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Dirty Dancing (1987)

September 16, 2009

7/10 Hero Tributes

An ’80s classic showcasing what is arguably Patrick Swayze’s most heartthrob-esque qualities as a human being.

Dirty Dancing is about a rebellious girl named Baby that takes a walk on the wild side when she discovers the world of dancing dirtily while on vacation at a Catskills country club with her uptight, overprotective parents. When one of the other dancers has to bow out of an upcoming dance competition because she’s pregnant and has to get a back-alley abortion, Baby breaks away from her corner and, despite having the dancing abilities of a cross-eyed penguin, steps up to the plate, all the while falling in love with her new dance partner/instructor, Johnny. Freakin’. Castle.

Chances are, if you’re a girl, you’ll like this movie if you haven’t already seen it. Or, you’re already in love with it and drop the remote without thinking twice when you catch this on TBS while channel surfing, finding yourself instantly deprived of oxygen upon witnessing Swayze’s stunning, magestic beauty, and most definitely prompting you to don a face that is frighteningly similar to this.

And for the guys who haven’t seen this, it’s actually not that bad. If anything, it’s some guaranteed “good boyfriend points”, and those, my friends, are priceless.

The dialogue can be as corny as…’80s movie dialogue, there’s lots of dancing, and the entire plot more or less revolves around Jennifer Grey falling for Swayze – who can blame her. And while this movie most definitely appeals to one gender more than the other, there’s definitely something endearing about it. Maybe it’s the epic dancing montages, maybe it’s the Oscar-winning ditty “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life), or maybe it’s the image in your head of Swayze’s hair flowing in the wind like the mane of a mighty steed as he croons “She’s Like the Wind” to you while riding a unicorn at sunset. It really could be any one of those things, but there is a definite charm to Dirty Dancing that’s easy to see despite the ’80s conventions it falls into. Those damn ’80s conventions…

But if you haven’t picked up on it already, the reason to see this movie, or any movie for that matter, is Patrick Swayze. Not to steal the thunder away from Jennifer Grey, but Swayze’s the man and everyone’s always known it. He steals the show as Johnny Castle (coolest name for a dance instructor, ever) and reminds all us men that we can still be badass and sensitive in equal measure.

I’ve been a big Swayze fan for a long time now and I, along with a lot of other people out there, have been truly saddened by his passing. I don’t even remember how it started, but back in High School I started using “Swayze” as an adjective in everyday speech, as in, “The moon landing was totally Swayze,” or, “That was freakin’ Swayze when I made the game-winning touch down…with my feet.” It wasn’t long before someone asked me what “Swayze” meant and it didn’t take long for me to come up with the definition: “The essence of cool.” I know Urban Dictionary has other definitions for “Swayze” (which were unknown to me when I first started saying it), but I’ve always like my definition, and just because he’s gone doesn’t mean it’s going to change any time soon.

I wish there were a more fitting way to go about making a tribute to him than with a movie review, but for such an icon of cinema with so many memorable roles to his name, I think the tribute is already there in celluloid for generations to admire. So follow my lead and remember Swayze as we knew him best, as Bodhi in Point Break, as Jed Eckert in Red Dawn, as Sam in Ghost, and, of course, as Johnny Castle.

Patrick, I don’t think you have any idea how much you’ll be missed, but you’ll always be remembered. The essence of cool, indeed.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. September 16, 2009 1:33 pm

    Swayze… the man. the actor. the dancer. the horseman. the legend.
    the adjective.
    he’s left us with some great movies, one of which is Dirty Dancing.
    not just a chick flick, but a great film

  2. September 16, 2009 3:20 pm

    I liked Dirty Dancing. It was shown so many times on TV. I think like more than any movie. I also own it on DVD.

  3. September 16, 2009 6:24 pm

    Swayze is and forever will be a legend. RIP Buddy!

  4. Ryan permalink
    September 20, 2009 9:30 pm

    This is a classic movie, but Swayze’s best is Roadhouse, without question!

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