Old Lady Movie Night Old Lady Movie Night: "Save The Last Dance" Anne T. Donahue

WHO’S PSYCHED? (ME!) Basically, I may or may not have found a website that now tells you when new movies come to Netflix and YOU GUYS IT IS A GOLD MINE. Case in point: Save The Last Dance, which I ALMOST bought last week, but which totally lost to The Town in a moment of needing to watch something about crime (don’t ask).

So this week we have Save The Last Dance, a movie I saw in theatres a million times and whose soundtrack I knew off by heart, and next week we have WHO KNOWS. No wait, options. That’s what we have next week. For next week and the week after and the week after THAT.

Also, let the record state that I will be beginning Christmas movies on November 1st, so I’m sorry, but there’s going to be a lot of Sandra Bullock and Diane Keaton and Will Ferrell and also when I say “I’m sorry” I don’t mean it at all, because these are the movies that define our lives. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves! We have a few hours of watching Save The Last Dance and asking ourselves why so many things happen in this movie that would never happen in real life, and more importantly, why Julia Stiles’ character insisted on wearing that terrible orange puffy coat. (Says the girl who once wore a terrible black puffy coat.) We can do it! Put our backs into it!

DANCE.

1. I seriously don’t understand why Sarah (Julia Stiles) cares so much about her mom coming to the audition

I LOVE MY MOM. She’s awesome and she means more to me than anyone, but can I be real? I have never been gung ho about having my parents at anything I do because it makes me nervous, and just… calm down, guys. I even did this acting thing once and had to perform live, and my parents were there and that was great, but if they couldn’t make it, that’s fine too! And there’s been a bunch of things they haven’t been that because THAT IS LIFE. Things happen! Like, Sara, I know you love your Mom but she’s gotta work! Otherwise you will not be going to Julliard because she will not be able to help with the tuition I will assume. WE LOVE OUR MOMS, GUYS. But I mean, if they have to work, they have to work. (Also, Sara’s 17, and that makes her grown up enough to understand that sometimes people HAVE TO WORK.)

2. I love how hip Sara’s dad is, though

What a jazz man! Like, he rules. And HE’S TRYING, you guys. He doesn’t know! He has a lot of TV dinners and he lives in the city and he plays jazz. IT COULD BE WORSE. He could be homeless. Imagine THAT? Now that would be a different kind of movie. Although now he’s showing Sara “her room” and when I say “exposed brick” I mean it looks like he might actually live in a space that’s dilapidated. Okay, so it’s not the greatest place in the world. But I mean… he’s got TV dinners! And he wears a hat. So basically I know exactly as much about Sara’s dad as Sara does.

3. Everyone at this school seems awesome, and I never understood why Sara didn’t know how to put an outfit together

Like, first and foremost, HI KERRY WASHINGTON. Second, SARA. WHAT WHAT WHAT ARE YOU WEARING. Listen. This comes from somebody who at the same time was wearing a LOT of pleather and polyester halter tops, but even I remember thinking, “Overalls?!” I mean, I loved overalls. I wore them too much when I had no business wearing overalls. And you know the reason overalls don’t exist anymore? Because shhhhh… let’s not worry about it. I hear that if we say “overalls” too loud they will come back and maybe they will wear US. So let’s not risk it.

4. This English class is better than all my other English classes

Everyone here is actually having a discussion, and people are ENGAGED, and it’s GREAT. You know what we did in MY English classes? Nothing. Certainly not tell jokes like in this class. My English teacher used to just pick on this guy named Tim, and she spoke in monotone. So even when it was absolutely silent, if some sound was heard, she’d tilt her head to one side, stop talking and say, “Tim.” 99.9% of the time it wasn’t Tim’s fault, she just hated him. It’s STILL a joke with my friend and I because IT WAS SO BIZARRE. So imagine my disappointment when every English class I was ever in was nothing like this one, and if you tried to have a discussion someone would just say, “That’s a great point. Anyway…” (But in other news, there was this guy in grade nine who threw his chair at the teacher, so okay, fine, sometimes things DID happen.)

