Ok so , I just want to state right of the bat. This movie made me a bisexual mess.... both Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey... I just. God this movie.
Something I want to congratulate this movie for is their soundtrack. It’s actually extremely clever and PERFECTION though the entire film. I love when movies will do that, when the songs are not just for background but actually hold deeper meaning either in the title or lyrics. Like how half the songs, though love songs like any other , specifically included Baby. Also all the songs were just catchy as hell but that’s just me. Love is strange. That whole scene just mmm 👌
The story is actually more then I expected initially, the setting is both kinda ￼ hysterical but also extremely efficient? Just Dance instructor that drives the ￼ cougars wild is both funny and sad. The movie does do the common storyline of
￼￼seamingly has everything
Throw money at problem or get daddy’s help and it’s fine
Except uh oh being rich means basically being a prop to your parents and not your on thing, you think you know it all when you know nothing in life
Envy those below you, romanticizing being poor but are shocked when it’s not that great
Doesn’t have much
Rough on the outside, doesn’t want to show the other anything, actually a sweetie
The responsibilities￼ ￼ , stress, work and work , was on the streets or street ™️ at some point
Envy and hate those above you to find out it’s not that great for them either
However semi tropy that is I’m always a sucker for the Romeo and Juliet , wrong side of the tracks sort of romance. If my obsession with pretty in pink hasn’t told you that yet. I’m also loving that it’s also a stand up for what you love/ believe in story as well as a Get with the times old man™️ sort of thing. As much as it does the more trope/basic plot points it stands out to me personally. I’m not usually a romance person but I’m living for this movie.
I’m really not doing it justice by just talking about the tropes it does. Penny, the whole major plot point around her? How the problem pushes forth the entire plot itself? Also how teaching baby to dance leads to several montage scenes .... have I ever mentioned how I’m a SUCKER for montage scenes especially with great music.
Do I even need to talk about the dancing?! Like holy shit. Yes yes yes yes yes yes hello yes.
The outfits, the music, the dancing?! Hell yes
Also all my love for Tito. You were there for 3 minutes and I love you.
I don’t care who you are, this line is WAY better then the baby in a corner one :
I feel a new obsession coming on and I blame absolutely all of you even though no one ￼ suggested it
𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐦𝐚𝐧𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐜𝐚𝐥𝐥. this is a permanent starter call for baby houseman. she is currently listed as a secondary muse , which essentially means i do have quite a bit of muse for her , but not as much as primary and much more than request muses. this also means that i may be a bit more selective with what plots or which characters i write her with. by liking this post you give me permission to tag you in random starters , contact you about writing with her , etc. ***
*** keep in mind i am extremely flexible when plotting. if you enjoy this character , yet aren’t sure how they might fit into you character’s world or vice versa , do not worry. as long as you’re willing to toss ideas around with me , we’ll come to a compromise. scout’s honor.
Currently watching The Take’s video on The Jewish American Princess - Beyond the Stereotype. I have no memory of Rachel from Friends or Cher from Clueless or Baby from Dirty Dancing being Jewish so I was extremely thrown off.
Well, I liked it! The soundtrack is literally the music I was born to, so I guess I would like it, right? Anyway, for somebody who isn’t a big fan of romance films, I do think this is an engaging film, with an engaging central romance. Plus, the dissection of class politics during the time is interesting, if a liiiiiittle superficial. From what I’ve read, there’s more to this film subtextually, particularly in terms of the Jewish-American population at the time during which the film takes place. But I won’t get into that here.
Let’s jump right into the Review, yeah? If you’ve only seen this post, check out the Recap if you’d like more info on this film! OK, let’s go!
Cast and Acting: 8/10
Great cast, great acting, and GODDAMN, Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey have some amazing chemistry. It’s the highlight of the movie, and sells it all on its own. But then, why an 8? Because the casting of literally every character just...doesn’t fit with their age. Yeah, the ages are all of here, and NOBODY looks their age, and it DISTRACTS ME SO. And so, there are a few points taken away in this category. But for what they have, these guys are awesome.
Plot and Writing: 7/10
This is, by far, the weakest part of this movie, and not really for the writing. The script is a partially autobigraphical work by Eleanor Bergstein, a “teenage mambo queen” whose family summered at a resort hotel in the Catskills, where she would dance. Neat, huh? Anyway, this was a pretty solidly written film. Shame the plot is pretty goddamn cardboard. Yeah, it’s a REALLY simple and overdone plot, sorry to say. And that’s OK, it still works fine, but it is noticeable. And so, for a relatively unoriginal Romeo-and-Juliet style plot, we’re taking off a couple of points.
