So, I’m sitting here on a Sunday evening after a gorgeous day in the sun and I find myself watching Dirty Dancing. Again. What’s all that about? I’ve seen it a million times. I mean I haven’t actually counted them, but it’s got to be somewhere around that number. After first seeing it at the age of seven (I know, probably a bit young but it was the 80’s) it’s always been one of those films where if it’s on television, I’ll watch it. I just can’t help myself. It holds some sort of allure that other films don’t come close to matching.
The story itself isn’t new. Shy, quiet girl meets bad boy with an attitude; the stars align, birds sing, and they walk off hand in hand into the sunset having changed the world. It’s an old formula but it works.
But why? What is it about this particular film that sparks such love and adoration from its fans? The wonderful Patrick Swayze (sob) is certainly a big asset, his charm and innocence (yes, I said innocence) really brought the character of Johnny to life and gave it so much depth and warmth. The first impression you get of him as the leather jacket wearing rebel rapidly changes as the film progresses until he becomes one of the good guys.
The soundtrack is immensely fabulous. I mean, who can’t sing one song or at least bop their shoulders? I regularly sing along to the entire soundtrack in my car because I love it so much. The dancing, it goes without saying, is a-ma-zing daahling! Every dance is spectacular but the final scene with ‘that lift’ takes the crown. It’s not technically perfect (or so I’ve been told) but it doesn’t matter.
So what is it that makes it watchable again and again? In the end I think it comes down to a perfect confluence of events; a simple story, good writing, fantastic actors, great direction and the fact that everyone loves an underdog, which Johnny Castle undoubtedly is. A simple love story for this hopeless romantic.