5. I tried to make “aiight” happen because of this movie

And I’m not proud of it, and I don’t like to talk about it, but I try to be honest with all of you, so it’s only fair that I share that part of my life with you.

6. And then Sara stops talking to Kerry Washington mid-sentence because people are dancing in the halls?

YOU RULE, KERRY WASHINGTON. (#YRKW) And now that we’ve established that for the 195252525825th time, let’s talk about how Sara acts like she has NEVER SEEN HIP-HOP DANCING EVER BEFORE. This is especially shocking because she is an actual dancer, and even hardcore ballerinas know that hip-hop exists. Like even Kerry Washington is like, “It’s just a little hip-hop” as in “Wow, like… this is really embarrassing for you.” It IS embarrassing for her, Kerry Washington. Even Julia Stiles was probably embarrassed. Like I hope after this scene was filmed Julia Stiles said, “You know I DO know that hip-hop exists, right? I’m really sorry about that.” And everyone laughed and was like, “Oh we know — don’t worry. We’re all friends here.”

7. Love how Sara just announces that Sean Patrick Scott is the worst because he disagreed with her

I mean, she’s sitting at this brand new table, and the girls are all talking and then she’s just like, “Asshole!” SIMMA DOWN NA. Why? WHY IS HE? Because he disagreed? He had a point, pal! I mean, Capote DID bring crime to the upper crust (as per his arguments in that English class), and because Sara didn’t have a response, she hates him now. WHATEVER, SARA. You love each other.

8. I had a crush on Malikai and that set the bar for bad decision making for too long

Because first things first: Fredro Starr is a very attractive gentleman. Those are the facts. But 15-year-old me could not separate fact from fiction, so even though I was and am correct to think Fredro Starr is the bomb, I was not correct to think the character of drug-dealing and abusive Malikai was the bomb. Also a problem: I went to school with a lot of guys who thought they were actual crime lords, and were just the worst humans, so guess who I aligned myself with for a little too long. YUP. So here is a lesson to everyone who is reading this: IMDB. If you’re going to have a crush on a character in a movie, find out who the actor is via IMDB and maaaaaaybe just have a crush on the actor instead. Or at the very least, don’t hang out with guys from school who “remind you of Malikai” (or Eminem, which was an entirely different story I will share if we ever watch 8 Mile).

But seriously his character is actually terrifying WHAT WAS WRONG WITH ME.

9. AS IF Sara doesn’t go to the jazz club with her dad?!

WHAT TEEN GIRL WOULD SAY, “Um, no Dad. I am NOT going to see you play music because I have to get up early for school.” Are my priorities wrong because I would have been like, “Heck yes! Let’s get out of here! Let’s go see music!” HE’S TRYING, SARA. Also, his show is at dinnertime. Literally. You’d be home by, what… 11? I don’t know. I just feel like if one of us were her friends we’d be able to say, “It’s okay. Listen. We’ll go to the show for a bit, then come back, and hey! Look at your dad’s hat!”

Hat not present in this picture.

10. This school’s gym class is AMAZING

You know what we had? WELL. I didn’t go very often, but when I did, we’d play outside? Or soccer? We certainly did NOT have a whole gym decked out with gymnastics equipment, I’ll tell you that much for free. And then everyone gets totally into Sara on the balance beam? I mean, SARA, YOU GO, GIRL. But EVERYONE stops and just watches her. And then nobody just says casually, “Oh, did you used to dance?” They say, “How’d you get your legs to twist like that?” Has anyone in the entire world ever asked a question so oddly phrased? Me? Just now, maybe? Yes. BUT STILL. Anywho. Shout-out to Bianca Lawson who has just spotted her nemesis.