Directing and Cinematography: 8/10
Emile Ardolino hadn’t exactly directed a lot of well-known films. His most famous films were this and Sister Act. Sadly, he died from AIDS complications in 1993, and I would’ve liked to see more from him, as the direction was great in this movie, especially for a movie centered around dance. Jeffrey Jur’s cinematography is also worth talking about...when it really matters. He doesn’t get to show off too much, but we see it highlighted in some of the less-cluttered scenes, like the one above.
Production and Art Design: 8/10
Does this film scream early ‘60s? Does it say it? yeah, it says early ‘60s, sure. Pretty well, even. But even then, it’s not exactly loud. May be it doesn’t need to be, but this film legitimately feels far more ‘80s to me than ‘60s.
Music and Editing: 9/10
Why in the hell is this not a 10, you ask? Here’s the thing, the music in this movie? GREAT. Part of that is due to the composers for the movie, John Morris, Erich Bulling, and Jon Barns. And the other part, of course, is due to the kick-ass sampled soundtrack. What can I say? It’s fantastic! BUT...also anachronistic. Some background songs are clearly ‘80s songs, and the most famous song of the film, the Academy Award and Grammy Award-winner, the Jimmy Ienner song “(I’ve Had) The Time of my Life...” is CLEARLY an ‘80s song. And as much as I love that song, AND I DO, that is a legit issue with the period setting of this film. But still, despite that, the editing and music of this film deserve nearly full credit.
80%! B for Baby!
This was supposed to be a “chick flick,” right? Although...in retrospect, maybe I don’t truly know what that means. Let’s re-examine that term, yeah (and also whether that term should even be used, let’s be honest)? But...with which movie? There are SO MANY choices. Was...was this a mistake?
There are two people to credit for the beginning of this month. The first is my girlfriend, who asked that I represent her with this GIF.
Thank you, dear. Anyway, this is one of her favorite romance films, and she’s also not a big romance movie person. She was shocked that I hadn’t seen it, and that’s because of the second person to credit here: my Mom.
That is my Mom in the late ‘80s with her Pomeranian, Pugsley. Yup. This is just the GODDAMN SURFACE of my Mom, who’s quirky as shit. Love her for it, though. But, OK, why is my Mom involved here? Because this is also one of her favorite films. My Dad’s, too, but I’ll talk more about him in April.
However, if you read the Romance February introduction from yesterday, you might be wondering something. If my Mom’s taste in romance movies was so prevalent in my early life, how in the hell have I never seen this movie, one of her favorites? Especially considering the fact that, TMI here, but I WAS BORN TO THE FILM’S SOUNDTRACK. YES. REALLY. HOW HAVE I ESCAPED THIS MOVIE?
Yup. No clue. Shall we remedy that? SPOILERS AHEAD!!!
It’s 1963 in the Catskills, where Frances “Baby” Houseman (Jennifer Grey), a politically conscious young woman on her way into the Peace Corps, is going on vacation with her parents, Jake and Majorie Houseman (Jerry Orbach and Kelly Bishop), and her sister, Lisa (Jane Brucker). The owner, Max Kellerman (Jack Weston), who’s a friend of the Housemans, welcomes them to the resort.
Later that night, Max is briefing the young male waiters and entertainment, all of whom are hired from Ivy League universities. Well...except for the intriguing young dance instructor in the sunglasses. THAT...would be Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze).
I wanna just say before I forget, I miss Patrick Swayze. He’s awesome, and he left far too soon.
The next night, during dinner, Max introduces Baby to his grandson, Neil (Lonny Price), who’s just graduated from Cornell’s Hotel Management school. A school which, for the record, is the best hotel school in the USA, and second or third in the world. Also, hotelies (that’s what we called them) are CRAZY. They’re an interesting...bunch...
I, uh... I went to CornellMOVING ON
As Neil awkwardly hits on Baby, everybody encourages them having a relationship, despite her CLEARLY not wanting any of this. She instead watches Johnny skillfully mambo with another girl on center floor. After being roped into a magic act by Neil, and given a chicken by Stan (Wayne Knight, which I’m a fan of), she leaves, annoyed and irritated.
On her way back, she sees Johnny’s cousin, Billy (Neal Jones) struggling with a few GIGANTIC watermelons. She offers to help him, and he brings her to a secret house party, where some dancing’s happening. Some...dirty dancing.
