Dirty Dancing

Patrick Swayze Dirty Dancing

Film (with rating): Dirty Dancing (PG-13)

Studio: Lions Gate

Summary: An innocent young woman (pre-nose job Jennifer Grey) on vacation with her family in the Catskills is introduced to the sensuality of dance and love when she meets the dance instructor (Patrick Swayze) at her resort hotel.

Review: “That was the summer of 1963 – when everybody called me Baby, and it didn’t occur to me to mind. That was before President Kennedy was shot, before the Beatles came, when I couldn’t wait to join the Peace Corps, and I thought I’d never find a guy as great as my dad. That was the summer we went to Kellerman’s.”  –Frances “Baby” Houseman

God, I love this movie! It’s campy and simplistic at times, complex and realistic at others. And I love it. Even more now.  Although we knew Patrick Swayze was most likely not going to win his latest battle, it still came as a sad shock when we learned he passed away this week after a 20-month battle with pancreatic cancer. Although he has a huge body of work throughout his decades as both a movie star and dancer, it will always be “Dirty Dancing” that I think of whenever someone mentions Patrick Swayze’s name.

When this movie came out in 1987, I was in high school, and my friends and I spent many, many Friday nights at the local theater, swooning over Johnny Castle and wishing we were Baby Houseman. The dance sequences always captivated me, and watching the chemistry between Swazye and Grey never failed to fascinate. I begged my parents to let us vacation in the Catskills, secretly hoping I’d find myself a tall hero who would tell the world, “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.” The soundtrack, the quotes–all of it reminds me of simpler times and idealistic youth.

One of the reasons I enjoy the movie so much now, all these years later, is because I can see how versatile an actor Swayze was. He danced, did all of his own stunts (much to the producers’ terror), produced a believable character and even wrote/sang one of the hallmark songs on the soundtrack. Sure, he made some poor career choices when it came to movie selection, but in the end, his fans loved and respected him for what he did well: play the romantic hero. T

hank you, Patrick, for making us all believe that anyone can dance, and no one has to put us in corners. As he one said to “Entertainment Weekly:” “No matter what opinion Hollywood has of you, fans never forget you if you never forget them.”

Amen, Patrick. We’ll miss you, and won’t forget you.

Extra highlight: Who cares? Just watch the movie again.

What to serve for dinner: Go with what they serve at a modern-day Catskill’s resort, Mohonk Mountain House: Grilled New York strip steak with potato gratin and steamed baby carrots.

For the steak….(www.thatsmyhome.com)

* 1/4 C. brown sugar
* 1/4 C. soy sauce
* 2 T. Worcestershire sauce
* Juice of half a lemon
* 1/4 t. garlic powder
* 1/2 C. Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey

Stir together brown sugar, soy sauce, Worcestershire, lemon juice, garlic powder and whiskey. Place steaks in a big plastic bag. Pour in marinade and seal bag. Refrigerate at least one hour. Remove meat from marinade and grill over medium coals for five minutes per side for medium-rare.

For the potatoes…(foodnetwork.com)

    *  2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and sliced paper-thin
    * 2 cups heavy cream
    * 2 garlic cloves, split
    * Leaves from 4 fresh thyme sprigs
    * 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, plus more for garnish
    * 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
    * Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients, tossing to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Put the potato mixture into a casserole dish, flatten it out with a spatula and bake for 40 minutes until the potatoes are tender and the gratin is bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh chives.

What to talk about over dinner: What was your favorite “Dirty Dancing” quote? Scene? Character? How many times have you seen this movie? Did it inspire you to take up dancing? Vacation in the Catskills? What were your favorite Patrick Swayze movies? Who was your first love? Did you ever go away on family vacations like this? What one was your favorite? What have you done that is totally out of character? Or that scared you silly? Did you ever date someone your parents disapproved of? Did you ever fall for someone out of your league? Why did Jennifer Grey get a nose job anyway? Did that have anything to do with her career falling off the radar?

This entry was posted in Family Films by Kyra Kirkwood. Bookmark the permalink.

About Kyra Kirkwood

Kyra Kirkwood is an award-winning journalist who combines her love of movies and good food in her "Dinner and a DVD" column. Get your week started right with her "Meatless Monday Movies" every Monday, and prepare for the weekend with another "Dinner and a DVD" column on Fridays. "My mama always said, 'Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.'" Forrest Gump

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