Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Dirty Dancing

Tonight I saw Dirty Dancing, starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey. And yes, it still holds up.

Why am I writing a review of it now, 20 years after its release? Well, that's why. Tonight (and last night) all over the country, there were limited screenings of the film in honor of its 20th Anniversary. And to be honest, I'm the type of geek these 'fan events' are made for. The minute I saw the trailer for it months ago, my nostalgia antennae went up and I knew I couldn't miss it.

I'm so glad I didn't.

For a Seattle crowd, the group was loud—but in a good way. The energy was high, the giggles were frequent and the men were, well, scarce.

It had a crowd-participation vibe from the moment the black and white screen flashed with "Be My Baby" playing in the background. Everyone whistled when Patrick Swayze first appeared and clapped at the end of the first (awkward) dance between Johnny and Baby.

No one talked during the dialogue; everyone bopped in their seats when a great dance number took place.

This is the kind of cinema camaraderie I live for.

But getting back to the movie—yes, it's cheesy, campy and all of the other anti-snobby words you could call it, but it's also a movie about Social Class. And Abortion. And True Love. And Creative Expression.

The characters are drawn with very bold strokes, but in this case, it's a welcome blatancy.

And although the movie takes place in the 60s, it's got a definite 80s vibe with tunes from Eric Carmen and the like, providing the romantic backdrop.

A few of the scenes (Johnny and Baby crawling toward one another lip syncing; Baby practicing her dance moves on the steps) really took me back to the age I was when this came out—12.

I distinctly remember knowing every important line, singing songs from the soundtrack at slumber parties, and having a serious crush on Mr. Swayze.

Good times.

And after 20 years, since I still feel like getting up in the aisle and dancing along with the characters throughout, it must be a good film.

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