In the Summer of 2008, Entertainment Weekly released a list of, 100 movies which in their opinion should be considered classics. They wanted to focus on more contemporary films, so they titled the list “The New Classics,” and only put films that were made between 1983 and 2008 on the list. So the standby classics, films like The Godfather, Citizen Cane, and Gone with the Wind, need not apply. I looked at the list, and I agreed with a lot of it, except when it came to one movie in particular. The movie I am referring to is a certain love story starring Patrick Swayze.
In the 1980s sexy was spelled S-W-A-Y-Z-E
What love story, starring Patrick Swayze, that was released within the last 25 years do you think they chose to put on the list? If you are thinking Ghost, the movie that was nominated for best picture, the movie that made having sex with ghost’s cool again, the movie that made pottery class the number one couples activity for a few months in the early 90s, then you would be wrong. Ghost is not on the list.
Well, what other Patrick Swayze love story does Entertainment Weekly consider to be a classic, if not Ghost. Could it be Point Break perhaps? In my opinion Point Break is one of the greatest love stories ever told, it’s like Brokeback Mountain, but on the beach, and the on screen chemistry between Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves, it gave me goosebumps. There believable performances really made the movie come together, and off screen so did they. But sadly Point Break is not on the list. Well what other love story starring Patrick Swayze made the list?
Surely not the one about dancing and putting babies in corners. Well, as unfortunate as it maybe to hear this, Entertainment Weekly considers the movie Dirty Dancing to be a classic. Sure the movie may not be that high up on the list, squeaking in at number 65, but I don’t think that it should be considered a classic. Do you remember where you were when Dirty Dancing came out? I remember where I was, I was on the adventure of a lifetime, riding down ye ole’ fallopian tube. For those of you too young to remember the films release, perhaps you are more familiar with the films even dirtier sequel, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights? It’s a lot like the original, except with more communism. If it’s still not ringing a bell, then just think of Dirty Dancing as the the You Got Served of the 1980s.
The films most seminal line, the one so famous that it inspired the band Fall Out boy to use it as a title for one of there songs, “Nobody puts baby in the corner” is a good symbolic representation of the film as a whole. It’s sounds kind of cool, I guess, but it doesn’t make much sense. Alright Johnny Castle, I get you. Nobody puts baby in the corner, well you know what else nobody did? Put an effort into the script.
Nobody taught me how to act
Dirty Dancing, the title says it all, it is a movie about dancing, but not just any kind of dancing, we’re talking about some real dirty stuff here, but not too dirty. More like a Catholic high school senior prom kind of dirty as opposed to a Christina Aguilera music video circa 2003 kind of dirty. You know, dirty enough to keep the attention of the males in the audience, but not so dirty as to lose the PG-13 rating and be considered soft core porn.
Just look at all that dirty dancing
Dirty Dancing is the poorly written story of two star crossed lovers, who are brought together by an abortion at a Catskills mountain resort, who in the end realize that their love for dancing can only be shadowed by the love that they have for each other. That’s right, it was the need for another character to have an abortion that brought these two together, you know because nothing says romance quite like the removal of an unborn fetus from a woman’s uterus. Originally Shakespeare had intended for Romeo and Juliet to meet this same way, but at the last minute he decided against it, he didn’t want the Queen to think that he was too “Pro-Choice.”
What was the writer thinking (who in this case happened to be Eleanor Bergstein)? She couldn’t come up with a better meet-cute than, brought together by abortion? When trying to write a sexy love story, which is what Eleanor was trying to do, a good rule of thumb is to not use something that is inherently un-sexy as a major plot point, so one should avoid things such as the mentioning of venereal diseases, abortion, and Sarah Jessica Parker, just to name a few.
The movie takes place during the summer of 1963, even though it doesn’t really feel that way. I am not entirely sure why, maybe it’s the wardrobe, or the way the characters talked, but the movie feels as if it is taking place during the 80s. The only thing that reminds the audience that it’s the 60s is Patrick Swayze’s awkward haircut (I guess it’s an attempt at a pompadour) and his inexplicable urge to wear a leather jacket out in the rain. Baby Houseman (who is played by Jennifer Grey, and is a lot less of a cold hearted bitch in this one than she was in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) and her family go to some sort of summer camp for upper-middle class families in the Catskill Mountains. This is where she meets Johnny Castle, the rough and tumble bad boy who just so happens to move like Fred Astaire. Not only can he kick your ass, but he can do the lambada all over it.
The Johnny Castle character isn’t very believable, based on the fact that from real life experience this kind of bad boy-dancer hybrid does not exist. Nothing sounds less intimidating than a guy who knows how to mambo. To summarize, the rich girl falls for the guy from the proverbial wrong side of the tracks, what are the odds? On a side note,I feel that I should mention that Jennifer Gray’s parent’s were both Broadway dancers and choreographers, and Jennifer herself began her career as a dancer in Dr. Pepper commercials.
