Ultimate 80s Blogathon Wrap-Up: 80s Dance Movies Triple Feature

We’re on our last post.  Today, Drew and I will be closing out with another of our reviews on 80s flicks.

Seeing as no one picked any dance movies and I wanted to end this in a grand way to wrap this blogathon up, I decided to do a quick triple feature on three dance flicks of 1980s: Flashdance, Footloose and Dirty Dancing. I’ve done full reviews for both Footloose and Dirty Dancing here before and you can seek it out if you want to read more in detail on how I feel for those movies.  Its obvious that I love a whole lot. Dance movies have always had a draw to me and its quite sad that its only in the recent years that I’ve really seen Dirty Dancing and Footloose in entirety but there is no doubt that they trump any modern dance movies quite a bit.

Before I get ahead of myself, let’s check out these three features! 🙂

FLASHDANCE (1983)

Flashdance

Director: Adrian Lyne

Cast: Jennifer Beals, Michael Nouri, Lilia Skala

A Pittsburgh woman with two jobs as a welder and an exotic dancer wants to get into ballet school.-IMDB

Flashdance might not be the best out of the three dance movies that I have here from the 80s, but it was the first out of the pack.  If you didn’t know what leg warmers were, this movie was the right place to start.  Its something of a fashion statement of a movie more than it was a great movie of its sort.  I’m going to be honest that I don’t prefer the story here but Flashdance was full of 80s charm from the music and the dancing to the style.  It embodied that time really well.

flashdance

I’m a late mid-80s baby.  To say I know a lot about this era is hard to say but some of the best dance films are done in this decade (excluding Grease).  While Flashdance failed mostly because I didn’t enjoy the character herself, I did like the dance and the music and the style of it.  The story of Flashdance is also one that first gives some sort of giving a purpose to inspire its audience to stay motivated for what matters.

FOOTLOOSE (1984)

Footloose

Director: Herbert Ross

Cast: Kevin Bacon, Lori Singer, John Lithgow, Dianne Wiest, Chris Penn, Sarah Jessica Parker, John Laughlin

A city teenager moves to a small town where rock music and dancing have been banned, and his rebellious spirit shakes up the populace.-IMDB

Footloose is  a step up from Flashdance.  It dials it back down to a small town scenario with a big town boy.  Kevin Bacon is one of my favorite actors (even more after I saw him in his recent Cop Car).  The young Kevin Bacon as Ren fighting on behalf of his fellow classmates for prom and the freedom to dance is really a great story.  Its about fighting teenage stereotypes, being responsible, and fighting authority.  Footloose is a fun and serious movie.

The thing with Footloose is that its not a whole lot about dancing.  There’s scenes here and there and some of the most memorable parts of the movie is the choreography that becomes rather expressive and fun.  But, Footloose gets one thing on point and that’s delivering us some cheesy scenes and dialogue.  In the true heart of the 80s, how can we not point it out? 😉

DIRTY DANCING (1987)

Dirty Dancing

Director: Emile Ardolino

Cast: Jennifer Grey, Patrick Swayze, Jerry Orbach, Cynthia Rhodes, Jack Weston, Jane Brucker

Spending the summer at a Catskills resort with her family, Frances “Baby” Houseman falls in love with the camp’s dance instructor, Johnny Castle.-IMDB

I’m not going to lie! Dirty Dancing is my favorite dance movie of all time.  One reason has to be that Patrick Swayze is so handsome.  He was the 80s man with a crazy filmography that framed the style so well from his hair to his daring nature.  He embodies Johnny so well.  This is a love story, pure and true, even if its finding and chasing what you want.  Its about stereotypes yet again with different social groups and dividing the rich and the poor.

dirty dancing

Its set in one location essentially but its able to speak very well as to the themes they want to cover.  Dirty Dancing becomes a little more daring.  Its takes the sexy dance choreography in Flashdance and the uptight/breaking free/stereotypes sort of story in Footloose and combines it to get to another level. Its able to use the plot to drive us to fall in love with the cast and their chemistry.  Iconic dance choreography, memorable quotes, touching and inspiring story: its hard not to fall in love and have the time of your life over and over again watching Dirty Dancing.

