May. 14th, 2017

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Just re-watched Dirty Dancing circa 1986, I think, which I haven't seen in years. (I saw it twice in the movie theaters when it first came out, but back then movies were dirt cheap. Now not so much.)

The movie, by the way, has a very anti-capitalism/anti-classicism theme. It really attacks social and class prejudices and privilege. It's about a well-to-do family from New York that vacations in the Catskills at a resort. They have nice cabins, dance lessons, various activities, and beautiful grounds in the Catskill mountains. It's a Jewish resort for the well-to-do. The wait staff comes from Harvard or Yale or is well on the way, while the entertainment or the "dancers" are the blue collar artists who need the gig to make ends meet. They are the staff -- giving the dance lessons, entertaining the guests, in some cases sleeping with or romancing the elder ladies who are lonely or the older gents. Takes place in 1963.

At the beginning -- it's established that the wait staff is there to romance the daughters of the guests, because they are on their way to Harvard and Yale, and make good marital material. While the dancers are not to converse with the guests, and just teach them how to dance. The "boy from the wrong side of the tracks" is the dancer, Johnny Castle, played by Patrick Swayze, while the 18 year old, wet behind the ears, good girl, Baby, is played by Jennifer Grey, who previously always got the snotty sister roles.
Jerry Orbach plays her mother, while Mrs. Gilmore plays the mother...which I thought was interesting.

During the movie, poor Johnny, is continuously getting the short end of the stick. He's accused of knocking up his dance partner, Penny, when in reality it was the snot-nosed Yale waiter, Robbie, who is romancing Baby's sister on the side. And, who thrusts The Fountainhead under Baby's nose when she asks him to help Penny. (If you've read the Fountainhead or know the story, you'll get the reference -- and it's an interesting choice. It's clear from the set-up that Baby believes in helping others, does it instinctively. She's the exact opposite of the views espoused by Rand in her novels. Robbie, on the other hand, is a walking poster board for the Randian philosophy. As is Neil, the proprieter's geeky/nerdy son who keeps coming on to Baby and boasts about the amount of money and hotels he owns. Because of course Daddy gave them to him. Underlying all the sad state of disrepair of the hotel, the dwindling guests, the fact the father had invited Baby's family up, after her father saved his life, and is struggling to stay aloft. He even states at the end that the writing is on the wall, no one wants to come here any more, they want to go off to Europe. And Johnny and Penny even state that it's a dinosaur. So ironically...there's rot beneath the wealth. Also the copy of the Fountainhead he thrusts at Baby is shop-worn and falling apart.)

There's a clear message in the movie that helping others, putting other's first, and caring about someone outside of your own social class or family is more successful and helpful in the long run. Baby who does all of this...ends up having the Time of her life, she falls in love, learns to dance, and in the process changes those around her, lives for the better in some respects -- Johnny jumps out of his comfort zone and leaves this gig, which belittled his talent and used him, as does Penny, Robbie gets smacked, and Lisa learns to appreciate her sister a bit more.

Also the movie has great dance scenes. Patrick Swayze could move. And he's excellent in this film, gets across a blend of innocence, vulnerability and strength...that is rather compelling. Also he has a sensitivity as a dancer that pulls you in. He taught Grey how to dance during the filming. And it was clearly blended into it.

Rather impressed at how well it holds up. The themes do resonate today, years later.
We are still having issues with an ever increasing socio-economic divide, there are still one too many Robbie's and Neil's wandering about, but in the midst of all that...there are people like Baby who stand up for others.

Her name Baby is ironic as well, it convey innocence and how others treat her -- yet, she seems to have a strength and insight they lack.

Hmmm...better movie than I'd remembered. I had remembered a good dance film. But there are some nice metaphors and layers in there.
shadowkat: (Default)
An insanely long meme from mamcunluna, which I'm editing because..insanely long meme. So if I don't like a question? It's gone.

Before I start -- two funny news items via the daily dot, and no I didn't link them, you will have to go hunt down the links on your own.

sort of political )

Now, the meme from hell...which may not be once I get done with it.

Meme...that is insanely long and rather personal, but aren't they all? )

Well, I cut most of the personal stuff that I didn't feel like sharing.


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