11. Are members only clubs a thing?

Oh, like she needs an ID. I get that. Is that what “members” means, then? Why doesn’t anyone just say “21 and up”? And also, it’s like a “serious” club where you have to be a good dancer? This sounds super elite. A little TOO elite, for my liking because automatically I’d be self conscious about the way I dance and/or dress. I’d especially be self conscious if I were Sara, who just whipped out a twenty and held it by Snook’s face as if to say, “LOOK I HAVE MONEY AND I AM TOUGH.” Just be cool, Sara! I mean, like, be NICE. She suddenly seems to THINK she’s cool and she’s got this attitude that I would seriously probably have to talk to her about if we were friends in real life.

Also remember when Kerry Washington tells Sara she can’t say “cool” and has to say “slammin’”?

12. Also (x 2) remember when Sara wears The Gap to a bar?

Listen. I love a good Gap skirt and/or short. But COME ON, SARA. This is your time to shine! Maybe even just a tank top with jeans! Why are you wearing a knee-length skirt? You own jeans! JUST WEAR JEANS! You don’t even have to dress skimpy. Just not a sweater set. Like, here is an outfit today: a tank top and jeans. YOU DID IT.

12. b) And ALSO remember when Kerry Washington and Sara sat with Nikki who hates them and vice versa?

This is an ENORMOUS club. It’s huge. Why would you sit with your enemies?! ANYONE ELSE IN THE CLUB YOU COULD SIT WITH. Maybe not the guy who went in for the uninvited ass grope, though. That guy is the worst and needs to learn about a little thing I like to call “what constitutes as assault and harassment.”

13. And then Sean Patrick Thomas is all, “I like you Sara” and gets her to abandon her beverages and OWNS IT

AHHH I LOVE THIS SOUNDTRACK. Let’s just get this out of the way. Let’s also get out of the way that Sean Patrick Thomas rules in this movie about a million times over. But let’s ALSO talk about how for a dancer Sara has no rhythm? You HAVE to know it to be a dancer! Ballet or otherwise. HOW IS SHE NOT FINDING THE BEAT TO REDMAN AND METHOD MAN. I am finding it right now and I am sitting on my bed watching Save The Last Dance. (And I am also having flashbacks of how I thought that all-ages clubs would be JUST like this place, and I showed up only to be terribly disappointed because UGH. No. All of it was the absolute worst.)

(Okay I just tried to find a photo of how “the worst” it was, but I can’t. But let me just say: ill-fitting short denim dress with a rhinestone belt and the highest heels in the entire world. Now you take that mental picture, and you multiply it by one million. Then it will only be a fraction of how terrible it actually was.)

14. “That’s not the first time I’ve heard hip-hop”

HOW ARE WE TALKING ABOUT HIP-HOP LIKE IT’S A THING THAT NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT. Hip-hop in 2001? We all knew it! We loved hip-hop! EVERYONE LOVED AND KNEW IT. All of us. Because it rules. I feel like maybe this movie should be called “Helping Sara.” Or HELPING SARA BREAK DOWN GENDER BOUNDARIES, more like it. I love that SPT teaches her how to dance like him and/or well and/or like however. You don’t have to dance “like a girl,” Sara! You can just dance like a human being. And Sean Patrick Thomas knows this! YOU GO, SEAN PATRICK THOMAS. (#YGSPT)

15. Ugh, her friend is so ignorant

I’m not going to repeat the conversation, but I think we all know that time in the movie where Sara’s talking to someone from home and the friend’s all, “You like a guy? I didn’t know your school had white guys” and it’s all you can do not to say AHHHHH UGHHH YOU ARE THE WORST. Right?! I’m glad Sara obviously never speaks to her after that conversation because I think that’s a friendship we should all celebrate the demise of. Why be friends with her when you can be friends with Keri Washington, my best friend?

16. But what I DO love is how they all of a sudden are a couple

RIGHT? Like, okay. Let’s be honest. Everything is always better when all of a sudden it’s like, “Oh, so I guess this is a thing that’s happening!” and you don’t even realize it. Case and point: THIS. One minute they’re dancing at Steps and the next Sean Patrick Thomas is taking her to a ballet and they’re dating, I guess? Who cares! It’s great. Juuuuuust go with it, you crazy kids. YOU GO, GUYS.