The role of Johnny Castle originally went to Billy Zane (he was in that one Low-budget indie film about a boat that hits an iceberg) but because Mr. Zane could dance about as well as the Titanic could withstand a sharp sudden impact, which is to say, not very well at all, the role was re-casted and eventually given to Patrick Swayze. Even Though Swayze didn’t have extensive movie experience at the time, his most prominent role being Darrel Curtis, when he appeared along side Tom Cruise and Emilio Estevez in The Outsiders, it is safe to say that he more than just dabbled in the realm of dance.
His mother was a dancer, she even owned her own dance studio, in which Patrick himself was a student. Patrick’s wife is also a dancer by trade. Before he hit it big at the box office Oedipus, I mean, Patrick was Danny Zuko in the Broadway production of Grease, he danced in Disney on Parade, and even performed classical ballet. That’s right, The guy who played James Dalton in Roadhouse, one of the biggest bad asses in movie history, well he used to be a ballerina. How does it feel knowing that a ballerina could kick your ass?
Similar to how Patrick Swayze carries Baby during the film’s climax, it is Patrick Swayze’s ability to bust a move that carries the film as a whole. I think that those in charge of making the movie were well aware of the fact that the plot was just an excuse for Baby Houseman and Johnny Castle to rub up on one another. That is why the two lead actors they chose had an extensive dance background.
It’s not very often that me and the movie climax at the same time
The story goes something like this, Baby befriends a few of the workers, including dance instructor Johnny Castle, and and his partner Penny Johnson. When Baby finds out that Penny is in need of an abortion that she can’t afford, Baby gives the money to Penny so that she can have the abortion, seems simple enough right? Wrong! Penny can only get an appointment on a Thursday night, the very same Thursday night her and Johnny were scheduled to perform at a nearby resort.
Baby being the young go getter that she is, offers to fill in for Penny. From that point forward Johnny not only teaches baby how to dance, but also how to love, and by that I mean they did more than just the meringue. They had sex, lots and lots of dirty, dirty sex. (the movie takes place before Roe V. Wade and we all know that abortions before 1973 were about as safe as a trepanation, so yeah, Penny almost dies.) Like I said the story isn’t worth as much as the paper it was written on, the plot is contrived and painfully predictable.
Jennifer Gray: She can dance, she can act, she can carry a watermelon
One of the positive aspects of the film was the character of Baby’s father, Dr. Jake Houseman. He was played by the late Jerry Orbach, it was nice to see him in a role before he started analyzing semen five nights a week, in Law and Order reruns. It’s ironic, as Detective Lennie Briscoe on Law and Order Jerry Orbach was responsible for bringing criminals to justice, but by being in the cast of Dirty Dancing he is an accessory to a crime, far more heinous, and far more reprehensible than anything anyone has ever done on Law and Order.
Allow me to explain. Because of the films unprecedented commercial success, it served as a launching pad for many of those involved. Patrick Swayze was catapulted into the limelight after the release of this movie, and he went on to have a pretty respectable career. Jennifer Grey… well she really hasn’t done much since this movie. Come to think of it, aside from from Patrick Swayze and Jerry Orbach, not many of the actors went on to bigger and better things. When I said that the movie served as a launching pad for many of those involved I was referring to someone who had a lot to do with the movie, but they worked behind the scenes.
I am not referring to the films director, but it’s choreographer, Kenny Ortega. He was the one the came up with most of the dance routines in the movie, and it was his dancing that stole the show. Because of the success of the movie he instantly became one of Hollywood’s go-to choreographers, this lead to many job opportunities, including Super Bowl halftime shows, the Academy Awards, and Olympic ceremonies, culminating in his magnum opus.
Kenny Ortega was the choreographer for, and the director of, all three High School Musicals. Take a moment to soak it all in… Kenny Ortega is the man responsible for cursing the world with not one but three High School Musical movies, and unleashing Zac Effron on us all. For that he shall never be forgiven and should never be allowed to direct or choreograph a motion picture ever again.
Kenny “Asshole” Ortega and Zac “Latent Homosexual” Effron
So in a way, if it wasn’t for Dirty Dancing, non of us would of ever heard the B5 remix of “Getcha head in the Game.” Dirty Dancing, a crappy movie about dancing, that lead to three even crappier movies about dancing, and for all those reasons, as well as those mentioned above, I firmly believe that Dirty Dancing should not be considered a classic. Baby Houseman may have had the time of her life dancing the summer away with Johnny Castle, but after watching the movie I couldn’t help but feel as if I had just eaten a Hot Pocket, and no matter what the circumstance, I don’t think that a movie giving you diarrhea should ever be considered a good thing.
It’s like eating at Arby’s, with out all the calories