Overall…

Three movies, very similar angles with different back stories but all related to dance and dreams and fighting for whats right.  While the latter two are much more iconic and great to me than Flashdance, all of them have their mark in 80s cinema.  Who can forget Flashdance and the sexy opening scene? Or Baby seducing Johnny along to “Love is Strange” and imitating Mickey and Sylvia? How about Ren teaching a very awkward Willard how to dance with the Walkman down the school corridor?

The 80s brought us a lot.  Between John Hughes and his teenage drama/comedy, and the cheesy action flicks, some over the top romantic comedies that we couldn’t help but love, its good to know that there’s also some feel-good inspiring pieces in the form of dance movies.  I just love them! If you haven’t seen these, you should! 😉

Have you seen any (or all) of these movies? Do you  like dance flicks? 

Remember to keep your eyes out for Drew’s wrap-up review a little later today! 🙂

Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004)

Last August, I kicked off my  Recommendations month with Dirty Dancing.  I seriously regretted not ever seeing that one earlier.  It was my first viewing and it turned out to be so much fun.  You can check out my review HERE! This weekend, I decided to watch it while I was baking.  I love Patrick Swayze a lot even though he did most of his epic acting when I was really young.  Still, he’s a charming man and him as Johnny Castle makes me swoon.  So, i figured that I’d sit down to give Dirty Dancing: Havana Night a shot also.  My boyfriend kept telling me he heard it was really bad, but still, why not, right?

dirty dancing havana nights posterDirector: Guy Ferland

Cast: Diego Luna, Romola Garai, Sela Ward, John Slattery, Jonathan Jackson, January Jones

In 1950s, Katie (Romola Garai) moves with her parents (Sela Ward and John Slattery) and younger sister to Cuba as her father has been expatriated there for Ford. In the hotel where her and her family stays, she meets by chance a young teenage waiter, Javier (Diego Luna).  Later, on her way back from schoo, she sees him dancing among a group and starts talking to him.  After he escorts her home for her safety and gets seen, Javier ends up losing his job.  Afterwards, Katie learns that there is a dance contest that could win a lot of money and invites Javier to be her partner and win the contest so that he could take care of his family.  As they start to find their rhythm and style for the dance, they start to fall in love.

dirty dancing havana dance

I kept thinking Havana Nights was supposed to be a sequel but it isn’t because its set before Dirty Dancing was.  Then, I mean, it must be a remake but set in a different location and it wasn’t really that either and then well, its not even a prequel because they have an older Patrick Swayze in it (since it was made in 2004) and Dirty Dancing was in 1989 (if I’m not mistaken).  Either way, I don’t know what it is and even if its necessary.  Lets just say that, as I was getting pictures and stuff for this post, I realized that deep down I liked it more than I actually thought I did.  Its nothing phenomenal like Dirty Dancing but its not all bad.

ddhn dance

One good part of it was the Cuban music and the dancing.  I really liked those sequences a lot.  It was fun and sexy for the most part.  That was when the characters were elegant and cute and had a lot of chemistry. On the other hand with that said, it also means that I thought the story was choppy.  It was like, wait, huh? What happened? Now they’re together? When did that happen? It could be just being not being too involved in the first bit and then when they started the dancing, I started feeling more drawn to watch it.  Granted, they do have a lot of really cheesy parts and that comes to my second point.

dirty dancing hn dance

I’ve never seen Diego Luna before in anything but I have to hand it to you. He’s not handsome or attractive but he has a nice charm going on. I thought he was a much better actor than his partner played by Romola Garai.  It probably has to do with the fact that he’s the one that familiar with the culture they are exhibiting here, kind of.  I mean, at the very least, he has a Spanish accent (or what sounds like one).  And he has the dance style and what not that works for it. Romola Garai wasn’t as good.  She’s a pretty good dancer but her acting didn’t appeal to me as much.  It also didn’t help that their love story was a bit all over the place but like I said, the dancing and their chemistry together doing their sequences made it a lot better.

dirt dancing havana patrick swayze

Okay, I mentioned my third point already up there and that there is a small role for Patrick Swayze.  He’s not the young and charming Patrick Swayze that played Johnny Castle but hey, he can still bust a move and he’s still charismatic as ever. Seeing him in this, even for the little bits here and there made me a whole lot more interested 🙂

