Old Lady Movie Night Old Lady Movie Night: ‘Dirty Dancing' Anne T. Donahue

I think we all changed a bit after watching Center Stage last week. So why waste time, guys? Why bother with “mediocre” cinematic offerings? Let’s just cut to the chase. Indulge in the creme de la creme. Fast forward to the part in our lives where we gather round, crank up a theme song and reminisce about the time we fell in love with a tough-talking gentleman at a vacation resort.

It’s time to watch Dirty Dancing.

And while this week’s 25 points do their job of highlighting all one million “HUH?” factors of the DD delight, I think we can all agree on one thing: this movie’s a gift. And on those days where we need to laugh or dance or cry or do all three simultaneously, Johnny and Baby deliver.

And now I deliver this to you. Get your watermelons ready.

1) Why did Baby stop narrating the movie?

Did anybody think about that? She opens up with this whole, “That was the summer we went to Kellerman’s . . .” routine, and then all of a sudden the overture music turns into the radio and we never hear from narrator Baby again. WHAT WENT ON? Was this her journal? Did she get bored? Why did I literally just notice this 12 years after I originally saw it? (It took me a while. I have regrets.)

2) HELLO, NEWMAN

I have waited 12 years to say that (out loud).

3) I don’t think places like these are real

Okay, this is an honest question. I’ve never been to a resort, so is this actually what happens? Are there makeup and dance classes? Are you also forced to get in on them? I feel like when the blonde dance teacher steals Baby’s dad and she’s forced to dance with the old lady, that’s something somebody should’ve gotten written up for. I get that she’s really pretty and that the Dad’s probably psyched, but that leaves another guest totally screwed for a dance partner. So now that’s two guests angry, and me getting my complaint cards ready at the helm.

4) When Johnny knocks those napkins over, it’s like, RIGHT ON

“You just put your pickle on everybody’s plate, college boy, and leave the hard stuff to me.” HA. Seriously, suck on THAT, Robbie Gould. Nothing says “I’M DOING ME” like knocking over some intricately-folded napkins. (Even though Robbie grows up to be a doctor, and do we know what Johnny grows up to be? Isn’t he already grown up? He certainly doesn’t come back to Kellerman’s. I’ll tell you that much for free.)

5) Neil is better than Robbie and maybe even better than Johnny when Johnny’s being a brat

Obviously, we can all agree that Neil the hotel owner’s son is insufferable, but nobody – nobody – is as bad as Robbie “college boy” Gould. (Duh.) And I’m just going to say it: I like Johnny because as far as I’m concerned, Patrick Swayze is perfect. But let’s be completely honest with each other right now: he really is the worst employee in the history of the world. I mean, Neil’s just a boring, regular, judgmental guy, and Johnny is a boring-ish, beautifully dancing, handsome, judgmental regular guy. It’s not Neil’s fault he’s boring. (Well, it kind of is.) But remember when Johnny throws 8,000 temper tantrums throughout the course of about 20 minutes? Remember when he’s obviously on the other side of 30 and he’s admittedly unemployed with no desire to better his circumstance? I’m not saying Baby should date Neil. I’m saying that she should talk to Johnny about maybe getting an agent.

6) “I carried a watermelon.”

Well, who hasn’t.

7) This movie is the reason I think I can dance super-sexy to ‘Do You Love Me’

There is nothing even remotely sexy about that song. I mean, it comes on at weddings, and it’s like, “YAY! Grandparents!” (It’s an awesome song, but it is not Genuwine’s ‘Pony’ and it never will be.) I get that it was 1963 and Mad Men tells us that sexy music didn’t exist (lies), but there’s not even a “bow-chicka-bow-bow” element involved. And what’s with that one couple? You know who I’m talking about. They are literally grinding with no rhythm. They are just hugging each other and moving KIND OF. And then Johnny and Penny come in and SHOW US HOW IT’S DONE. Bada. Bing.

8 ) It is so weird how Johnny just leaves Baby standing there after they dance

Like, he goes to the trouble of teaching her – really teaching her, and ruining ‘Love Man’, which he supposedly loves – and then she gets the hang of it, and the song ends and BOOM. Bye, Baby. Not even a segway! He just spins her away. And she’s left clapping like a fool in the middle of the floor. WHO DOES THAT? Did we put our keys in a bowl before we came in? What kind of a place is this? Where are everybody’s manners?

