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Saturday, January 3, 2009

ASJ Blog Analyzes Opening Sequence

ASJFoundationPortfolio, a blog written by Amie Wood, Samantha Tait and Jessica Daley in Hartlepool, UK, includes an interesting anaylysis of Dirty Dancing's opening sequence, the slow-motion dance with the title and main credits. Their article:

In the opening sequence of the film the director uses medium close ups to show the intimacy of the dancers, this is significant as the film is called Dirty Dancing. The camera focuses on the characters by using extreme close-ups so the audience can see their facial expressions. The camera then follows different characters; the camera movement is very steady.

The opening sequence gives the audience an idea of a later enigma, as the closeness of the dancers later relate to the intimacy of the two main characters in the film. The opening sequence is also a montage of the full film.

The costume design, hair and make up are all symbolic as it represents the period that the film is set in, which is the 1960’s. The female’s costumes are very revealing, which reflects the sexual relationship that the characters have.

The edits during this sequence are rather slow which refers to the pace of the song, which creates the impression that music is an important convention involved in this genre of film.

The use of black and white also gives the pink text more effect as it makes it stand out and look visually appealing. The style of the writing is very feminine suggesting that this film shows the life of a young girl.

Dean Winkelspecht Loved the Music's reviewer Dean Winkelspecht remembers in a review, which he wrote in June 2007, that he always has loved the movie Dirty Dancing mostly because of its music.
.... I believe my first experience with this film was being taken with my older sister Cindy to see the film at a theater. .... This film was all about Patrick Swayze and dancing. I´m sure that was the primary reason that Cindy dragged myself and my nephew Don to go see Dirty Dancing. Don and I are the same age, as my sister is a good deal older, so we both had to suffer for this "date movie." 
.... Truth be told, there is something I have always enjoyed about Dirty Dancing. It isn´t the humor. It isn´t the dancing and it certainly isn´t Patrick Swayze. Jennifer Grey was twenty seven when Dirty Dancing was released and she portrayed a teenage rich girl in the film. She was cute, but she wasn´t the reason I agreed to go along to see this film. 
I was fifteen years old at the time and going to see Dirty Dancing with your sister wasn´t exactly the "cool" thing to do. What I enjoyed about Dirty Dancing was the music. I absolutely love some of the Oldies that appear in the film. "Be My Baby," "Big Girls Don´t Cry," "Where Are You Tonight," "Do You Love Me," "Love Man," "Stay," "Some Kind of Wonderful," "These Arms of Mine," and "Love is Strange" are just a few of the great songs contained on the film´s soundtrack. If anything, Dirty Dancing is one of the finest films based upon its soundtrack. .... 
I don´t recall if the dancing depicted in the film was necessarily shocking and risky twenty years ago. It was all offensive to me at that time. Since then, I´ve certainly spent enough time on club dance floors to not find anything in Dirty Dancing to be offensive. This film had a decent story and decent performances, but it is a tribute to the music and the era in which the film is set. It is a journey back in time for many to enjoy, such as my older sister. 
For younger audiences, it is a curiosity of the Eighties that looks at the Sixties. I´ve seen this film more times than I want to admit to. Oddly, I still find myself enjoying it.

Pete Croatto Credits Jennifer Grey for Success's Pete Croatto wrote a retrospective review of the movie in 2003. Here are some excerpts:

Dirty Dancing’s initial success in 1987 was probably a mixture of factors — Patrick Swayze’s anointment as a sensitive hunk, the fact that the movie’s sweetness was a change of pace from the loud, expensive blockbusters that dominated the landscape at the time and a pop soundtrack of golden oldies and then-current songs that flooded radio stations.

However, after watching the movie recently, the key to the movie’s limitless charm is revealed to be due to the presence of Jennifer Grey. Without her performance, the movie is a flop, Bill Medley isn’t cool again and, well, Swayze and Grey drift into irrelevance a year or two earlier.

Set at a posh Catskills resort in the summer of 1963, soon-to-be college freshman Baby (Grey) and her family are set to get some relaxation in. However, volleyball and lame dances don’t appeal to the worldly Baby. Out looking for some excitement, she stumbles upon the staff’s lodge, where much to her surprise, she sees a ton of young people set free of familial restraints. They’re grinding, they’re sweating, they’re dirty dancing.

