Dirty Dancing (1987)
Director: Emile Ardolino; Starring: Jennifer Grey, Patrick Swayze, Jerry Orbach
IMDb Plot summary: Spending the summer in a holiday camp with her family, Frances (‘Baby’) falls in love with the camp’s dancing teacher.
Dirty Dancing is essentially the cinematic equivalent of “Uptown Girl”: it’s got the age-old good girl/bad boy lovers, it’s corny beyond words (in the most deliriously satisfying way), and it makes you want to dance like nobody’s business.
As the title suggests, the main attraction here is the dance moves, and they do not disappoint. The dance sequences are hip-grindingly breathtaking: unlike much of today’s dancing, it’s not just sexual, it’s sexy too. And you know what else is sexy? Patrick Swayze. Patrick Swayze is sexy. As in, sign-me-up-for-dance-classes-this-instant sexy. I think that ought to be mentioned, because, let’s face it, it’s an important factor to consider when most of the dialogue isn’t exactly enthralling.
That’s not to say there’s nothing else to enjoy here. Jennifer Grey is an engaging and believable heroine; all the “coming-of-age” symbolism, though a tad obvious, builds a more interesting storyline; and the nostalgic 60s soundtrack is also a plus. The seemingly endless string of cliches also seems forgivable due to the vitality with which they’re executed: the film embraces such sentimentality so passionately, it just seems all the more heart-warming for it. Whether you’re a fan of dance movies or not, Dirty Dancing just might win you over.