Case Number 11375


Lionsgate // 1987 // 105 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // May 14th, 2007

The Charge

Dear Katie:

Well, we're here. Yippee. I can hardly wait. Did you detect the sarcastic tone?

Kellerman's Mountain House. And it's just what I expected, a gathering of old farts and spoiled rich brats. I still can not believe that I'm here. These family vacations are getting tiresome. I'll talk to you soon.


Opening Statement

Dear Katie:

I am going totally insane. I know it's only been one day since I last wrote you, but I'm desperate. For one, the weather has been awful, raining all the time and keeping us inside, where my only options for entertainment are putting together puzzles with dad in the hotel room and playing charades in the west lobby.

I have heard rumors that the staff kids party every night at their bunks, but guests aren't allowed. I am dying to see what's going on up there. Maybe, just maybe I can still squeeze some fun out of this dreary week.


Facts of the Case

Dear Katie:

Wow. I am in love. Just like that, things are looking rosy. Sorry for all the letters, but I couldn't wait one more moment to tell you about Johnny Castle. Mmmm, Johnny! Wow, wow, wow. I can't even concentrate on writing this letter. My heart is pounding just thinking of him. Johnny Castle.

We were eating dinner, and I, typically, was bored out of my mind. There was some dancing going on, but I wasn't really paying attention. Then suddenly the song changed, and he came out. Johnny Castle! And he started to dance like, like, well, like no one I have ever seen. His legs, his hips, his well-sculpted upper body, they all moved rhythmically and magically to the music. I couldn't take my eyes off of him.

When he was done, I followed him up to the staff bunks. It was if he was drawing me near him and no matter what my brain told me, I couldn't resist. He and his dance partner (who I would later find out was not his girlfriend, thank God!) went into the main bunk, and I moved to the window to get a closer look. Katie, you wouldn't believe the dancing that was going on! If Daddy would have seen what I was watching, he'd lock me in the trunk of the car forever!

Then Johnny started dancing, and even though his dance at dinner was unbelievably hot, what he started doing in that bunk was even hotter! I swear to you, sweat is pooling in my armpits now as I write this! And here's the thing Katie -- I could swear that he looked at me!

And it gets better. I found out from one the waiters that his dance partner is pregnant, and is desperate to terminate the baby. Now normally I would vomit a little in my mouth thinking about the required medical procedure, but there's a silver lining to this cloud: apparently Johnny will be doing a dance at a nearby hotel and needs a new partner and I think that partner can be me!

Oh Katie, I have to go now, but tomorrow I'm going to ask him if he wants me to dance with him! I can't wait!


The Evidence

Dear Katie:

I know you've probably been waiting to hear what happened with my and Johnny. I'm sorry that it's taken me so long to write you back. It's been a horrible three days. Here's what happened:

After I finally summoned up the courage to ask Johnny if I could be his dance partner, I was stunned to find out that someone else beat me to it! I was just about to knock on Johnny's door, when I heard the sound of music coming from inside. I peeked through the window and saw...her. She's the daughter of some hot-shot doctor and everyone calls her "Baby" and I hate her. I hate her guts! Because through the window, I saw them dancing, barely clothed, caked in sweat, caressing each other's bodies, gyrating to the music -- ugh, I can't write this. I'll return in a second once I've calmed down.

Okay, back. My heart rate has finally stabilized. So for the next few days I decided to follow Baby and Johnny to see what they were up to. The dance sessions were interminable, they both felt it was necessary to practice oiled up and semi-nude, and they even rehearsed a "lift" in the lake (I know you're not hip on the dance terminology Katie, but it's when the male lead lifts the girl up over his head). And then my worst nightmare came true. The other night, as I was perched at Johnny's window watching them dance, one thing led to another and they did it! Agh, my flesh crawls as I think about it now. That was my Johnny, and now he's cavorting with a spoiled little princess, who has a gigantic nose I might add. Their fornication went on for the rest of the week, despite the fact that Baby has just witnessed the consequences of unprotected intercourse and a botched abortion! Then again, I don't know if I'd be able to resist Johnny's wiles. As if this all wasn't bad enough, there was the end of the week talent show.

Apparently Johnny had been accused of theft and was fired. I know it's evil of me say this, but I was relieved. If I can't have him, then nobody should. But as we're suffering through the talent show, Johnny suddenly appears in the ballroom, takes Baby on stage and starts dancing with her! To no music no less! They do their thing, and I'm sitting there, grimacing, while everyone is transfixed, like they're watching the Virgin Birth live or something. To cap it all off, they do their stupid lift and the place erupts and I can totally see down her shirt and she's got nothing down there, let me tell you.

