Golden Oldies On the Big Screen Golden Oldies On the Big Screen




For, Friday, Aug. 21, 2020

EDITOR’S NOTE: The title is actually dirtier than the film itself and ‘Dirty Dancing’ was a surprise hit some 33 years ago, landing among the top 5 films during its first four weeks in theaters — and it was No. 2 over Labor Day weekend, a big moviegoing period, and No. 16 for the year (the year of ‘Beverly Hills Cop’ and ‘Fatal Attraction’) It is also still beloved by those of a certain age who were touched by it when they were teens. Now you can see it on the big screen again as it’s revived in in two Megaplex multiplexes, Jordan Commons in Sandy and The District in South Jordan. My review was published in the Deseret News on Sept. 2, 1987.

“Dirty Dancing” is a better-than-average coming-of-age yarn about a young girl (Jennifer Grey) who spends her 1963 summer vacation at a Catskills resort with her family and falls for a talented, cynical working-class dance instructor (Patrick Swayze).

Grey plays the daughter of a wealthy doctor (Jerry Orbach), and is extremely idealistic and naïve — looking forward to joining the Peace Corps and changing the world … after college, of course.


       Jennifer Grey, Patrick Swayze, 'Dirty Dancing' (1987)

But reality comes crashing in when she becomes friendly with the employees, as she helps one dancer (Cynthia Rhodes) get an abortion on the sly, fills in for that dancer during an important engagement and lies to her father, disappointing him and causing their relationship to become rather frigid.

Then, despite the consequences of casual sex she observes in Rhodes, she begins a love affair with Swayze. (Does anyone ever come of age in the movies without losing their virginity?)

Grey learns lessons from Swayze and friends, and they learn lessons from her, and Dad eventually comes around, and everyone lives happily ever after in an extremely sappy “Hollywood” ending.


Yet, there is that energetic dancing, the earnest performances of Grey (notable for playing Matthew Broderick’s sister in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”), nice pre-Beatles ’60s tunes and a romantic, gentle remembrance of the times.

On the whole, “Dirty Dancing” is an enjoyable light romance for older teens.

It’s Rated PG-13 for sex, partial nudity, profanity, violence, suggestive dancing.