Interesting side note here: racial integration! In 1963, remember, so that’s interesting. I mean, if anybody’s a fan of that, it’s gonna be me. At the party, Johnny arrives with Penny Johnson (Cynthia Rhodes), his dance partner from the mambo floor. Johnny sees her there, and questions her presence, to which she makes an adorably awkward comment. And then...they do a dance of their own.
The next day, Lisa makes a love connection with one of the waiters, and asks Baby to cover for her. Baby also speaks to Penny, who doesn’t come from the best background. That night, Penny’s missing, and Neil gives Cornell students just the WORST goddamn name as he very awkwardly hits on Baby. He takes her to the kitchen, and that’s where Baby sees Penny.
Yeah, Penny’s not OK. Baby goes to Billy and Johnny, who go to get her. Turns out Penny’s pregnant, but Johnny’s not the father. They’re obviously quite close, although they aren’t romantically tangled. Baby, coming from a place of much higher privilege, doesn’t quite understand how difficult this is. Penny berates her for this, and it’s revealed that the father is Robbie Gould (Max Cantor), one of the waiters, who’s also the guy that’s been hanging around Lisa.
Baby confronts him the following day, where he states that “Some people count, some people don’t.” He also offers her a copy of The Fountainhead, a well-known book for complete and utter douchenozzles. She warns him to stay away from her sister, then goes to ask her father for money for the abortion. Which, by the way, was very illegal in 1963. She gets the money from her dad, who gives it without asking many questions.
However, there’s an issue; Johnny and Penny have to dance on the only night she can get the abortion. And there’s nobody to replace her...except maybe Baby? Johnny’s entirely against it, they end up convincing him, for Penny’s sake. And now, we get a hallmark of ‘80s cinema: the training montage.
This is a pretty good time to note three things. One, Jennifer Grey is the daughter of Joel Grey, one of the GREATEST actor/dancers ever to grace Hollywood and Broadway. Dude was one of the main characters in Cabaret, for which he won an Oscar, and originated the role of the Wizard of Oz in Wicked. So, yeah, she’s got dancing blood. Secondly, Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey apparently HATED each other. Yeah, kind of a bummer. But their chemistry was SO GODDAMN POWERFUL, that they were able to push through their feelings and do this as well as they are. And third...THIS SOUNDTRACK BOPS.
I get it. I GET IT.
Something else I get, too. The chemistry between Grey and Swayze really does sizzle, GODDAMN. Over the course of the montage, they clearly get closer emotionally...and physically. And yeah, it’s definitely there. Although, given the fact that they’re from different class backgrounds, it’s probably gonna be one of those stories. Well, OK. Let’s do it.
After a little too much time practicing, the two take a break. And yet, while on a nature excursion, they continue their training in different environments. Most iconically, they practice lifts in the lake.
Yeah...yeah, I get it.
The day approaches, and Baby and Penny have a bit of a heart-to-heart. Penny asks Lisa to cover for her (and I’m betting that she won’t, LIKE AN ASSHOLE), and she heads to the dance gig. It mostly goes OK, but the lift is aborted at the last second. However, the performance is still received well. They leave JUST before an elderly couple from the resort sees them.
Johnny gives her a pep-talk, telling her that she did well, and the music on the car radio hints at their growing mutual attraction. But once they get there, tragedy’s struck. Turns out that the abortion doctor was a dangerous quack, and Penny’s now dangerous injured, in pain and possibly dying. Panicking, Baby does THE RIGHT THING, I can’t stress that enough, THE RIGHT GODDAMN THING, and gets her doctor father.
Understandably upset (and yeah, it is understandable, all things considered), Dr. Houseman forbids Baby from seeing Johnny or any of the others ever again. This situation...sucks. Damn. And Baby agrees, as she sneaks off to see Johnny anyway. She apologizes to Johnny for how her father treated her, but Johnny blames his own social status for it, rather than her father.
Their conversation becomes very real, and eventually turns into Baby declaring her love for Johnny. As a song comes on the radio, she asks him to dance with her. Giving in to his own feelings, he agrees. And together they engage in some...Dirty Dancing.
As the two dirty dance horizontally, the night turns to day. That morning, things are definitely awkward between Baby and her father, who almost takes his family away that night. But, his wife and Lisa convince him to stay. He even comes back to visit Penny, checking in to make sure she’s alright, which Baby finds out once she does the same.
