Fave Film #26 – Dirty Dancing


Cast- Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey, Jerry Orbach

Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman is visiting Kellerman’s resort in the Catskills with her family before she heads off to college in the fall.  Always the good girl who wants to make the world a better place she is struck by the lust bug when she sees sexy Johnny Castle doing the dirty dance.  She helps his childhood friend and by doing that is able to be close to Johnny.  As a dance instructor at the resort the older Johnny knows he shouldn’t get involved with Baby, but some things are just meant to be.

Why I love it- Where to start?  Thanks to Netflix streaming I was able to watch this for free this week and was amazed that I could have forgotten how good it was.  I always think of it as one of the core 1980’s movies of my teen years, but watching it again after so many years made me fall in love with this romance all over again. 

Let’s start with Baby.  I think any teenage girl will see at least some part of themself in Baby.  She is awkward, insecure, and at 17 wants to grown up already.  She also exudes this idealism and goodness that appeals to me.  She made Johnny want to be a better person and isn’t that what we all want our significant others to think?  Jennifer Grey somehow pulls off a 17 year old to perfection, although she was 27 at the time.

Next is Johnny, who, let’s face it, is the romantic bad boy that we all secretly hoped we could snag and keep when we were teens.  We would be the only one who saw the real man inside, the good person he was (okay, maybe I’m projecting here).  Somehow this older guy who had ‘had many women’ fell under Baby’s spell and still managed to maintain his rough edges. I mean, c’mon, “Nobody puts Baby in a corner” made every girl fall in love.  I loved Patrick Swayze in this role.

So, it was a love story, but it was also about being your best self and not judging other people.  And the soundtrack is one that takes me back every time.  I always gets a little teary at the last song ‘Time of Your Life’ and this week was no different.  Don’t ask me why.  As for the dancing, it was like watching Dancing with the Stars, only less sparkly and with more heat. 

The story, the acting, the music, the dancing all make this a great movie and one that I should watch more that every ten years or so.  There were so many clips to choose from, but I went with Patrick Swayze singing She’s Like the Wind with clips from the movie.  He was so talented.