17. So what if I DID think I could dance because of this movie

Me, like every other person with a heart, love dance parties. They’re one of my most favourite things, but I’ll let you in on this exclusive news: I am NOT a hip-hop dancer nor will I ever be. I like to shake my groove thang and bust one or many moves, but in no way can I do the “You Can Do It” dance from Save The Last Dance that we ALL know the steps to but can’t actually execute. AM I CORRECT? How do I still remember the steps (JUST LIKE THE CLUB THEY ARE AT) to this part of the movie but I can’t retain anything from grade 12 chemistry? What’s wrong with me? (NOTHING. Because this scene is my chemistry now.)

18. Nikki rules though we all just need to admit it

OKAY FINE she is also really mean and judgemental and rude. BUT she’s really… intimidating and kind of cool? AH this is all coming out wrong. Basically I used to love (and kind of still do) the part where she was just like, “Watch me squash this.” And then she does! BUT, yes, obviously she is out of control and needs to be stopped because she’s terribly mean.

More importantly, though, who does Derek think he is just dancing with her super Dirty Dancing-like and ditching Sara? WHO ARE YOU, SEAN PATRICK THOMAS? That would probably be a dealbreaker for me. Like, “Remember when you ditched me and started full-on grinding with that girl you used to date? We need to talk about that and when I say ‘talk about that’ I mean ‘whaaaaaaaat is your deal?’” Boundaries, guy! Come on, now!

19. We need to talk about the basketball scene

SO it’s the part where Niki and Sara are playing basketball and Sean Patrick Thomas and Malikai are playing basketball and Pharoahe Monch is playing, and IT IS ON. All of it. All of it! Did anyone else think everyone was going to die the first time they saw this scene? I seriously did. I truly believed one or more characters was going to pass away. BUT ENOUGH ABOUT THAT, the worst part of the movie is about to happen:

Nikki: “It ain’t over, b—-”

Sara: “I don’t even know why it started, b—-”

UGHHHHH. First, this is the worst because ugh, this type of confrontation is horrible. Second, remember when Sara responds with the SAME INSULT NIKKI JUST USED? WHY. Any other word! And I am not condoning discussions like this — seriously, Nikki and Sam would probably get along in the long run if they just actually communicated like adults. But I mean, maybe just … end the sentence with “I don’t even know why it started.” The curse word is unnecessary. When is namecalling ever the answer? And more importantly, why is using the SAME namecall an option? Just… maybe even “dude.” Or “guy.” Obviously I am terrific in terms of movie teen dialogue.

20. Woah Sara you’re ditching Sean Patrick Thomas for the couples night at Steps?

WHAAAAAT?! I mean, Kerry Washington totally freaked out at the walk-in, and now Sara wants to break up with Derek because people are ignorant and close-minded? This actually upsetting. BUT YOU KNOW WHAT ISN’T? The KC and Jo-Jo song that is currently playing that DICTATED MY LIFE circa this movie’s release. Shout-out if you were in grade 10 in the first half of 2001. This was THE SONG you tried to get someone to dance with during. Or the song you played when you find out they had a girlfriend and you were like, “FINE. I SEE HOW IT IS.”

21. And then Roy makes Sara’s room nice and it’s kind of mysterious how it happened, but still! Nice!

How she didn’t hear him doing all the construction or smell the paint from her bedroom that is the living room right beside her new bedroom is beyond me, but HEY. It’s a thing! So CUTE, ROY. You’re a good Dad. You’re trying your best! Also you are obviously gifted in terms of DIY projects because you could literally reach out and touch the outdoors from inside that room before you built walls. So congratulations, sir. You’ve done us all proud.

22. Since when do judges and/or judging panels remember anyone?

This guy! This judge with the ponytail! “Miss Johnson,” he says. “We meet again.” WHAT?! When has anyone remembered anyone’s name from any other place or time? This guy sees THOUSANDS of people a YEAR. There is no way he’d say, “Oh IIIIII remember YOU. The one who FELL!” No. Also, he probably just wants to go home. No judge actively hates someone auditioning unless that person is like, someone who he saw egg his car or something. And even then, he STILL probably doesn’t care because he’s earning more money than you and I ever will.