Things are also a little awkward between Baby and Johnny, interestingly. Wonder how last night ended. Well, Penny figures it out, and warns Johnny about the risks off getting involved with the upper class. Which, remember, is how she ended up this way. The two have a tense-but-intimate exchange. Which just preludes this IMMEDIATELY happening.
Yeah, that’s not a surprise. Well, more heart-to-heart proceeds, and they continue to learn about each other’s lives. That night, Lisa tells Baby that she wants to go all the way with Robbie. Despite Baby’s warnings, Lisa simply tells her off, and is generally, I’ll be honest, a bitch. The next morning, though, Baby and Johnny have another dance session. And it’s THAT session. You know the one.
Neil interrupts, and proceeds to give a bad name to Cornellians everywhere (I’m not like that putz, I SWEAR), and pisses off Johnny in the process. She asks why he didn’t stand up for himself, and then immediately hides Johnny from her father, who’s walking with Robbie and Lisa. Rightfully calling her a hypocrite, he storms off.
And then they immediately resolve it. Which, GODDAMN, do I appreciate. Robbie strolls by, makes a typical crass comment about Baby, and then Johnny BEATS THE EVER-LOVING SHIT OUT OF HIM
OH FUCK YES. And if that wasn’t enough catharsis, Lisa catches Robbie with one of the high society wives from earlier, as they sleep together in a cabin. OH. YES. THAT’S SOME GOOOOOOOOOOOOD SHIT.
Baby and Johnny, in the actual good and fully-developed relationship of this movie, spend the night together. And are seen the next morning by the high society wife, who had the hots for Johnny.
The wife, Vivian (Miranda Garrison), implicates Johnny in stealing a wallet. Johnny’s about to be fired, and then BABY ADMITS THAT THEY WERE TOGETHER IN FRONT OF HER FATHER HOLY FUCK
She did it. She actually did it. Goddamn. And then, AND THEN, she TELLS HER FATHER OFF AND CALLS HER OUT FOR HIS ELITISM HOLY FUCKING SHIT I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS MOVIE. And then, Jerry Orbach fuckin’ starts tearing up, and I AM SHOOK MOTHERFUCKER
And yet, even though the wallets were actually stolen by an elderly couple that Baby actually implicated, Johnny gets fired anyway. GODDAMN. After Baby completely loses heart, Johnny confronts her father, and learns that he believes that he was the one who got Penny pregnant. Johnny semi-tells him off, then walks away.
At his car, Johnny and Baby say goodbye with a kiss, and Johnny heads off forever. I mean, probably not, there’s a good 16 minutes left, and we haven’t gotten to the most iconic scene of the film yet. But anyway, Baby mourns her lost relationship, and her sister actually bonds with her over this whole thing. Hot damn.
I want to punch Neil in the goddamn face. Mostly just because he’s on screen, but also because he LITERALLY ruins the goddamn anthem of Cornell University, by setting the anthem for the resort against its melody. Goddamn you, Neil. GODDAMN YOU. Also, fuck Robbie, because he LITERALLY OUTS HIMSELF to Dr. Houseman as Penny’s former deadbeat partner. As the anthem continues (to my rage), who shows up but Johnny, who comes to stick up for Baby and all she’s done.
He brings her up on stage, and interrupts the anthem (THANK YOU CHRIST) to perform the last dance of the season, as he always does. Despite Dr. Houseman’s would-be objections (prevented by his wife, who has moved up on my list of favorite characters), the two are left alone on stage. And that...is when the song plays. YOU KNOW THE GODDAMN SONG
Y’know, it’s funny, because this song is definitely an ‘80s song, making this whole sequence pretty goddamn anachronistic, but WHO CARES!? It’s one of the most iconic sequences in film history, especially of the era, and I love the hell out of it. The crowd cheers, the rest of the kids join in, the lift happens, father and daughter make up, everybody dances, I dance with my girlfriend, I LOVE IT! They kiss, they dance and the film fades to black.
Dirty Dancing! See you in the Review! Oh, I’m changing the name of that section, by the way. Alongside a few more things. You’ll see.
independent & selective mutually exclusive roleplay blog for frances “ baby ” houseman of the 1987 film dirty dancing directed by emile ardolino ⁄⁄⁄ this blog & mun are encouraging & very friendly with the following : alternate universes , crossovers , duplicates , female muses , multimuses , & original characters ⁄⁄⁄ cared for & loved by rae ⁄⁄⁄ est. june 20th , 2020 , re – est. january 18th , 2021.