9) Penny is actually the worst for at least half of this film

Remember the time Baby tries to tell her she thinks she’s a “wonderful dancer” and she just packs up her bag and walks away? Like, wow, YOU’RE FULL OF MYSTERY. But seriously, THESE PEOPLE. And then Baby helps get her out of “a little jam”, and she’s mean to her STILL. It’s not until she’s literally helping her put on the dance outfit before she says thanks. I don’t like you, Penny. I think you have an attitude problem.

10) Okay, wait, Neil is the worst (for the full duration of this film)

So Baby and Neil watch as Lisa recovers from being sexually attacked by Robbie the Creep, and Neil says, “Sometimes you just see things you’re not supposed to see.” WHAT? Again, I get that it’s 1963 and that Neil is the Devil, but how crappy of a sister is Baby, who is just like, “Oh, shrug. INSTEAD, I will attend to Penny who IGNORED ME and go get Johnny who left me in the middle of the dance floor because I owe them that.” You know what you owe them? Nothing. You know what you owe your sister? A massive pep talk called, “Run. RUN! As fast as you can. Also, I am here for you, I am your sister and let’s get Robbie fired.”

11) As if Baby’s Dad just gives her $200 without her telling him why

Can we be serious right now? Would ANY OF US get $200 from our parents without them asking what it’s for? No. Nope. And let’s keep in mind that I mean $200 TODAY. In 1963, that was essentially $14 million dollars. Her dad basically delivered a wagon full of pure gold to Baby without her so much as saying, “It is for a friend who is in the midst of a dilemma.” What kind of a person does that? (And do not say “a good person”, because even the greatest person in the history of the universe would probably say, “Hey, no problem – just, can you tell me what it’s for?” Or maybe I’m nosy. Which is also probably the case.)

12) “It takes a real saint to ask Daddy.”

I think I hate Johnny sometimes, you guys.

13) THE ‘WIPEOUT’ DANCE MONTAGE!

So when this movie came out (in my mind, because I was two when it actually did), I would dance alone in my room to ‘Wipeout’, convinced that if “they” (who? I’m not sure) made a remake, I would obviously be cast as Baby (never having danced or acted) and would wow audiences world over with my sweet, sweet moves because I scream “the next Jennifer Gray”. (And then my parents would knock on my door and tell me to turn it down and I would think, “Well, I’ll show them.”) (I didn’t.) (Love you, Mom and Dad.)

14) THE ‘HUNGRY EYES’ DANCE MONTAGE!

OH MY GOD, THIS SCENE. I like to think of myself as a rational human being, but even I can feel the “magic between you and I” when Baby finally knows the steps and you see her Keds switch to those fancy-ass shoes. (Except when Johnny is ridiculously forceful with Baby, and then watches Penny and Baby wear the skimpiest leotards in the world despite there being no way anybody is working up a sweat dancing to an incredibly slow dance routine. Seriously, she is dripping with sweat and he is shirtless and they might as well be square dancing. And I used to square dance, and I will tell you there are zero amounts of sweat released.)

15) There is no way Johnny threw his back out

See? This is what I’m talking about. They’re learning the steps and he leans back too fast, and he’s like “OW!!!” Simmer down. You’re getting hysterical. I actually think I hate you a little bit.

16) “You’re wiillddddd!!!!!!11111oneone!”

Why, Baby? Because he is wearing a leather jacket? Because he broke a car window and will probably not be able to afford the repairs? Because he has taken you to the woods to teach you moves to a dance routine that you’re learning on his behalf despite him being emotionally abusive? Also, I do not believe the sun-rain shower FOR A MINUTE.

17) Baby looks terrible during ‘Mambo Magic’

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that Baby’s makeup and hair during she and Johnny’s official ‘Mambo Magic’ dance (THE MOMENT WE’VE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR!) is a mid-’80s nightmare. Which, technically, makes sense. But also, it is 1963, so there is no reason to have so much blue eye shadow on. I remember my best friend and I used to get so angry that she looked like that because I mean, WHY. I’m not being terrible, am I? I mean, she’s a pretty girl, so it’s like, maybe just wear your hair down or borrow Penny’s makeup or do whatever it is that Betty Draper does. We have options. We can work through this.

