Monday, May 11, 2009

Why Dirty Dancing is my favorite chick flick

At several points, I've been asked what my favorite chick flick, and my answer is always Dirty Dancing. Or, in differing circumstances, I've been accused of liking none of them, because I hate The Notebook, or I've boasted that I'm awesome (not my exact words) because of my love for Dirty Dancing.


Now, as far as Dirty Dancing and I go, it is actually a surprisingly good movie. Despite its logic gaps – Patrick Swayze is definitely more mid-20s and Jennifer Grey is 17/18, which is creepy, and the weird miscarriage / abortion scene in the middle feels very out-of-place – the movie has some great, unforgettable scenes, especially toward the end. Jerry Orbach (a.k.a. Lenny Briscoe from Law and Order) is an especially great supporting character, as the gruff dad of Baby who is gradually won over. He also has the best line in the movie, when he apologizes to Swayze at the end: When I'm wrong, I say I'm wrong.


However, this would just make Dirty Dancing a good movie. In this regard, other chick flicks like Ten Things I Hate About You and Say Anything are just as good. In fact, if I was judging solely based on quality, then Say Anything would have to be at the top of my list. It is warm and affectionate, with genuine chemistry between John Cusack and Ione Skye, the most gorgeous 1980s actress. (Not hot or sexy – That feels like too lurid of a term to use for her.) It features the boom box scene, which is even better than any moment in Dirty Dancing, and the story is more realistic and doesn't take the easy way out.


But Dirty Dancing will always top my list because it is the first time I watched a movie with a girl in a romantic way. I've always found that my feelings, emotions and surroundings coming into a movie can effect my enjoyment of it, and this was definitely one of those cases.


To set the scene, it was during the bus ride up to Quebec City in 2000, when I was in 10th grade and 16 years old. For some reason, a girl in my French III class, a junior named Heather, was kind of flirty and affectionate toward me the entire way up. And, for some reason, we managed to be snuggled together and next to each other under a blanket at one point while watching Dirty Dancing. It was a three day trip, and for most of the trip, we were around one another, kind of flirty and playful in that awkward teenage way, at least from my end.


Nothing really illicit happened – Setting up a horrible condition that plagues me to present time, I clearly had an opening to kiss several times, but never pulled it off. And once we were back at school, the magic dissipated completely. I have no idea what she found attractive about me then, and why it switched off so quickly. (I was definitely into her because she was very attractive and had a sweet personality.) We probably exchanged 10 words before this trip, and 10 words after in the remaining months of school, and she went to another school or dropped out her senior year. (We didn't hang out in the same social circles, but I got the impression she dated dirtbags and generally had issues with her family.) On a whim, I tried to Facebook her a year or two ago, but her name is so common that it was impossible to find. (If you're from Chariho and reading this, ask me and I'll divulge her last name.)


Now, the point of this entry wasn't to try to dredge up the past in hopes of reviving something (but if you are reading this, and are still attractive and single, then by all means contact me), but instead to explore the phenomenon of association. I've always been fascinated by it since it happens to me a lot. Sticking to my love life, I don't like to listen to “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd as much ever since a bad break-up decision on my part, and while Ten Things I Hate About You is a great movie, it makes me cringe at times because it reminds me of my first date, who I saw this movie with, and who I was hopelessly over my head with.

2 comments:

  1. haha...I know who you saw Ten Things I Hate About You with. Could it have been worse than Save the Last Dance? Who is this Heather you speak of?

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  2. In reflection the "Ten Things I Hate About You" date is so achingly high school that I'm not super upset about it. When they make the movie of my life, that will be the pathetic moment that will make the audience swoon and fall in love with me. "Save the Last Dance" was like Romeo and Juliet compared to that.

    I'll send you a Facebook message about the Chariho person.

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