Dirty Dancing

Is this the strangest take on an upstairs/downstairs movie? It’s gotta be up there.

Upstairs, Dr. Houseman (Jerry Orbach) has just arrived at an upscale resort in the Catskills where he and his lovely wife (Kelly Bishop!) and their two daughters are going to spend a pleasant 3 weeks doing the family foxtrot after a white napkin dinner.

Downstairs, the resort’s staff unwind after a long day catering to fussy tourists by dirty dancing. And I’m not sure which is stranger: that everyone in the room has simultaneously agreed to whatever dance moves necessary to achieve orgasm through pants, or that in such a large group of people there isn’t a single wallflower among them, not even a girl who’s a little luke-warm on her boyfriend tonight. Nope, they’re all hot and heavy, all of the time, and they don’t care who sees. Well they do care, sort of. There’s one rule: no resort guests allowed. Which is a rule immediately broken when the Houseman daughter referred to as ‘Baby’ (Jennifer Grey) simply carries a watermelon right through the doors and practically onto the gyrating lap of lead dancer Johnnny (Patrick Swayze). And then the rule is broken repeatedly and flagrantly throughout the film, so the one and only hard and fast rule is neither hard nor fast though pretty much everyone in the film is both hard and fast. And sweaty. I don’t know why they didn’t call it Sweaty Dancing. Not the same ring? Patrick Swayze in particular puts the ‘work’ in ‘working it’.

Anyway, I’m sure you’ve already seen the movie. If you haven’t, you simply MUST leave a comment saying so because I need to know who you are and what the heck. Baby is a ‘good’ girl who gets involved with some ‘bad’ people and we all learn a valuable lesson about judging a book by its cover.

Oh. And Patrick Swayze is often without a shirt but never without his heels.

And there’s a botched abortion! So: something for everyone.

This is really just an excuse for me to tell you about a show on Netflix called The Movies That Made Us; season one covers classics like Ghostbusters, Home Alone, Die Hard, and, because for a minute there it seemed like they were pandering to Sean a little heavily, Dirty Dancing. They’re really cool episodes that talk about how movies got made. You’ll learn: which costars didn’t get along, who almost got cast rather than Grey & Swayze, what the woman who wrote the famous line “Nobody puts Baby in a corner” really thinks of it, and why Grey’s nipples were so, um, extroverted during that one scene in the lake. Check it out!

22 thoughts on “Dirty Dancing

  1. Lorna Cunningham-Rushton

    I wanted to be the person to tell you about the movie about the movie. I should have known you were already there!

    On Mon., Dec. 30, 2019, 8:40 a.m. ASSHOLES WATCHING MOVIES, wrote:

    > Jay posted: ” Is this the strangest take on an upstairs/downstairs movie? > It’s gotta be up there. Upstairs, Dr. Houseman (Jerry Orbach) has just > arrived at an upscale resort in the Catskills where he and his lovely wife > (Kelly Bishop!) and their two daughters are g” >

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    1. Jay Post author

      You’re right, they don’t call out her nipples, but they did say that they filmed the scene in the fall when the lake was of course freezing cold.

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  2. Robert Kirkendall

    I saw DD again last week for the first time in years, so it was almost like seeing it again for the first time. One of the things I noticed more during the second viewing is the scene where Swayze discovers he locked his keys in his car, followed by the not so subtle symbolism of him picking up a log/phallic object and driving it into the side window in a forward, penetrating motion. I also noticed that Dr. Houseman is the character who has the change of heart at the end of the story, which makes his character more important than I remembered. And Jerry Orbach should have had a bigger career than he did.

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    1. Jay Post author

      Yes, that’s right, he takes a backseat to the dancers but he’s the one who grows and has a real arc.
      Also, about that car scene, I felt he should have at least tried the other door first, before breaking the window.

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  3. Liz A.

    I saw it at a Girl Scouts meeting. Seriously. I wasn’t interested (it came out when I was a teen), so like many movies of that era, I got roped in reluctantly.

    Have you seen the original Ghostbusters recently? I did, and whoo boy… Bill Murray’s character is awful.

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  4. Birgit

    Here is one person who has no seen this film! I am serious and I feel so happy about it. I do like Patrick Swayze who would have been a big musical star if he was around in the 30s, 40s, or 50s so we were robbed of his great talent for dancing. Anyone named Baby needs to be bitchslapped. Hahaaaa.

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  5. J.

    I’ve seen this movie one too many times. The most annoying thing is how a lot of the music doesn’t fit the time… and the only explanation is that Swayze is a man out of time. An alternative Bill & Ted. A time traveller who somehow gets hooked on 80’s music and brings it back to his favourite era. Or something.

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  6. selizabryangmailcom

    Always interesting to peek into the economic/class inequalities of another section of the population not revolving around “The Help” “The Butler” or “Driving Miss Daisy.”

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