Thursday, July 20, 2006

"Nobody puts Baby in the corner."

I was flipping through the channels last night, looking for something that both my young girls and I could watch, and I landed near the beginning of Dirty Dancing.

I haven't watched it for awhile, but of course, I remember seeing it and being pleasantly surprised at how much I loved it when it first came out.

But that was twenty years ago, and in looking back, I could never believe that a character who looked like Patrick Swayze did would ever fall for a character named Baby, who looked as odd as Jennifer Gray does.

But, damn, if the movie was better than I remembered it being! And as a storyteller, and a romantic one at that (plus just coming off the horror of watching Failure to Launch), I was ready to tear it apart.

The thing is, I bought into it. The chemistry between Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Gray was so hot and so believable...and him falling for her actually worked for me. It made sense the way it was portrayed, and rang true that he needed someone like Baby (ugh, I can barely type that name) after being used by all the pampered, rich women.

The dance scenes were awesome, even to this critical watcher. I wanted to fan myself during the "Sylvia and Mickey" scene. Whew.

Interestingly enough, that particular scene wasn't intended to be filmed; it was a warmup scene for Patrick and Jennifer--they were just goofing around. But it turned out so well that the director kept it in. Thank goodness.

Same with the giggling scene, where he trailed his fingers along the inside of her arm down alongside her breast and she keeps laughing--that, too, was an accident that they kept in. Patrick was as frustrated in real life as he appears in that scene.

I must say it was a pleasure to watch a bare-chested Patrick Swayze dance like he was dancing. Reminded me again why I love good shoulders on a guy!

I definitely recommend watching this movie--especially if you haven't seen it in awhile and think it's way too cheesy to see. It is, but it's good cheese--like Brie or Camembert, as opposed to Processed Cheese Food. Or that Party Cheese you squirt from a can.

Even though I can barely stand to watch Jennifer Gray and the strange way she moves her mouth when she talks (like she just left the dentist and her mouth's still numb) and her beady little eyes, Patrick more than makes up for it. And of course, the late, great Jerry Orbach plays Baby's father perfectly.

Seeing it last night more than made up for the disaster of Failure to Launch from earlier this week.

(And by the way...I think that line "Nobody puts Baby in the corner" is the most ridiculous line in the movie...and I'm not alone. So did Patrick Swayze. And he had to actually speak it! Poor guy.)


Blogger MTV soliloquized...

Colleen -

I had seen your comments both at Kristin Nelson's and Elizabeth's "Writer Unscripted" blogs. When Elizabeth told me you were from MI, I thought I'd come over and take a look.

I thoroughly enjoyed your evaluation of the movie "Dirty Dancing". Obviously, I agree with you. Actually, that movie has been a favorite of mine for a long time. I think one of the reasons is that I met the music coordinator, Terry Fry, when it was being produced in the mid 80's. He told me about it just before it came out so I had to go see it and was very pleasantly surprised. It has since become a favorite of mine (along with "Princess Bride". Bless Rob Reiner! That movie just captivates everyone).

Terry and I were attending a personal effectiveness seminar called "Life Spring" that was out of Chicago at the time. In fact, it was after that session with Terry that I started to write.

It's been a longer road for me since my writing passion has been interrupted by other passions and the necessity of providing income for my family. Still, my writing journey has been quite a ride. My first novel actually started out as a sex/romance novel, but ended up as what I called transformational fiction. Long story how that evolved.

Good Luck with your series and genre jumping romance!

Friday, July 21, 2006 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger Dana Pollard soliloquized...

This is so funny! I was just talking about Dirty Dancing yesterday! And no, I didn't catch it on TV. hehe

Friday, July 21, 2006 2:32:00 PM  
Blogger Stacy Dawn soliloquized...

I loved that movie. Yeah, my only gripe is why the heck they named her Baby in the first place...seriously, did they base her whole character on that one bad line. The movie would have worked just fine had they used her normal name.

