Nobody Puts Swayze in a Corner

Following the troubling news about Patrick Swayze’s pancreatic cancer, and after reading Perez Hilton’s suggestion for a gesture, I thought I would do one better and watch Swayze’s hit movie ‘Dirty Dancing’ again – as I have only watched it once, 21 years ago.

A couple of nostalgia notes:
1. I first watched the movie when it came out in 1987 in the local cinema in my hometown. The coming of age of Baby (Jennifer Grey) was also my generation’s coming of age, and as 300 people left the cinema that evening (this is before the tiny cineplexes came around), all the boys wanted to be Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze) and all the girls wanted to be with Johnny Castle.
2. Patrick Swayze’s song ‘She’s like the wind’, played when Johnny is forced to leave the vacation resort, was the song we all slow danced to in 4th grade. I can still remember the birthday party in which I danced to it for the first time with Amit Sadeh who would later be my first girlfriend and my partner to many other firsts that year.
3. While I knew it was inconceivable, for years I was certain that Swayze is singing ‘She’s outta Ma’alit’ (elevator in Hebrew). Have a listen before you dismiss it:

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Okay, so he actually sings ‘She’s outta my league’ – but my English skills did not peak until later on.
4. For years I was certain that Jennifer Grey and Sarah Jessica Parker are the same person. It may sound silly, but I think I tracked down a number of extenuating circumstances:
First, I think there is a general similarity between the two, which goes beyond the nose:
Left: Jennifer Grey (1987) – Right: Sarah Jessica Parker (1984)
Left: Jennifer Grey (1987) – Right: Sarah Jessica Parker (1984)

Second, both actresses played in the big dancing movies of the Eighties: Grey in Dirty Dancing (1987) and Parker in Footloose (1984).
Last, Matthew Broderick surely agrees with me, as he dated both actresses, was engaged to Grey and ended up marrying Parker.
Aside: Grey played Broderick’s sister in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986), after which the two became romantically involved – Does that count as an incestuous relationship?

A couple of notes following my seeing the movie in 2008:
1. Even by today’s standards it is a very entertaining movie, although the protagonists are not given enough time to grow. This is especially evident when Baby delivers her memorable line about being “scared of walking out of this room and never feeling the rest of my whole life, the way I feel when I’m with you”, which seemed to me as appearing too soon in the relationship.
2. Only after seeing the movie as an adult did I finally notice how Jewish the film is. All of a sudden it dawned on me that the only guests at Kellerman’s are the Housemans, the Pressmans, the Schumacher, and even “on the west porch, we have a symposium by Rabbi Maurice Sherman”. Then again, my only Catskills experience is watching PBS’s The Jewish Americans series.
3. I was surprised that twenty years later I vividly remember a lot of scenes from the movie, including tiny gestures by Baby like the double take on the bridge, the squinty head nod before the climactic lift, Johnny’s sweaty look after jumping off the stage – and worst of all, the entire chorus of the Kellerman’s Anthem (…voices, hearths and hands…).
Memorable Dirty Dancing scenes (from left to right): Baby's double take on the bridge, Johnny's sweaty look after jumping off the stage, the Kellerman's Anthem, Baby's squinty head nod before the climactic lift.
 
 

Hope Swayze gets well soon – I am off to watch Ghost (1990).