The hero of this pack of well-toned hoofers is Johnny (Swayze), the resort dance instructor who plays by his own rules, but can’t get anyone else to play along. Baby falls instantly for him, and she sees her chance to get closer to him and that rebellion when his lifelong dance partner, Penny (Cynthia Rhodes), suffers an unwanted pregnancy and botched abortion.

Though Johnny is a two-step taskmaster, he and Baby quickly become close. She gives him courage and confidence; he gives her the strength to break free from her family ties. Despite the syrupy dramatics, Dirty Dancing is still immensely appealing and Grey is the reason. Yes, I know Swayze became huge because of this movie, but I think it was more because of his physical presence. We all know he’s good looking, that women will fall for him like lemmings off of a cliff. But he has to fall for Grey, who is adorable, but certainly not a beauty queen. Most importantly, the audience has to buy them as a couple.

Grey doesn’t drip with teen sensuality or flash a come hither stare. She giggles inappropriately, she curses herself for not getting dance steps right. By embodying every awkward young adult emotion about falling in love, she makes you want the romance to work. In the process, she also validates all the soap opera theatrics that revolve around her. Credit must also be given to the late Emile Ardolino, who directs the intimate scenes with Swayze and Grey with a seductive restraint that borders on the unbearable—check out the bedroom slow dance. The movie eschews sex and teenage tomfoolery for real emotions and comes out of the corner dancing up a storm. ...

"Doc" Daniel Says "Dirty Time Wasting"

Dr. V. B. "Doc" Daniel is a general practitioner who runs a 24-hour medical clinic in a rural community known as Pelt Valley, about ten minutes as the crow flies north of Carver Point, Georgia. He "alleviates work-related stress through the appreciation and study of the greatest of all art forms: the cinema." Here are excerpts from his opinion of Dirty Dancing:

.... Dirty Dancing is, was, and will always be one of the stupidest movies to ever drip out of Hollywood's backside. It is, was, and always will be a soundtrack album in search of a movie. .... Let me show you how many ways this movie offends me and the precious artform we call "cinema".

* A period piece that features 80s music in it?

* The lead character in the movie is named "Baby." ....

* It tries to make a superfluous Pro-choice statement in a '50s flick. ...

* Why is Baby's father giving that dork money for med school? Where was he when I had my scholarship revoked for drinking tequila in Pathology class?

* In the heart-wrenching finale, Johnny says that he's created the dance moves for himself and Baby. So how do 40 other dancers fall in step to the entire routine when he prances into the aisle? ...

* Just when we thought they were gone ... pedal-pushers and Keds sneakers!

* Back to that finale - Johnny put a 45 rpm record on, and it plays for the next eight minutes. What gives, this the flipside of Inna-Gadda-Da Vita or American Pie?

* Newman.

Does it seem like I know way too much about this movie, for someone who despises it so much? Bullseye. Know why? 'Cause I was between wives in 1987, and I was dating. Anyone that was dating in 1987 went to see Dirty Dancing. And, I know I am not alone when I say that, if you were a dating guy in 1987, you got dragged to see Dirty Dancing way too many times, at the then-unheard of price of $3.50 per ticket.

And then it hit video, and everybody bought it and watched it over and over and over. And then it hit HBO, and, because it was rated PG-13, they could show it morning, noon, and night, 7-24-365. And they keep draggin' it back out when they have 90 minutes to burn. And so on and so on and so on. ....

The Love Lie in Dirty Dancing

A kill-joy analysis of Dirty Dancing by David LeVine of Warm Wisdom Press.

If you remember, in Dirty Dancing, 17-year-old Baby Houseman is vacationing in the Catskills with her family. Bored to tears by the activities, she comes upon a dancing party and is immediately struck by Johnny Castle, the dance instructor. She ends up becoming the pinch hitter in a dance routine and as Johnny teaches her to dance, they "fall in love" and risk his job and her relationship with her family to, as one reviewer put it, "show that their love is worth fighting for."

This sounds wonderful. To find such a deep, meaningful relationship that within two weeks of dancing with each other you're ready to sacrifice so much for one another? Wow. Add to that the fact that he is a very handsome, talented and single man, while she's a perky and strong-willed 17-year-old. What could be bad? (Except the fact that he could've gotten thrown into jail because she was a minor!)

