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Monday, October 12, 2009

Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner!

by Anna Campbell

I was really saddened recently to see that Patrick Swayze had passed away at the tragically early age of 57.

For me, he will forever be the wonderful Johnny Castle from DIRTY DANCING, one of my favorite movies ever.

I can't tell you how many times I've watched this movie. I can't tell you how many times I've giggled at "I carried a watermelon" or cry in numerous bits of the film, most notably the ending. With its famous "Nobody puts Baby in the corner" line. Sigh! What a man!

This is a film that really touches a chord with a lot of the women I know. Perhaps because many of us identify with Baby/Frances. Perhaps because she fulfills so many fantasies for geeky girls.

This is a classic Ugly Duckling story. Frances is the plain, intellectual sister who hangs in there, takes risks and eventually wins the prince. Not only that, she gets to dance at the ball as the star of the show. And her prince who at first seemed completely beyond her reach recognizes her for the wonderful woman she is.

It's also a classic coming of age story. Baby starts out young and awkward and by the end, she's ready to fly. Literally! Who can forget that shot of Johnny lifting her high in the air at the end of the film as everything around her erupts into a dance of joy? Fantastic stuff! I always want to cheer at that moment.

I think the emotional arcs in this film are pitch perfect, which is perhaps another reason why it's such a favorite with audiences. Johnny goes through his own emotional journey - he gradually stops being the almost godlike creature of Baby's crush and turns into a real man with uncertainties and wounds and unexpected strengths. We realize by the end that she has given him as much as he's given her.

And isn't that a perfect love story?

So are you a DIRTY DANCING fan? If not, what's your comfort movie?

39 comments:

Authorness said...

Ohhhh! I LOVE Dirty Dancing. The movie, that is. I'm an awful dancer, which is why I identified with Baby. Lucky for her she got some expert tuition. I will just have to be content with my step-by-step DD choreography book.

Thanks, Anna, for talking about my favourite topic!

Vale, Patrick.

Anna Campbell said...

V, I got really sad doing this blog. Seriously, this is a movie that has NEVER let me down. I always laugh and cry and cheer at the end. I've seen your DD book - SCARY!!!! ;-)

KarenWare said...

Anna, perfectly said. I always felt like the geeky sister when I was growing up...and would dream of a prince just like Johnny Castle. When the movie first came out I was touched. THIS was what it felt like to come of age!! I watch this movie several times each year. Now my daughters watch it as well! I am a hopeless romantic and always will be...Patrick Swayze will be missed but he left his mark on the world with this "little film" they thought wouldn't make it and many more. I learned..."Nobody puts Baby in a corner!!."

Authorness said...

Anna, you haven't seen my attempts at those mambo moves. *That's* scary!

Annie West said...

Anna, you're so convincing. I can see I'll have to try this movie again. I watched it on video years ago and it really didn't click with me. Maybe I was distracted. After all, I was watching it with a very cute guy at the time! I've now been married to him for years so maybe he won't be so distracting this time around...

Oh, and congratulations on the impending release of CAPTIVE OF SIN! Can't wait.

Annie

Annie

Emmanuelle said...

I used to love this movie when I was a teenager. I admit, not so much now. Because now I'm an adult, with soon to be teenagers at home and ehrrr 16 seems very young to experience life with a fully grown man. But well that was a movie and a beautiful love story (couldn't she be 18 or 19 !!, lol).
I have some comfort movies : Notting Hill, 13 going on 30, Two weeks notice, Something New, Just Like Heaven.

Lynz Pickles said...

I have a confession to make: I've never watched Dirty Dancing.

So I guess I've got to get around to watching it soon, now that I've got you rabid fans all staring at me with shock in your eyes.

But I do have some comfort movies... Pride and Prejudice (the version I run to depends on how much I need comfort and how much spare time I have) and 10 Things I Hate About You. Now that I think about it, they're both adaptations of classic literature. Which makes sense, considering that when I'm in need of comfort, I usually head to my bookshelves, not to my DVD player.

