This review is dedicated to the memory of my Mum, Brenda who REALLY adored this film (and Patrick Swayze).
There are some films in my humble opinion that are beyond criticism, the first Star Wars (I do not refer to it as A New Hope) and An American Werewolf in London are two that immediately spring to mind. Saying that, I count ‘Dirty Dancing’ in that elite group of films as well. For a bloke who has always appreciated the horror and exploitation genre, some people find it hard to believe I truly love this film (and Grease) so read on.
Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman is going on a trip with her sister and parents to Kellermans, a kind of middle/upper class Pontins in the Catskill Mountains. Upon arrival, it’s all looks rather cheesy and soon enough ‘Baby’ has stumbled across the staff quarters where they generally have a good time away fom the old farts and twits vacationing at the resort. Top man amongst the staff is Johnny (Patrick Swayze) one hell of a good looking fella and a bloody good dancer as well, naturally she falls for his charms.
Okay then, let’s check off some plot points and key parts of the film.
- Baby tries to help Penny with a ‘problem’ so she has to learn to dance so she can partner Johnny at one of their outside gigs. Cue loads of great scenes, awesome choreography and top tunes.
- It all goes pear shaped with the solution to Penny’s problem and Baby’s Dad (a doctor) has to save the day. He then forbids her to stay away from the ‘dance people’.
- Baby and Johnny ‘get it on’.
- Johnny gets the bullet from Kellermans but comes back at the end for the final dance and possibly one of cinema’s greatest endings. It you don’t have a warm fuzzy feeling after seeing that, you have no soul.
Of course there’s plenty more going on in the film and you could be here all day listing them. A couple of my all time favourites are the thieving Schumachers and their wallet stealing. Baby’s dopey sister singing and of course one of the old dears at the end throwing her fur coat off and having a dance. I haven’t even mentioned the melons or one of cinema’s immortal lines, you know the one? Okay, some of the acting is dreadful but honestly I really couldn’t give a monkey’s toss.
Lionsgate has pulled out the stops for this Anniversary edition as Dirty Dancing thoroughly deserves it. There’s stacks of extras with one of Patrick Swayze’s last interviews, deleted scenes, various celebs going on how much they love the film and a couple of commentaries. Also in the package is some Kellermans merchandise. Not bad for a film that was made on the cheap and originally destined to go straight to video. The phenomenon continues with the soundtrack still selling and the stage show packing out theatres worldwide. Mind you, the less said about the dodgy TV series and the ‘sequel’ Havana Nights the better. My one moan is that the Vestron Pictures logo has been removed from the start of the film, that’s a bit like no 20th Century Fox on Star Wars now – boo!!
So there we have it, easily one of my favourite films of all time. If anyone wishes to contest my critique of this fine picture, please feel free to pop round so I can give you a really hard slap and send you on your way.
“Nobody puts this Blu-ray in the corner…”
- Starring Patrick Swayze Jennifer Grey Jerry Orbach Cynthia Rhodes Wayne Knight
- Director Emile Ardolino
- Distributor Lionsgate