Welcome to the Hollywood Lie, what I call the Dirty Dancing Lie: Love just "happens."

The producers behind the movie would have us believe that in order to find a meaningful relationship, you don't have to have anything in common. No common background, no common goals, no common principles. You don't have to know anything about each other. Love is an exciting, thrilling experience that just comes along.

The only problem is that life doesn't work that way.

In order for a meaningful relationship to flourish, you need to have common goals. You need to know that the two of you are moving in the same direction if you want to truly share a happy life together. If you don't, you can both be wonderful people but it's not going to work. Love doesn't change the core being of a person. And even though it may sound romantic, you don't want the other person to sacrifice their goals for yours, because that's a recipe for big trouble down the line. You want your goals to be compatible so that you can work together towards something that's important to both of you.

Now, obviously, that doesn't mean that you have to be clones of each other. What it does mean, though, is that if his dream is of being a dancer, and hers is of joining the Peace Corps and changing the world, then that marriage can only work on the big screen, in make believe. Which is why in a survey done among fans of Dirty Dancing, one fan wrote that if there would have been a sequel in which Johnny and Baby would have gotten married, they would have also gotten divorced, because they were really so different.

Remember the theme song? "I've Had the Time of my Life"... The idea that you can have the time of your entire life with a person you just met is a very appealing one to us folks who have grown up in the "instant" generation. But in order for a lasting, loving relationship to flourish with a soul mate, you need to get to know each other well, and discover whether or not the two of you have similar ideals and worldviews.

If you really want to share a level of commitment in which the two of you are willing to sacrifice so much, it has to be based on a lot more than being able to gaze into each others' eyes. You have to be able to gaze in the same direction together. That's the true foundation of a relationship and a marriage in which you'll stand up for each other, no matter what, and be able to say, "Nobody puts my husband/my wife in a corner."

Now you know why that's the most famous line in the movie. Because deep in their hearts, that's what everyone wants - a relationship filled with such love and commitment that come what may, you're willing to stand by and support each other. And the truth is that you can have it. But contrary to the "love happens" lie, it's not going to be with someone you just looked at, had "Hungry Eyes" and fell in love with. It will be with someone you've gotten to know slowly, who wants the same things out of life as you do and wants to achieve them together with you. You know what that's called? It's called growing in love. And ultimately, that's the person with whom you're really going to have the time of your life.

And it'll last a lot longer than two weeks in the summer.

Vincent Canby About Dance Aspects

When Dirty Dancing opened, The New York Times' movie reviewer Vincent Canby wrote a review , published on August 21, 1987, that was mostly favorable. He dismissed the story as silly, even "awful," but praised the movie as a good step forward in developing the genre of dance movies.

In their time, almost all forms of popular American music and dancing, from the foxtrot and the tango through rock-and-roll and all of its variations, have scandalized the members of an older generation, whose own sexuality had earlier been liberated by tamer means. As music, lyrics and dance steps have become more and more sexually explicit, fathers and mothers from coast to coast have felt alienated, and worried that pop music was leading their children straight to hell. …

This culture generation gap has produced its own Hollywood genre. Most of these films have been quickies on the order of Don't Knock the Rock (1957) and Twist Around the Clock (1962), but there have occasionally been more ambitious if not much better films (Herbert Ross's Footloose, 1984). Though music is the subject of each film, sex is the subtext. In the final reel, generations reconcile; initially stuffy oldsters end up rocking, rolling or twisting the night away, showing the young that, though creaky of joint and infirm of body, they can still do "it." ….

Johnny, a young man from the wrong side of the tracks, exemplifies the freedom expressed through a new and as yet socially unacceptable form of dancing. This "dirty dancing," a phrase used only in the film's title, features a lot of steamy body contact and pelvic thrusts, which unleash emotions supposedly left withered by mambos and cha-cha-chas.

Taking a formula that is itself creaky of joint and infirm of body, Eleanor Bergstein, the writer, and Emile Ardolino, the director, have made an engaging pop-movie romance of somewhat more substance than one usually finds in summer movies designed for the young.

I suspect that one's responses to Dirty Dancing, to its period details, even to its state of mind, will depend on the associations one brings into the theater. What is undeniable, however, is a basic decency of feeling, shaped, in part, by the film's obligations to its optimistic genre.