Unbelievable. It's as if God Himself marked me for abject humiliation and emotional torture, put Johnny in my life, and then dangled him in front of me, out of reach as he gave his heart to another.

Katie, mark my words: I will have the last laugh. I'm going to forever enshrine this ridiculousness. I have it all figured out. One day I will produce a movie based on this whole experience. I will dump all the contrivances, one-dimensional characters, and corniness into the project, and show the world what I had to endure. I will make Baby as shallow and dull as she was in real life. I'll surround her with moronic characters, and even make Johnny a one-note, cardboard cutout "bad boy." That will show them! And that big finale? It's going to be as forced and cheesy as I can make it. Heck, I'll even have all the old geezers start dancing dirty with each other. It will be a spectacularly goofy film and it will tank at the box office and the names "Baby" and "Johnny" will forever be connected with failure and disaster. I swear it!


Closing Statement

FROM: Wanda DelFlugio []
TO: Katie Spengler []


How long has it been? Twenty years? It's good to reconnect with you. I was surprised to bump into you in the airport. I hope all is well with Burt and the kids. That's so great that you guys decided to start that iguana rescue league. You always had a generous heart.

Thank you so much for the kind words about my Hollywood career. It's really appreciated. And because I know what you're thinking, yes, the success of Dirty Dancing was a surprise. It's been 20 years since it released in the theatres and I am still stunned at its overwhelming success. As you know, I had set out to demolish the reputations of the true Baby and Johnny, and thought I had helped construct an idiotic romance film packed with clichés and simple acting, it obviously made a connection with some people. Maybe it was the whole good girl/bad boy construct that the audience seemed to lap up? Perhaps the rebellious spirit of breaking out of repression? Or the coming-of-age claptrap? I know for a fact we underestimated the NARAL response. Those ladies accounted for 14 percent of total box office receipts!

I have to keep this message short because we're wrapping up the 20th anniversary DVD edition of the film. It's like the 12,000th DVD release we've done of this movie, but people buy them. Because you told me your daughter was a big fan, I'll give you a heads up of the extras that are on this two-disc set:

* A feature-length commentary by writer Eleanor Bergstein and a trivia track.
* Dirty Dancing with Patrick Swayze, a brief retrospective with the star.
* A classy tribute to Jerry Orbach.
* Deleted scenes.
* Alternate scenes.
* Extended scenes.
* A 30-second gag reel (take it from me, it's pretty lame).
* Original screen tests with Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze.
* Multi-angle dance sequences
* A few cast and crew interviews, easily the meatiest extra we've got.
* Photo gallery.
* A spot for the -- can you believe it -- Dirty Dancing live stage show.
* A tribute to director Emile Ardolino.
* Finally, three music videos.

Also, if your daughter has a nice home theater setup, this disc should be impressive. Our tech guys did a nice job with the picture, a clean 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, and the sound (5.1 Dolby Digital EX and a rare DTS-ES six-channel mix) which came out fine enough, though the surround channels were not active and the overall quality of the audio was on the thin side.


The Verdict

FROM: Katie Spengler []
TO: Wanda DelFlugio []


You people are going to bankrupt me with all these disc re-issues. Most of the stuff you mentioned already appeared on the Ultimate Edition (talk about a misnomer). In fact, this new version is lacking commentary tracks from its predecessor! The deleted/extended/alternate scenes are new to the set, along with the Swayze feature and the gag reel, but I don't know if that makes it worth the extra money. But my daughter can't get enough, so I guess it's another $20. Who knew your adolescent insecurities would end up costing me so much damn money?!?


Review content copyright © 2007 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Video: 90
Audio: 90
Extras: 85
Acting: 70
Story: 70
Judgment: 73

Perp Profile
Studio: Lionsgate
Video Formats:
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* DTS 6.1 ES (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)

* English
* Spanish

Running Time: 105 Minutes
Release Year: 1987
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13

Distinguishing Marks
* Writer's Commentary
* Trivia Track
* "Dirty Dancing with Patrick Swayze"
* Jerry Orbach Tribute
* Deleted Scenes
* Alternate Scenes
* Extended Scenes
* Gag Reel
* Screen Tests
* Multiangle Dance Sequences
* Cast and Crew Interviews
* Photo Gallery
* Dirty Dancing Live
* Emile Ardolino Tribute
* Music Videos
* Trailers

* IMDb

* Official Site

* Dirty Dancing: Ultimate Edition Review

* Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights Review