Friday, July 21, 2006 2:49:00 PM  
Blogger Colleen Gleason soliloquized...

I think they named her Baby to just drive home the point even harder--that she was the baby of the family and was treated like one. And to make the romance between her and Johnny Castle that much more improbable.

I think Patrick Swayze should have changed that famous line to: "Nobody puts Frances in the corner." It would have been more effective.

Friday, July 21, 2006 3:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Holli Bertram soliloquized...

Hey, wasn't Gidget's real name Francis, too? A popular name to nickname, I guess. Remember Gidget's romantic interest Moondoggy? Almost as bad as Baby. Man, I haven't seen those movies in a very long time...
Now why does Baby make me cringe, but when Ranger calls Stephanie Plum "Babe," I get shivers. Just one letter makes all the difference.

Friday, July 21, 2006 8:27:00 PM  
Blogger Heather Harper soliloquized...

Am I a geek for owning the collectors edition DVD and the soundtrack?

Friday, July 21, 2006 8:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Annie from OC soliloquized...

I am also a big fan of the movie. I also went to college near where it was filmed and learned lots of little trivia about the movie there. For those that don't know, Jennifer Gray was not the original actress hired for the part of Baby. I forget who she was, but the lake was so cold when they were doing those scenes in the lake (and there were some other disputes as well if I recall), that the actress walked off the set. I believe Gray was just an extra, but they quickly handed the part to her. And it works... I don't think anyone could have pulled of Baby like she does.

Saturday, July 22, 2006 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger Diana Peterfreund soliloquized...

Heather, I own the Collector's Edition too... I just love it. I find the romance completely believable, because despite the fact that Johnny seems at first glance to be so beautiful and perfect, he's not. He's a little insecure about his place in the world, and he's been used by a lot of people and so when Baby comes into his life, and she's very brave, and she's willing to actually RISK soemthing to be with him (not like the bored housewives who use him when their husbands are away) well then, that touches him. It's not about what people look like.

the Baby bit doesn't bother me, perhaps because my family has always used a diminuitive nickname for me, and I don't see it as a detriment to my life. ;-) But I agree... the line would have been better as Frances because he'd made such a big deal about calling her that earlier.

Saturday, July 22, 2006 11:42:00 AM  
Blogger Tempest Knight soliloquized...

I liked it when it came out. Now I can't get pass Swayze's mullet. *rofl*

Saturday, July 22, 2006 3:27:00 PM  
Blogger Karen soliloquized...

Oh, boy. I just pulled my Collector's Edition DVD off the shelf because of you! I haven't watched this in a long time.

When it came out, I was in high school. All the kids loved it. They'd constantly play the soundtrack, which drove me up a wall, so I refused to see it. Over a year later, as an exchange student in a rural NY town, I felt obligated to watch it when my host slipped it into the VCR. I absolutely loved it.

Diana's take on why the romance is believable is dead-on.

Saturday, July 22, 2006 9:28:00 PM  
Blogger Colleen Gleason soliloquized...

Karen and Diana--exaclty. That's why the movie worked for me--Johnny needed someone brave like Baby/Frances to show him how to stand on his own.

I didn't remember that from watching the movie before, but when I saw it again, I loved it and bought into it.

I need to get that soundtrack. I've had Hungry Eyes going through my head for two days now!

Saturday, July 22, 2006 11:38:00 PM  
Blogger Jaye Wells soliloquized...

I totally love Dirty Dancing. And the soundtrack is awesome too. OK now I need to find it on TBS, where is seems to come on fortnightly.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I've bookmarked you.

Sunday, July 23, 2006 3:52:00 PM  
Blogger Jana J. Hanson soliloquized...

Dirty Dancing is one of my favorites! I watch it almost every time it airs on television. I'm so glad to know I'm not the only one who hates that in the corner line.

Monday, July 24, 2006 11:00:00 AM  

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