Baby, as written by Miss Bergstein and played by Miss Grey (Ferris Bueller's Day Off), is no bubble-brained teen-ager, but a bright, inquisitive young woman who's on her way to being her own person. .... Baby's liberation comes through her forbidden association with the womanizing Johnny Castle, after his partner, Penny (Cynthia Rhodes), becomes pregnant and Baby agrees to substitute for her in a mambo demonstration at another hotel.

There's a really quite awful subplot about Penny's abortion, financed by money that Baby has borrowed from her conventionally liberal doctor-father, and about the arrogant young Ivy League fellow who is responsible for Penny's condition.

Given the limitations of his role, that of a poor but handsome sex-object abused by the rich women at Kellerman's Mountain House, Mr. Swayze is also good. He's even convincing when he must admit, in one of the film's lesser moments, that ''the reason people treat me like nothing is because I am nothing.'' He's at his best - as is the movie - when he's dancing.

The movie makes a lot of good use of period music, to which some not very evocative new songs have been added. The dancing itself, especially the dirty dancing, choreographed by Kenny Ortega, looks very contemporary, or, at least, as contemporary as Saturday Night Fever, but it has a drive and a pulse that give the film real excitement.

Though the film takes place in 1963, just a year after the twist was all the rage, the twist itself seems already to have come and gone at Kellerman's Mountain House. …

These anachronisms aren't especially important, except that Miss Bergstein has been so specific about the film's period. She seems to want Dirty Dancing to be seen as a fond goodbye to a comfortable, liberal American way of life before the country was radicalized by the assassination of President Kennedy and by the increasingly bitter anti-Vietnam War movement. That's loading a small movie with rather more than it can carry without a lot of highly detailed program notes.

Dirty Dancing works best when it's most direct and unpretentious. It has the kind of sweet simplicity that somehow always eludes John Hughes (Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, Ferris Bueller's Day Off). Mr. Ardolino, whose background is in theater and in television dance films, doesn't clutter the film with extraneous, sentimental detail, nor even with too much colorful (and familiar) detail about life in your usual Catskill resort hotel.

I don't know Canby's personal opinion about the legalization of abortion, but certainly most people who do oppose such legalization would agree with him that the abortion subplot was "awful." On the other hand, people who advocated such legalization would praise that same subplot as a brave social commentary.

Young people who watch the movie for the first time now perhaps do not realize that the people who watched the movie when it came out in 1987 were watching a story that took place 24 years previously, in 1963. American culture had changed enough in those 24 years that the movie already was perceived to be a "period piece" about a previous social era. The changes included greater public frankness about the issue of abortion.

On the other hand, the first audiences perceived the movie to be a celebration of the already somewhat forgotten music and dancing of that earlier era.

Curtis Sittenfeld About Sexual Mystery

Curtis Sittenfeld has written two coming-of-age novels, Prep and The Man of My Dreams. She wrote a great Salon article, titled "Why Dirty Dancing is the best girl movie ever." Here are some excerpts:

I was 12 when ... I saw Dirty Dancing ... in 1987 and afterwards I wrote a rapturous, multi-page plot synopsis in a powder blue journal with a cat on the cover and a thin blue ribbon for place-marking. I loved Dirty Dancing because of the dancing, which is just so much fun to watch. I loved it because it tackles big subjects, like first love, parental tension, and class conflict, without neglecting the smaller subjects: Minor characters are well-developed (smarmy resort heir Neil, Baby's annoying sister Lisa), and there are so many terrific details and moments (the part where Johnny tries to soulfully run his hand down Baby's raised arm and the side of her torso, and she keeps laughing because it tickles). But most of all, of course, I loved Dirty Dancing because of Baby herself.

I couldn't have articulated this as a teenager, but the movie strikes a perfect balance between not taking itself too seriously while never being dismissive or mocking of Baby. She's smart and curious and good-hearted -- she's at her most confident when she's doing the right thing, whether it's warning jerk waiter Robbie to stay away from her sister or comforting dance instructor Penny about her impending abortion -- and she's also fidgety and hesitant and dorky. And, as she figures things out, she's looking forward -- toward adulthood. ...