Kandy Shepherd said...

Anna, I absolutely adore DIRTY DANCING. It is one of my favorite-ever movies. I bought it for my teenage daughter last year and she loves it just as much as I do which shows how timeless it is.
We both shed a tear when beautiful Patrick Swayze died. (He was a horse-lover too which also endeared the teen to him!)
Knowing Patrick Swayze had an enduring marriage through many ups and downs I think also adds to the appeal of his romantic movie characters.

Beth said...

Ohh, I remember when this came out. I went to college very close to where it was filmed and there were a lot of locals in it. My then boyfriend now husband was friends with the family who owned the local movie theatre and they asked him to make the trip to Roanoke to pick up that weeks film. It turned out it was Dirty Dancing. It played at that theatre for over a year. Mountain Lake is gorgeous. You know Nashville is not that far from SW Virginia. If you are at RWA next year you should definitely make the trip.

Great movie and it sound like Patrick Swayze had his own love story married to the same women about 30 years.

Sandie Hudson said...

Aww, Anna I love Dirty dancing as well. Patrick plays such a great hero in the film. I've also lost count of the number of times I've watched it.

Sandie

Virginia C said...

Patrick Swayze was a tender/tough talented, beautiful man. He was an artist in so many ways. I love Dirty Dancing. It is one of those movies that really connected with its core audience, who remain loyal fans. I live in Virginia, not too far from where the movie was partially filmed. That area is still benefiting from its brush with fame. I also love Patrick as a drag queen in "To Wong Fu". He was a beautiful, and very graceful drag queen! He and his wife were spectacular when they danced together. He loved animals and lived a normal life outside Hollywood. His artistry will live on.

PJ said...

I doubt if I will ever get tired of watching Dirty Dancing. I own the DVD and it's my favorite "go to" movie for rainy afternoons. I love every aspect of it! I'm also from the generation of the characters in the movie so it brings back sweet memories of my pre-teen and teen years.

Thanks, Anna for a lovely tribute to the film and the man.

Alison said...

Tragically, one of my favourites is Grease 2. I loathe Grease, as the message seems to be in order to succeed you have to descend to the lowest common denominator. But in Grease 2, without many of them realising, Michael brings them up to his level.

Virginia said...

Oh yes I am a Dirty Dancing fan, loved this movie! I couldn't count the times I have watched it and still do. It is the perfect love story!

Pamela Cayne said...

I adore this movie--have ever since my best friend dragged me to it way back then. In fact, I had just watched it again the week before Patrick passed away, and I was glad I had one last chance to watch it in the innocence of him being still with us.

Linda Henderson said...

I have to admit I haven't watched it in a long time because my daughters burnt me out on it. However, I can watch him in Ghost and still cry.

Anna Campbell said...

Karen, you're so right about this being the perfect movie for the hopeless romantic. And I was a very awkward teenager too so I really know what Baby's feeling. What's great is that that part of it is so true.

Anna Campbell said...

What about the merengue? Snort! And I hope you don't have spaghetti arms!

Anna Campbell said...

Thanks, Annie. Only two weeks until Captive of Sin hits the stands.

Oh, and if anyone has a chance, check out this gorgeous trailer that Vanessa/Authorness made for me:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTsRuTIYBaM

Anna Campbell said...

Annie, I think Vanessa and I need to sit you down and MAKE you watch this film!

Anna Campbell said...

Emmanuelle, I don't know the last two movies you mentioned. I'll have to check them out. Sorry the magic has gone. Isn't that sad when that happens? I got out a science fiction series on DVD last month that I always thought was the bee's knees. Sadly, this particular bee is no longer so enamoured of those particular knees. Made me feel really OLD!!!!!

Anna Campbell said...

Lynz, I'll spare you the gasp of shock, but believe me, it happened!!! I love the movie of P&P with Matthew M. Think he's a lovely Mr. Darcy. Love that last scene although I do wish he'd kissed her! Oh, and I adore 10 Things. That was actually one of my favorite things on the website last year. I think it's a brilliant adaptation:

http://www.annacampbell.info/fave%20things%20content.html#feb%2008

Anna Campbell said...