23. Shout-out to Derek though who almost gets escorted out of the venue

Here is a word to the wise. Just wait outside of the audition room. I feel like that is the most professional way to go. Imagine actors’ parents and/or significant others came with them when they’re kids and/or partners were auditioning for something? NO. It would never ever happen! Or if it did, that person would 100% not get the job. BUT THANK YOU ANYWAY, DEREK. I mean, I imagine Sara did not get the spot at Julliard because you almost had to be escorted out of the venue, BUT you were there and that was enough.

24. But wait, no, she got an early acceptance

Because she used a folding char in her routine (which made me SO MAD because in my opinion only the Backstreet Boys could do that, and even then, that was my least favourite Backstreet Boys dance ever)? Also, the judge says “I can’t say this on the record, but…[offers her an acceptance]” and see, to me that would make me think he was lying OR I was not going to make it in still. SHOW ME THE MONEY AND/OR CONTRACT, SIR. Then I will believe you. Until then, I will assume that my boyfriend who broke into the auditorium when I’m trying to audition for this incredibly exclusive school completely ruined my audition. Who then also ran out ON STAGE when I was finished my routine and yelled at the judging panel. NO. Oh my god, that would seriously cause some serious tension between us. As in, I would probably say “What is WRONG with you!?” and/or “Could we not have just freaked out AFTER the fact and/or gotten Chinese food in celebration?” And no matter what his answer would be I’d still be like, “No, but seriously like… my routine was like, two minuts. You couldn’t have just opened the door a bit, then closed it and just stood there until I was done?”

Am I being irrational here? (No.)

25. BUT IT’S FINE IT’S ALL UNDER CONTROL

Because she DID get in! And Derek didn’t go jail and is going to medical school! And Kerry Washington is awesome as always! And Nikki’s dancing and it’s fine. It’s all fine, you guys! We had fun. We still love Save The Last Dance because you know why? We know it off by heart and I’ll be listening to the soundtrack until I literally can’t listen to it anymore*.

*Which is a lie. I can always listen to the soundtrack, and I can always watch this movie. Because KC and Jo-Jo just started playing again and OH MAN. Grade 10, you guys. School dancing. Thinking you knew the steps to “You Can Do It.” OH TO BE YOUNG AGAIN. (Cherish this time, guys.) (Just avoid the pleather AVOID IT. For me.)

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  1. I was always annoyed with my parents. Haha basically if they didn’t come, I was like YOU DONT LOVE MEEE. And if they did come, they didn’t care enough. Especially my mom who came only to home games(I played volleyball) and she like did not cheer, no she kind of just sat and was bored. I was like, WHY DONT YOU CARE ABOUT MEEEE. In retrospect I may have put a little too much importance on that.

  2. I’m so happy you did this movie! I probably watched it a hundred times with my bestie in high school. I also had several pairs of unfortunate overalls…

  3. I was obsessed with this movie in the 8th grade! I remember getting all dressed up with my friends and going out and seeing this and The Wedding Planner on the same night! Although she was dressed in those awful skirts, I thought her hair was so cool. That little twisting her hair back and putting it in those tiny rubber bands thing…I did it way too much.

  4. i ADORE THIS MOVIE!!! your columns make me smile because you always pick movies that i love :)

  5. I always wind up reading your column at work and have to work SO hard to stifle my violent laughing. Your column is my absolute favorite on HelloGiggles (mostly because everything you write is EXACTLY what I think whilst watching these movies…let’s be BFFs?). Can’t wait for your inevitable While You Were Sleeping post about Sandra Bullock during Christmas!

    • While You Were Sleeping is like the best. Of all the things. It is a must watch christmas movie in my house. ALSO ANNE! Can you PLEASE do Little Women!? Kiki Dunst! Winona Ryder! Claire Danes(have you seen the Claire Danes cry face project? It’s a tumblr that will rock your world to the core)

  6. These are literally my favourite Hello Giggles posts. You rock my socks, Anne!