Sunday, April 30, 2006

a classic?

I've never actually seen Dirty Dancing before, but I'd heard many people say that it was their favorite movie, so I thought it would be a great viewing experience of a classic 80s film. However, I was disappointed. The film wasn't bad, but it was nothing to get excited about. I thought that it was mostly cheesy and predictable, typical of an 80s dance film like Footloose.

The film takes place in the 1960s, and is about Baby (what kind of name is that?), a rich girl who wants to escape her sterile environment. She finds that escape with Johnny Castle, a lower-class dance instructor at the high-class summer camp in the Catskills where she vacations with her family. After his partner has to have an abortion (illegal at that time), which Baby helps her with, Baby volunteers to take her place for the climactic dancing show at the end. But, surprise, conflict ensues from her growing relationship with Johnny, as her father disapproves and as Baby tries to bridge the two worlds.

As I said, this film was extremely predictable. It was pretty easy to see that a romance would grow between Baby and Johnny and that her family would disapprove, but that everything would resolve itself in the end. It seemed to take place in the 1960s for purely derivative purposes, not to make any statements on the era, because the "dirty dancing" would have been more scandalous at that time and because the abortion was a good plot device. However, unlike in Footloose, there is no real conflict over the supposed sexual or dangerous nature of the dancing, since the film focused almost exclusively on the romance. However, I guess the abortion plotline was making a political statement, since this film was made in the more conservative Reagan years. The film also had a theme familiar to other 80s films such as Pretty in Pink, the conflict between the upper and lower classes. Baby's parents don't like her dating a lower class man, and Baby seems like a spoiled poser to Johnny's friends.

Overall, I thought the film was pretty boring and predictable, nowhere close to the classic that I've heard other people call it. I guess the best aspect of it was the dancing, which was well filmed, and the famous soundtrack, such as the classic song "Time of My Life." But it's nothing to rave about, and I'm still confused over Johnny's famous line that "Nobody puts Baby in a corner," which was pretty much a non-sequiter.

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