Jennifer Grey? I’m in. Patrick Swayze? Yes, please! The two of them dancing together in a way that can truly only be described as sexy? Sounds like a timeless classic to me. And it is. With its iconic scenes and a even more iconic soundtrack, Dirty Dancing holds up!
To be completely honest, I had never seen Dirty Dancing until today. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t know just about everything about this movie going in. I mean… this movie is why the word iconic exists. Who doesn’t know “Nobody puts baby in the corner”? Even if you’ve never seen the movie, I guarantee you’ve heard that line referenced at some point. I know I have. A lot. Or the “oh lover boy” scene? I feel like I’ve seen that scene parodied a ton of times. And, obviously, who could forget the ending dance number? Set to “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life”. ICONIC. But that doesn’t mean this movie was without its surprises. I was pretty surprised to learn that the main character’s name is actually “Baby.” Which in hindsight makes sense because of that iconic line but it was still a surprise. I was also very shocked to learn that the jumping off point for the plot is that Baby is filling in as a dance partner with Johnny because his usual partner had to go get an abortion. To be even more surprising, the girl isn’t then vilified by the movie for getting one. Which feels pretty progressive for a major Hollywood film from the ‘80s. So, good on Dirty Dancing. I was also surprised at just how… sexy this movie is. Don’t get me wrong, I knew it would be sexy. But that sexy? Dang. Swayze in that black tank top? Grey in whatever it was that she was wearing? Dang! Dirty dancing indeed! I was also surprised at just how good the final scene made me feel. I’ve seen the final dance imitated in other movies and TV shows, I’ve also actually seen that scene just on YouTube. I knew exactly what was coming and what to expect but still seeing it with all the context… the scene got me. When “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” starts playing. I’m singing along. When all the other dancers join Swayze dancing towards the stage. I wanted to get up and dance too. When Swayze and Grey nail the lift. I’m pumping my fists in the air. Dirty Dancing holds up! I will say though, the “Nobody puts Baby in the corner” line did feel a little lame to me. Sorry. Iconic, sure. But a little lackluster. However, the soundtrack? Fantastic.
Let’s be real, most older songs are only still popular today because they are featured in some popular movie. Dirty Dancing is to be thanked, or blamed, for several classic ear worms still being played today. “Hungry Eyes” is in this movie. Did you know that? I did not know that. But it was and now we get to hear it during every other fast food commercial! Bruce Channel’s “Hey! Baby” and Solomon Burke’s “Cry to Me” were both playing in some very steamy scenes and now if you play them for just about anyone who was a teenager in the ‘80s, they can tell you exactly what scene it’s from. Last, but certainly not least, “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life”. I STILL here this song played on the radio. Dirty Dancing did that! Now, every time I hear it, as I’m sure many people already do, I’ll see Swayze lifting Grey in my head. This movie became iconic because of the soundtrack and the songs became iconic because they were in this movie. It is a symbiotic relationship.
I don’t know what else to say about this movie. It was made in 1987 and now here, in 2020, I’m talking about and I doubt anyone will find this review and have never at least heard of Dirty Dancing . This movie has stayed super relevant in modern culture and now I know why. It’s really good. Swayze and Grey had undeniable chemistry on screen. Swayze’s magnetism and Grey’s charm are intoxicating from beginning to end. Also, all the dancing was fantastically well choreographed and both stars absolutely nail all their moves. This movie knew how to capture it’s audience. I dare anyone to watch Dirty Dancing and not at least be tapping your foot during the dance numbers. Dirty Dancing is iconic.
Yes, I know, I’ve used the word iconic a lot in this review. But when the shoe fits. I don’t know how else to describe a movie. I knew so many scenes despite never once seeing this movie before. I knew them simply because the scenes are still talked about, referenced, and copied today. The dancing, the music, the Swayze, the Grey. All these ingredients mix together perfectly to make Dirty Dancing simply, yes I’m saying it again, iconic. I give Dirty Dancing 8 Patrick Swayzes in that black tank top out of 10.