Kandy, that's it, we definitely have to have a DD night! I just love this movie, as I think is clear from my column!

Anna Campbell said...

Beth, I love it when people stick together. It's so hard anywhere but I think it's particularly hard in Hollywood. I love the fact that Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward obviously still enjoyed each other's company after all those years of marriage - my parents were like that and it was inspirational. Oh, love the idea of doing some excursions out of Nashville. I can hardly wait. I hope we're going to sink some zinfandels when we're there!

Anna Campbell said...

Sandie, I said to my brother when I was talking about PS passing away that I must have seen the film over 100 times. He thought I was exaggerating. I WASN'T!!!! It's just the perfect girly movie, isn't it?

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, Virginia, your tribute brought tears to my eyes. That was beautiful and absolutely true. I haven't seen Wong Fu. Must check it out!

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, PJ, thanks for saying you enjoyed the piece. I think we've talked about how much we love DD before. It's a little bit before my time but I really think the characters are so vividly drawn, it's timeless. While still being such a lovely depiction of a time that's gone. Marvelous stuff!

Anna Campbell said...

Alison, I haven't seen Grease 2. When I was in my teens, Grease was EVERYWHERE! Now, I look back and think, what's with the, "To get your man, you have to compromise yourself and what you believe in?" stuff? I'll have to check out Grease 2!

Anna Campbell said...

Virginia, it is the perfect love story, isn't it?

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, Pamela, what a touching story. I remember the first time I saw Dirty Dancing. I was on holidays down at the Gold Coast and it was the rainiest Easter they'd ever had so the beach was completely out of the question. I went to see DD. And then turned around the next day and went right back to see it again! The magic has never faded for me with this story.

Pat Cochran said...

Hi, Anna,

Love Dirty Dancing! Especially
since my nursing school class had
a slight connection with the Swayze family. We took part in the 1955 University of Houston's Frontier Fiesta, which was a big Spring Break activity. To take part in the French Quarter Show, we had to learn CanCan dancing.
We took lessons at Patsy Swayze's
studio. Patsy, Patrick's mother,
choreographed our show. I've
tried for years to remember if
Patrick was ever there when we
were. He would have been 4 or 5
at the time.

Pat Cochran

Anna Campbell said...

Linda, I haven't seen Ghost for years. I'll have to drag it out! Thanks for swinging by!

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, Pat, what a great six degrees of separation story! Hey, and I count you on my list so that puts me on the sdos list too! Whoo-hoooo!

Michele L. said...

SHOCK! I have never seen DIRTY DANCING either! I do have some comfort movies that always lifts my spirits when I am down.

They are "While You Were Sleeping", "The Wedding Planner", "Pretty Woman", "Something's Gotta Give", and a couple others.

Even though I never saw DIRTY DANCING, I have seen an interview with Patrick Swayzee and he sure was a great guy! How sad he died so young.

Mary said...

I've loved Dirty dancing since I first saw it and i too was saddened when patrick Swayze passed away. It's so sad.

Laurie said...

I love DD and Ghost. I loved Grease and hated Grease 2. I saw Saturday Night Fever again, about a year ago, and I really didn't like it.

I love Man From Snowy River and Breaking Away. I also enjoy Pretty Woman. Others I've watched a lot: Remember the Titans, Rudy and Caddyshack.

Anna Campbell said...

Michele, with a comfort list like that, I think you'd love DD. Give it a go! Yes, it's terrifically sad, isn't it?

Anna Campbell said...

Mary, another fan? Yay! I must watch Ghost again. I haven't seen it since it came out years and years ago.

Anna Campbell said...

Laurie, I haven't seen Saturday Night Fever since I piled my face with makeup and went to see it as a 16-year-old. It was R rated here which meant you had to be 18 to get in. I still wonder why!!!!