Overall, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights is probably not a necessary non-remake/sequel/prequel but its an average movie.  It provides some well-choreographed dance sequences and some energetic Cuban music.  The young love really grows through their practice sequences.  The downfall is the choppy story and honestly, the ending kind of sucked.  No guarantees on this one its not one I’d exactly recommend but it provides decent entertainment when you have nothing else to watch and want some nice happy music 🙂

Have you seen Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights? Any thoughts? What do you think this is (or maybe you know) a remake or a prequel? Or maybe its just an excuse to drag in more audience?

Dirty Dancing (1987)

First movie out of my list of recommendations is from Marilyn from MKG-Memories-Keepsakes-Gifts back in February during my Valentine’s Marathon. Seemed like a good night to keep the energy going and stream on Netflix: Dirty Dancing! Who doesn’t love a little Patrick Swayze? Plus, I’ve never seen this before…so lets check it out!

dirty dancing posterDirector: Emile Ardolino

Cast: Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey, Jerry Orbach, Cynthia Rhodes, Jane Brucker, Kelly Bishop, Lonny Price, Jack Weston

Dr. Jack Houseman (Jerry Orbach) and his wife (Kelly Bishop) and two teenage daughters Lisa (Jane Brucker) and Frances/”Baby” (Jennifer Grey) are going on summer holiday at a resort.  As Baby plans on being in the Peace Corps the following year, this would be the last year she can experience being a carefree teenage.  At the resort, she meets dance instructor Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze) and in an event that happens with his partner, Penny (Cynthia Rhodes), she takes up learning how to dance to be in an important performance for them and falls in love with him.

dirty dancing practice

There’s something about these older dance/romance/music/drama flicks that really make me love them a lot.  I found the first 15 minutes to be a tad long and meh but once we got Johnny Castle kicking it up with his dancing, it started being totally awesome! Heck, even before that first dance, the moment Patrick Swayze was on screen, Jennifer Grey’s expression was totally priceless and I was captured by the whole movie right there. Then you add in some sexy dirty dancing and lots of romancing and learning how to dance, fun music, it was absolutely the time of my life 🙂

dirty dancing baby johnny

The first thing that defines a good romance (drama or comedy) is the chemistry between our lovers.  Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze was totally awesome.  Their chemistry was OFF THE CHARTS! I mean, in my mind, I’ve already fallen in love with Patrick Swayze millions of times in the movies his done but man, I wish I was Jennifer Grey at that very moment. This movie reminds of how the death of Patrick Swayze at such an early age is such a huge loss.  However, we can still see his energy alive in these awesome flicks.  He’s done some amazing stuff.

dirty dancing practice baby

Jennifer Grey was fantastic as Baby.  The character of Baby was designed in a pretty realistic way.  In one way, I could slightly relate to the situation of growing up the way she did.  Of course, I never thought of joining the Peace Corps or saving lives.  I’d love to but her character makes me wish I could be and do a lot more.  Some may see her as naive and clueless but sometimes, thats what makes her a bigger and better person and turns her into a courageous person.  Its quite an inspiring role because her character ends up changing how she is into a good way and influencing others around her also, like Patrick Swayze’s Johnny Castle.

dirty dancing meeting

There are millions of other aspects I could talk about that was good.  The cast itself other than the main two and Penny was totally cool.  Jerry Orbach, who played Baby’s father was awesome. Dirty Dancing is definitely a recommendable flick if you like music/romance/drama.  It was fun and entertaining and had me moving to the music throughout the movie with a huge smile on my face.  Nothing beats feel good quite like this 🙂 Plus, we have a very charming Patrick Swayze and man, makes me want to rewatch all his movies. He was a great actor!

Thank you to Marilyn for her long  ago mention of this movie back in February 🙂 I loved it!

And you should definitely go check out her blog if you haven’t, she’s totally awesome and really artistic 🙂 I put her link to her name on the top.  Make sure to check it out!

Any other Patrick Swayze or dance flicks you’d like to recommend to me? Have you seen Dirty Dancing? What did you think?