Dirty Dancing DVD

Directed by: Emile Arolino. Starring: Jennifer Grey, Patrick Swayze, and Cynthia Rhodes.

Dirty Dancing

Synopsis: Frances “Baby” Houseman (Jennifer Grey, daughter of ageless hoofer Joel Grey) has been vacationing in the Catskills with her family for many years. Uneventfully. One summer, she falls under the sway (as it were) of dance instructor Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze). Baby is a pampered pup, but Johnny is a man of the world. Baby’s father, Jake (Law and Order’s Jerry Orbach), can’t see the basic decency in greaser Johnny that she can.

It should come as no surprise to find that Baby, who can be as immature as her name, learns more about love and life—and dancing—from free-spirited Johnny than traditionalist Jake.

Sample quote: “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.” — Johnny

Comment: This isn’t really a “good” movie. Some of the dialogue and plot points are a bit ludicrous, and Swayze just kind of looks too old for Jennifer Grey. But the dancing is terrific, a lot of the scenes are beautifully staged, it’s eminently quotable, and it somehow can’t help but leave you with a stupid, irrational, happy feeling. Rating: **½

Also see blog post: A “smart” Dirty Dancing?

The Extras: It’s the “Collector’s Edition,” so it’s full of stuff—making of, little news items that cited it, three music videos, and an entire Dirty Dancing “Live in Concert” show (that I haven’t sat through all of). The commentary is somewhat annoying because it completely drowns out the ambient movie sound, and there is no English subtitle option (though that may not matter to those who have seen this so often they have it memorized). The behind the scenes story on this film is pretty interesting, because this movie was a success way, way beyond anyone’s expectations of it.

Usability: The main menu features clips from the movie to the sounds of “Hungry Eyes.” The opening chords of that become annoying in repetition, but at least the loop is long. Navigating to the various options is pretty straightforward until you get to the “Dirty Dancing in Concert” sequence, where Play is not the default option (and the options in general aren’t that clear).