Unlike many movie heroines whose goofiness is always, at base, supposed to be cute, Baby's awkwardness is authentic to an uncomfortable degree -- and she herself knows it. The first night at the resort, as Baby stands in the staff quarters in her prim sundress watching the employees getting freaky to Otis Redding's "Love Man," Johnny approaches to ask why she's there. She convinced Johnny's cousin to let her accompany him by helping lug food, so she says, "I carried a watermelon" -- and immediately realizes what a weird, dumb comment it was. Even more cringingly, after Johnny first dances with Baby in the same scene, there's a moment when she's finally cut loose, the song ends, she cheers gleefully, and then she realizes that Johnny has wandered off, indifferent to her.

That Baby is, in her gawkiness, so easy to identify with and that she eventually triumphs is, for many of us, a cinematic combo that's hard to beat. "That first dance demonstration when Baby dances with the old woman, and she's moving left where everyone else is moving right, is totally me," says Ellen Battistelli, 53, a director of membership and programs at a reproductive health association who lives in Silver Spring, Md. "And then all of a sudden she gets good, she gets great, she gets so drop-dead fabulous." Or, as a 29-year-old lawyer in Washington who didn't want her name used because she's not out of the Dirty Dancing closet said, Baby "has a big nose, like me, and [Johnny] still falls in love with her."

Johnny, meanwhile, is macho but not threatening but not unthreatening either. His ability to seem tough and rugged while wearing dance pants and tank tops for most of the movie is nothing short of miraculous. And the significance of the male lead who's more attractive than the female can't be underestimated -- it's so rare as to be, à la Something's Gotta Give with its older-man-who-dares-to-date-older-woman premise, subversive. (This is why Jennifer Grey's post-Dirty Dancing nose job felt like a personal betrayal; for those of us with a weak understanding of the difference between fact and fiction, it implied maybe Johnny didn't love Baby unconditionally after all.)

... Baby is the one who initiates the affair with Johnny. "It's like she decided that she's going to be a seductress even though she's an ugly duckling," says Susanna Daniel, 28, a writer in Madison, Wis. Or, as Baby herself puts it the night she goes to Johnny's cabin, in the most thrilling lines of the movie, "Me? I'm scared of everything ... Most of all, I'm scared of walking out of this room and never feeling the rest of my whole life the way I feel when I'm with you." Then, giving legions of teenage girls the erroneous impression that a confession of love is usually a good idea leading to a positive outcome, Baby says, "Dance with me," and the next thing you know, as "Cry To Me" plays scratchily in the background, her peasant blouse is pressed to Johnny's bare tan chest, and his big tan hands are gripping her butt through her white jeans.

Yes, there are people who hate Dirty Dancing, or who find it cheesy. But the rest of us not only don't change the dial when "She's Like the Wind" comes on the radio -- we actually turn it up. Such is the excellence of the movie that discussing it reduces intelligent and mature women into effusive seventh graders. "Oh my gosh, it just sings to me," says Ellen. "The music is so fabulous, the romance is so fabulous. It's just such a great thing. I just love it." Says Susanna, an ardent feminist, "I thought it was so romantic that she became a dancer and at the end he came back and rescued her."

Those of us who were in junior high when the movie came out had already bought into notions of romance but weren't as sure about sex, which sounded, frankly, kind of repulsive. Dirty Dancing changed all that. Emily Donahoe, 28, an actor in New York, says that the aforementioned white jeans scene was "when I actually felt something go off in me -- like 'Whoa, what was that?' Dirty Dancing gave me a way into the whole world of sex and relationships and how normal the nerves and the goofiness were and how you could find someone who loved you and wanted you despite the fact that you were a jumpy mess."

The movie also served as a form of sex education for Susanna -- much to her chagrin. "My friends and I wanted to go see it, but my mom had heard things so she offered a compromise in which she took me to see it," Susanna remembers. "I really, really liked it, but there were parts where I was squirming in my seat. And then afterward my mom took me out for hot chocolate and she said, 'So did that turn you on? Did these parts make you aroused, because they did for me, and I think we should talk about it.' I denied any understanding of what she was saying." ...

The only real problem with "Dirty Dancing" -- the dark side of it, if you will -- is, as Susanna puts it, "It was the first of several movies that I thought were teaching me about love when actually they didn't teach me anything. I thought, That's the way it's going to happen. Somebody's going to see me and think I'm special and pursue me despite how weird I act and how unappealing I might be." But, as Susanna now laments, "Men don't have time to go finding gems in piles of coal."

