on it HERE. I would love to hear what you think!!

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3 comments

  1. Dirty Dancing is a go-to feel-good movie for me. I suppose I can't really imagine Johnny and Baby "making it work" long term, but I'd rather not think about it! It's funny, but I never thought of her as a plain girl. Shy, sheltered and awkward, but not plain! I do like how her costume and make-up in the movie develop a new style as she gains confidence.

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  2. Your opening line here made me smile ear-to-ear. This is such a fabulous 80s classic. I like Footloose, but Dirty Dancing has always been my fave of the two (three, actually, as Flash Dance falls into this general camp for sure, too), and I routinely find myself humming it's iconic tune and also using the "Baby in a corner" quote. :)

    ♥ Jessica

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  3. This is one of my all-time favorite movies. I'm resisting the urge to put my baby in a corner and take a picture...

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