Dirty Dancing (1987) Review

Synopsis

Baby (Jennifer Grey) is one listless summer away from the Peace Corps. Hoping to enjoy her youth while it lasts, she’s disappointed when her summer plans deposit her at a sleepy resort in the Catskills with her parents. Her luck turns around, however, when the resort’s dance instructor, Johnny (Patrick Swayze), enlists Baby as his new partner, and the two fall in love. Baby’s father forbids her from seeing Johnny, but she’s determined to help him perform the last big dance of the summer.

Release date: August 21, 1987

(USA)Director: Emile Ardolino

Awards: Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature

Location: Lake Lure

My Review

This film has been one of my go to summer movies for years. Its memorable soundtrack, dance numbers, well-rounded acting, and charming dialogue creates the perfect entertaining summer film. Overall, I would consider this film to be light-hearted. But that’s not to say it doesn’t have its fair share of drama in the plot. However, the portrayal of the film’s plot points are done so in a way that doesn’t ruin the films overall relaxed summer feel. The acting in this film is remarkable, and the dancing goes even beyond that.

My favorite thing about this film is that while it’s listed as a romantic movie, and the plot focuses heavily on the relationship between Baby and Johnny, the plot digs much deeper than that. Unlike most romance based films, I wouldn’t call this film a chick flick. There is way more to this film besides the relationship between its two protagonists. In fact, the film also focuses on the roles of social statues, the relationship between baby and her father, friendship, and what it means to do the right thing. Because “Nobody puts baby in a corner.”

This film was shot on location at Lake Lure, which added a lot to the film. The whole environment set up by the filmmakers help to create the nostalgic summer feeling from childhood. The coming of age element to the movies plot will easily make you reminiscent on past summer romances, and what it felt like falling in love for the first time.

The film also captures and embodies the well-versed feel and themes of 80s movies. Any audience member watching this film will easily find themselves transported back in time, and most likely tapping their foot along to the music. My only complaint about this film is that it makes me wish I was a better dancer.

My Rating

9.5/10


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Chicago (2002) Review

Synopsis

Nightclub sensation Velma (Catherine Zeta-Jones) murders her philandering husband, and Chicago’s slickest lawyer, Billy Flynn (Richard Gere), is set to defend her. But when Roxie (Renée Zellweger) also winds up in prison, Billy takes on her case as well — turning her into a media circus of headlines. Neither woman will be outdone in their fight against each other and the public for fame and celebrity.

Release date: December 27, 2002

(USA)Director: Rob Marshall

My Review

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this film. The parallel editing within the plot is unique and an artistic masterpiece. The acting, dance numbers, and singing in this film did not disappoint. My absolute favorite thing about this film is the set and costume designs. The filmmakers excelled at creating a visual experience for the audience through ornate detailing in every single set and costume piece. However, I will say that some musical numbers seemed a little pointless, and overall silly compared to the others.

It is easy to tell that both the filmmakers and actors put everything they had into this film. As usual, Renée Zellweger does a phenomenal job, and her performance in this film is both charming and daunting. Catherine Zeta-Jones shined brightly in her performance as well. Especially in the dance numbers. It was easy to tell Catherine is the better dancer between the two. Both women completely became the characters they portrayed and had outstanding performances.

The plot of this film stays consistently entertaining throughout, and for the most part I would say there is a well established balance between the dialogue and musical numbers. I know this film recreates the musical Chicago in a movie form, and it’s not the movies fault but some songs are way to silly and pointless. These silly musical numbers lost my attention into the film for their whole duration. However, the transitions into and out of the musical numbers were seamless and kept my attention all throughout.

The parallel editing between scenes in this film was extremely unique and I cannot recall ever seeing anything with a similar style pulled off as effortlessly as this film does. The creative liberty taken by the filmmakers was genius and well thought out. For example, the scene with Roxie being used metaphorically and symbolically as a puppet by her lawyer was very expressive.

Overall, this film captures the musical Chicago in a new and creative way. The film is both entertaining and enjoyable to watch. However, I’m not sure if I would ever watch this film again. Once may be enough for me.

My Rating

7.5 out of 10


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