Some of us, of course, haven't yet come to terms with that painful truth. When I first saw the movie, Baby was, at 18, six years older than I was. Now she's 10 years younger than I am, and I still haven't met the thuggy, chivalrous man who'll tell me I'm the one thing he can't get enough of.

If I'm deranged in my hopefulness, at least I'm in good company. "I want my life to be like the dance at the end," says Ellen who, as you may recall, is 53. "It's got it all: beauty, skill, love, passion, parents begging forgiveness. And she does the jump and he lifts her up, and all of a sudden everybody starts dancing -- the races and ages and classes come together. I want everybody in my life to all of a sudden dance together and to have grace and style and be smiling. Is that too much to ask?"

Jennifer Grey's performance in Dirty Dancing is delightful because of her many obvious moments of social awkwardness and physical gawkiness. Sittenfeld points out a hilarious example:

.... after Johnny first dances with Baby in the same [first dirty-dancing] scene, there's a moment when she's finally cut loose, the song ends, she cheers gleefully, and then she realizes that Johnny has wandered off, indifferent to her.

Although such moments are obvious, Baby's initial attitude toward sexual relations remains mysterious. She seems like the type of young woman who would be reluctant and fearful about sex. When the decisive moment arrived, she did say she was "scared of everything" but then she took the initiative quite boldly to involve herself with Johnny. As one woman remarked in Sittenfeld's article, "It's like she decided that she's going to be a seductress even though she's an ugly duckling." That really is a thought-provoking moment in the movie, because Baby's thinking at that moment is mysterious -- at least for me.

Roger Ebert Panned Dirty Dancing

When the movie Dirty Dancing opened, critic Roger Ebert's review (August 21, 1987) was mostly negative.

... The movie makes some kind of a half-hearted attempt to rip off West Side Story by making the girl Jewish and the boy Italian - or Irish, I forget.

It doesn't much matter, since the movie itself never, ever uses the word "Jewish" or says out loud what obviously is the main point of the plot: the family's opposition to a Gentile boyfriend of low social status. I guess people who care about such things are supposed to be able to read between the lines, and the great unwashed masses of American moviegoers are condemned to think the old man doesn't like Swayze's dirty dancing.

This might have been a decent movie if it had allowed itself to be about anything. The performances are good. Swayze is a great dancer, and Grey, who is appealing, also is a great dancer. But the filmmakers rely so heavily on cliches, on stock characters in old situations, that it's as if they never really had any confidence in their performers.

This movie could have been about the subjects it pussyfoots around so coyly. It could have found a big scene a little more original than the heroine stepping in for the injured star. It could have made the obnoxious owner's son less of a one-dimensional s.o.b. But the movie plays like one long, sad, compromise; it places packaging ahead of ambition. Where did I get that idea? I dunno. Maybe from the title.

Ebert did like the performances of Grey and Swayze, especially their dancing, but he dismissed Dirty Dancing's story as a cliched variation of two types of previous stories:

  • Stories in which a young couple's love is hindered by ethnic taboos or parental conflicts. West Side Story, Romeo and Juliette and Fiddler on the Roof are examples of such stories.

  • Stories in which an ambitious understudy gets an opportunity to play the main role in a theater performance when the star cannot perform because of an illness, injury or other misfortune. This was the story in, for example, several Busby Berkley movies during the 1930s and in the popular Broadway play 42nd Street.

Ebert's did make an interesting observation about Dirty Dancing perhaps being inspired to some extent by previous stories of those two types but he was wrong to dismiss this movie as a cliched, trite failure. The story in Dirty Dancing is quite novel, contemporary and rich.

With regard to the West Side Story example, the Jewish taboo against falling in love with and marrying Gentiles indeed is part of the Dirty Dancing story, but this element is so subtle that probably most of the audience ramains completely unaware of its presence in the movie. Ebert criticizes that very subtlety, but in fact the taboo was subtle in a modern Jewish family such as the Housemans.

With regard to the 42nd Street example, Baby Houseman does substitute for an established star, but Baby has no aspirations to become a professional dancer. Baby's situation and motives are quite complicated. She even tries to keep her substitute performance secret from her own family, and the entire situation complicates her relationship with her father and sister.

Ebert's review of Dirty Dancing failed because he tried to fit this movie into patterns of many other movies he had seen instead of appreciating the stories many subtleties and novelties.