Dirty Dancing has a certain amount of significance in my life from back in 1987 when it first came out, and I can remember the discount theater I first saw it in and the exact circumstances of that night. When I finally got myself a VCR, the VHS tape is one of those that I nearly wore out. After my viewing habits changed somewhat, I've seen it on cable and found I can close my eyes and still know exactly what's about to happen on the soundtrack. Sometimes that kind of rabid dedication indicates something about the quality of the film. Sometimes it indicates something about that rabid viewer.
But Dirty Dancing is a great movie. The script is mostly a wonder, fitting the plot together perfectly without any of the contortions that produce that manipulated feeling. Emotions carry us from scene to scene, the actors all giving just the right touch that we don't realize it's acting at all. I'm not that into dance or anything, but the dance sequences are important and well executed, and works into a current of sensuality in the film, which is sexy but not lurid, and fits the theme of a loss of innocence that's still, essentially, pretty innocent when you look at it.
But no, it's not perfect. In movies, the characters don't always talk to each other like they do in real life - frankly, most dialog from the real world would be boring most of the time. We are used to hearing the reader's digest version, shorter but still believable. There's a few times where things don't quite match up in the dialog. More glaring to me is the fact that, amidst a very well done - and meaningful - period soundtrack, several contemporary songs are snuck in and they stick out like a sore thumb. It's a shame they'd spoil the movie with a marketing decision. Some will consider the ending too Hollywood and upbeat, but I disagree. I'll admit some hokeyness, but it works for me. Maybe it'll work for you.
Full profile for Dirty Dancing
Offsite info: Internet Movie Database
Review: I had the nap of my life. 2/10 mastadonfarm
Review: The time of my life...? 7/10 SillyconJester
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