What's so great about Dirty Dancing (1987)?

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It's such a classic in people's eyes, especially my friends. Three of my friends say it's one of their top favorite movies, of all time, if not their most favorite movie ever. But why exactly?

I mean it's not a bad movie by any means, but it's in no way perfect I don't think. I think it suffers from some structure problems.

SPOILERS


For one thing, I didn't buy who the two main characters would want to have sex right after witnessing their friend having to suffer through a botched abortion. But they decide to have sex literally like an hour later, which felt all wrong to me, pacing and mood wise, as if the filmmakers came back into the editing room and were not aware of how close the previous scenario still was. So I just wasn't feeling the love at all because it was so soon afterwards.

Another thing is, Johnny tells Baby's dad that he got his friend pregnant, so her friend would not be fired from her job.

But Johnny is constantly trying to seek Baby's dad's approval. He even tells Baby to tell her Dad about them but baby doesn't want to, afraid of disapproval.

However, Johnny is the one who caused the disapproval by lying to Baby's dad. So all Johnny has to do is tell her dad that he lied about getting the woman pregnant so she could keep her job.

Yet he never tells her dad this and Baby never tells him either. Even when her dad tells Johnny that's the reason why he doesn't approve of him, Johnny responds by saying "Yeah would think that wouldn't you".

Well duh, you told him you did! All you have to do is tell him you actually didn't and you just said you did so the friend could keep her job. But he doesn't! He keeps shooting himself in the foot, and expecting Baby to correct it by putting the weight on her shoulders.

Maybe it's better if Baby was the one to explain but she doesn't do it either! Her Dad has to find out from the actual guy who got her pregnant. But the fact that neither Baby or Johnny would tell him the truth is just not convincing to me.

Also the final song that Baby and Johnny are dancing too took me out of the movie. The movie is suppose to take place in the early 60s, but you can so tell that the song they are dancing too at the dance was a late 80s song, by the sound of it. So it came off as unintentionally anachronistic, and that took me out of it.

I actually compared to the movie to Saturday Night Fever, cause they are both dancing movies with some romance in, but thought that Saturday Night Fever, was better. Buy my friends thought it was so not even in the same league as Dirty Dancing.

So what is about this movie that is has become such a classic?



It's not really a classic in the usual sense of term. It's a "classic" in the way Goonies is a classic: that is to say, it's really beloved by a lot of people who were the right age to see it when they did, so it had an outsized impact on those particular people.

Which is not to say others don't love it, just that it's not the kind of thing that's just going to be rediscovered and loved intensely by huge portions of each success generation, the way a Casablanca is.

At to the rest of the stuff: without going bit-by-bit, I think the response I posted a few threads ago about accepting a movie's internal logic and exaggerated universe probably apply to most of them. Any question that can be boiled down to "why isn't a fundamentally unrealistic movie more like reality?" probably doesn't require an answer.
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But that's just it though. My friends don't even like Casablanca. So doesn't that mean they hold Dirty Dancing in a higher regard as the term classic goes?



You can't win an argument just by being right!
My friends don't even like Casablanca. So doesn't that mean they hold Dirty Dancing in a higher regard as the term classic goes?
Oh My. maybe they just really loved DD. Why dont you ask them LP? I have even seen it but it was universally loved, much like LLL.



The movie is suppose to take place in the early 60s, but you can so tell that the song they are dancing too at the dance was a late 80s song, by the sound of it. So it came off as unintentionally anachronistic, and that took me out of it.
This was handled by a tongue in cheek moment when the country club emcee asks if this song "has sheet music", a wink and a nod to the contemporary soundtrack. Ladyhawke did it much, much worse, contemporise a period piece. Dirty Dancing is just pure escapist fun for pre teens, teens and adults of any age that can stomach it. It's confectionary but still juggles some heavy themes, typical of the unbalanced 1980's. I love the movie, personally. Sometimes a deep analysis is just not recommended for a film like this. Hahaha.



