I don’t watch films. It stems back to a vague childhood trauma of going to the video shop with my dad and brother and always being out-voted in a minority of one. They would inevitably pick terrible action films (Die Hard, Die Hard 2, Die Hard: With a Vengance, etc) and so I grew up with sense of dread that sitting down and watching a film would be rubbish. The same goes for the cinema. My first cinematic experience was The Jungle Book, and everything since then has been pretty much a let down. There are huge gaps in my knowledge of pop culture and film, and I take a snobbish pride in saying things like “Well, I’ve read the book…”
Of course “I don’t watch films” is a self indulgent myth I’ve perpetuated, along with that semi-sob story about my youth. I do. And last night, I watched Dirty Dancing for the very first time. The first thing that struck me is the awkwardness - the way dialogue jars, that emotion on the actors face is simple an over long camera shot. I enjoyed the ridiculous implausible plot. I’m not quite sure why a middle aged couple is allowed to hang out with all those kids, even under the guise of teaching them how to dance.
Once you’ve seen the dances and lift, heard the soundtrack there’s only really two lines you need to get all the cultural references. “I carried a watermelon” is the line I’m going to use next time I bump into someone and they ask me what I’m doing there, and the infamous “Nobody puts baby in a corner” - which I’ve heard a million times before and had no idea how literal the line was.