Time: 96 mins.
Won Academy Award for Best Original Song.
I'm embarrassed to say that if you had asked me in 1987 what my favorite movies of the year were, DIRTY DANCING would have been one of them. In fact, I paid to see it several times. Looking back on it, I can understand why a young girl would be so entranced with this story – ugly duckling becomes swan and gets to dance and make out with super sexy dance teacher. I watched it again recently to see how out-dated and silly the film had become. What I discovered through this experiment is films that touched you as a youngster will always hold magic for you no matter how unbelievable and over-acted they truly are. Everything about this film is overdone, from the story to the acting, but it still managed to catch my heart. What young woman, or slightly older one, can escape the secret yearnings in her soul to be loved for her true self by such a hunky guy? To be turned into a "princess" or, in this case, a beautiful dancer while finding first love with your sexy, dangerous instructor? Of course, if this happened in real life, especially in the 50s, Mr. Swayze's character would have found himself in jail for having sex with a minor faster than you can say mambo, especially since he was one of the help.
The story begins with Frances "Baby" Houseman trying to fit in with the cool, sexy dancers at the Catskill resort her parents drag her and her older sister to every summer. Only this year, Baby is old enough to start having sexual urges of her own and her yearnings are pinned on the lead dance instructor, Johnny Castle. (Can you believe it?) When Johnny's dance partner gets accidently knocked up, in order to save their jobs, Baby steps into her dancing shoes and becomes Johnny's de facto partner. She begins intense dance training trying very hard to learn all the steps, but it's not easy. Plus all their lessons must be done secretly because if the management found out what was going on everybody would be in a whole heap of trouble. The help was not supposed to socialize with the guests and if caught, Penny and Johnny would be fired. With very little time before their secret performance, Baby and Johnny spend every free moment rehearsing. Her ineptness infuriates him, but she stands up for herself and doesn't let him push her around. Of course, they fall for each other in the process.