And I know what you mean about the Johnyy remark "that figures you'd think that" or whatever he says. I always remembered that inconsistency but I chalk it up to Johnny calling out the dad for just being too judgmental...meh, fug it, who cares.



But that's just it though. My friends don't even like Casablanca.
Casablanca was just an example; substitute any film that's highly acclaimed across generations (not just those that were coming of age when it was popular) and the point is the same.

So doesn't that mean they hold Dirty Dancing in a higher regard as the term classic goes?
Not necessarily, no. People don't really use any words the same, let alone something as vague as "classic." For example, I use it to describe films whose quality can appeal to audiences across a large swath of time. I may "like" films I saw at certain points in my life more, but I can recognize that I like them more because of the circumstances under which I saw them: circumstances which I know will not apply to others.

Regardless, if you're just trying to find out why your friends like something, why not ask them?



You can't win an argument just by being right!
This was handled by a tongue in cheek moment when the country club emcee asks if this song "has sheet music", a wink and a nod to the contemporary soundtrack. Ladyhawke did it much, much worse, contemporise a period piece..
Oh LMAO!!! I had no idea they did that. Brilliant!



Oh LMAO!!! I had no idea they did that. Brilliant!
I only noticed that quick scene the most recent time seeing it about 2 yrs ago. I've seen it about 6 times since 1988. Blink and you'll miss it, but it's at the dance off section, near the end.



You can't win an argument just by being right!
but I can recognize that I like them more because of the circumstances under which I saw them: circumstances where I know will not apply to others.
Classic! I'm going to use that if you dont mind.



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Well maybe the term classic was the wrong term to use but I thought that that is what it is, since people I know put in their top 5, or even top 3 movies of all time.

I don't think I was analyzing the movie too deeply, I felt the weaknesses in it were obviously jarring, where not much thinking was required.



You can't win an argument just by being right!
Saying it's 'their favourite' does not mean it's a classic in their eyes.



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But I thought that the amount of favorites, dictates whether or not it's a classic. Now there are some classics but that the majority of people do not like like The Birth of a Nation (1915) for example, but I feel that Dirty Dancing is a favorite type classic for a lot of people.



You can't win an argument just by being right!
But I thought that the amount of favorites, dictates whether or not it's a classic. Now there are some classics but that the majority of people do not like like The Birth of a Nation (1915) for example, but I feel that Dirty Dancing is a favorite type classic for a lot of people.
I've neverseen some Classics but I'll still call them A Classic. I've probably also seen some Classics I dont like, or call some movies classic a lot of people dont like. I've also done it with books, music, sculptures and paintings. You need to relax a bit and just enjoy what entertains YOU rather than worry about what everyone else is doing, matey.



But I thought that the amount of favorites, dictates whether or not it's a classic.
There is obviously no formal standard for what makes a film a "classic," and I don't see any kind of clear consensus as to how people use the term. As I said earlier:
People don't really use any words the same, let alone something as vague as "classic." For example, I use it to describe films whose quality can appeal to audiences across a large swath of time.
Apparently, this isn't how you use it. Is it how your friends use it? If not, then you need to start by defining the term. If you don't, then any question asking why some people use it to describe a film and others don't is literally impossible to answer.

Now there are some classics but that the majority of people do not like like The Birth of a Nation (1915) for example, but I feel that Dirty Dancing is a favorite type classic for a lot of people.
See, even right here, you're saying there are at least two "types" of classics, which is exactly what my first reply said. You didn't seem to find this sufficient, for some reason, but it explains pretty much the whole problem.



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Well by classic in this sense, I mean a movie that the majority of people seem to really love.



I'd say that's a very unusual definition that would produce a lot of counterintuitive "classics," but how you define it isn't really the point, which is this bit from the previous post:
...you need to start by defining the term. If you don't, then any question asking why some people use it to describe a film and others don't is literally impossible to answer.
That people would disagree on how good a film is isn't very noteworthy, but it means absolutely nothing when the "disagreement" is whether or not to affix a label that doesn't even mean the same thing to all of them to begin with.



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Okay perhaps I used the wrong term then.