18) Johnny basically lives in a van down by the river

“It’s a great room!” lied Baby. He lives in the woods. He essentially lives in a van down by the river. He lives in a beaver dam. He lives in a hut. He lives underneath a bridge, kind of. Also, remember when he says, “I could never do anything like that!” when he talks about how Baby’s dad saved Penny? Well, DUH, Johnny. He’s a DOCTOR. He went to school for four decades to be able to practice medicine. You want to be a doctor? Go to med school. Go to med school like Maureen’s boyfriend in Center Stage.

19) Their initial hookup scene is questionable at best

Like, I am not going to judge the goings-on of people behind closed doors, but I am going to judge a guy that’s like, “Let’s dance before something happens here in this van down by the river.” And I know she technically initiated it, but if we’re going to be honest about one thing, it’s that everything that happened in that scene is basically a dealbreaker. (“You want to slow dance in your beaver dam house before we even kiss? No thanks!”)

20) “JOHNNY!”

And then Baby screams Johnny’s name for no reason in a voice that says, “HELP ME I’M BEING ATTACKED!” In reality, she is standing outside of a shack. In the daytime. After Johnny tells her has a dance lesson to get to. And then she stares at him until he smiles. Guys, please never do that to anyone ever, please.

21) Baby is so socially awkward

And not in an endearing or funny way. Not even in an entertaining one. She is just weird and kind of awful. I mean, there are 1,600 examples to draw from, but in particular I am thinking of the time she looks at Johnny and says, “Have you had many women?” Like, WHAAAAAAT. No. You are doing it wrong. You are not doing it right. I don’t even know what “it” is in this situation, but I’m pretty sure I mean “any interaction you ever have, ever”. And then you say, “Oh, you’re using me, that’s all.” And it’s kind of like, “What is going on and how did this movie do so well in theatres, and why do I still love it now?”

22) How old is Johnny and what is he doing with his life?

These are just two very important questions that I have. Also, WHAT A WHINER. You want to not be a house painter? Move to LA, guy! Join up with a Broadway gang in New York! Basically, just do anything proactive. You also hate Kellerman’s and you’ve resigned to the fact that you’re going there next summer. Where is the logic, here? Where is the Intervention episode? (“Johnny dances and complains about it four to six times a day.”)

23) Nobody cares about the whole “Johnny being fired” plot

Do you? Do any of us? I don’t. All I want to do is watch Johnny and Baby dance (averagely). Does anyone even care about Robbie and Lisa? Or Penny? (No.) And then there’s the whole wallet-stealing thing, and blah blah blah, just lift Baby in the air and call it a day already. But I guess it’s that whole Chekhov rule: show us Robbie being awful, and then show him being awful again.

24) I feel bad for Baby’s father

Fine, parents just don’t understand. I get that. But it’s 1963 and her dad is actually probably 63, and that means he was born in 1900, and that means that he is old and he is set in his ways so OF COURSE he doesn’t understand ANYTHING that is going on. Okay, fine. Baby lied to him a lot. But then HE CRIES and it’s like, “AH, DON’T CRY, LAW AND ORDER GUY, I LOVE YOU SO MUCH.” The man lived through two world wars. LET HIM HAVE THIS. Or something. Or anything. I’m just saying that if my bratty teenage daughter asked for money, didn’t tell me why, I saved the life of the person she used the money for, then told her not to hang with a certain posse and then she did and lied to me even more and yelled at me, I would be crying down by a lake, too. (But not by the river. Because Johnny Castle lives in a van down there and my daughter would be hooking up with him inside of it.)

Also, why didn’t anybody tell Baby’s dad that Robbie was the one who got Penny pregnant? Lisa hates him anyway! This is all common sense that is clearly lacking in the youth of today, and also in Johnny Castle, 44-year-old man.

25) “Nobody puts baby in a corner.”

And nobody tells Patrick Swayze he can’t sing ‘She’s Like The Wind’ on the official Dirty Dancing soundtrack.

Nobody.

This movie is magic.

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  1. i cried laughing reading this!

  2. This is one of my favorite movies EVER. First saw it when I was 8 and it’s been love since then. And, yes, those types of resorts were very common back then (especially for Jewish families).

  3. I love this whole series! Please keep them coming. They are AMAZING.

  4. OH WOW! This might be the best thing I have ever read.

  5. Here’s my beef: Maybe it’s because I’m a huge history nerd….but seriously, this movie, while it is fantastic and lifts my spirits, is NOT HISTORICALLY ACCURATE. I don’t remember lycra leotards or other weird dance outfits even being IN EXISTENCE in 1963. Gah.

  6. i recently watched this scene on youtube…and definitely don’t remember seeing it before. so much p. swayz dry humping.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QHEnWrAcI4&feature=related

  7. Love “Old lady movie night!” Not only are you always spot on, but you choose really freaking fantastic movies. Have you seen Dirty Dancing:Havana Nights? (It’s WAY better!)

    • OF COURSE! My best friend was obsessed with Diego Luna, so she dragged us there twice. And by “drag,” I mean “I willingly went and convinced myself he and I could probably get married, maybe.” Clearly I was a very rational teenager.

      Anne T. Donahue | 2/02/2012 06:02 pm
  8. Thanks, you guys! (I was also banned from watching it. Which explains why I only first saw it 12 years ago. WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER.)

    Anne T. Donahue | 2/02/2012 05:02 pm
  9. haven’t seen this yet, but i need to!! also, you are one hlarious lady :)

    • Oh, no! You have to watch this movie!!! :-))) Make it a girls night…with yummy food and a glass of wine! I’ve made my 30 yr old husband watch it! I was humming to one of the songs one day and he said: How do you know this song? It’s so old, and you grew up in communist Romania” I said: Dirty Dancing!!! He said: Dirty what? Ohhhhhh honey…. it’s time for a movie night! and surprise: he loved it as much as i did :-)

  10. I loveee this movie and these articles! Awesome job!

  11. Sunny rain does on occasion happen. I was living in New Hampshire a few years ago, and during the summer, there will be isolated t-storms. Once, the sun was shining while there was a torrential downpour happening. I haven’t seen anything like it since. But this movie is amazing!

  12. LOVED this! I grew up on this movie…I can’t count how many platforms I have this movie in, VHS included. Me and my mom always get a good little giggle out of pausing the movie right as Johnny is getting up out of bed. Don’t judge.

    This being one of my most favorite movies of ALL TIME. Two things though…Kellerman’s is an actual resort – I don’t know about the activities but the beautiful hotel is still in existence today with a whole ‘DD gift shop’. And two…Neil is actually the hotel owners Grandson, not Son.

    Keep up the good writing!

  13. So…do you actually like Dirty dancing then?… :P

    • LOVE Dirty Dancing! : ) I express my love by mocking things with my hand on my heart. (I’m not sure what that actually means.)

      Anne T. Donahue | 2/02/2012 10:02 am
  14. You are a hilarious writer – can’t wait to read your next one! My parents banned me from this one too, and I didn’t see it until I was away at boarding school. During my first finals week in college, I watched it every night to unwind and got maybe a little obsessed with how beautiful Patrick Swayze’s skin was. Re #16 – ever notice when he’s kicking that pole out of the ground that on the third kick it makes a really funny “pop” noise? Yes, I may have watched this too many times!

  15. i was really young when this movie came out, but old enough to remember it. my mom, aunts, and best friends’ moms banned us from it FOREVER! i was older by the time i acutually saw it and i think that’s why i became obsessed with it ;) and, kindred spirit alert: i, too, danced the wipeout dance montage like i was there on the actual steps.

  16. re: #3 – it’s real. I’ve been there. It’s called Mountain Lake Resort and it’s in Virginia. They even host Dirty Dancing weekends! There’s no “wig show” or anything, but you can play giant checkers on the lawn, sit by the pool, and participate in a bunch of activities they organize. And all the locations from the movie are posted with signs so you know what happened where. It’s pretty awesome. :)

  17. This place actually does exist!! It was filmed at Mountain Lake Resort in Virginia. They still offer a lot of the same things that are offered in the movie. It still looks the same too!! They even offer a little tour where you go to all the places where scenes in the movie were filmed.

  18. Old Lady Movie Nights are amazing, keep them coming!!

  19. Nailed it! Girl, you rock; and I am totally pinning this to my “Good Reads” board.

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