Dirty Nostalgia

A few nights ago Angela and I watched Dirty Dancing. I had seen it before, but it had been a while. It was pretty good, but the weirdest thing for me was actually the music. Well, the music, combined with a sort of anachronistic double nostalgia, if that even makes sense. To get you warmed up, put your eyes on this (but beware, especially if you don’t like to dance: any woman with two functioning legs who is within 50 yards of this video will feel the urge to dance about 30 seconds after you click “play”):

So the movie takes place in the summer of 1963, I believe (I’m not 100% about the year, but Baby the narrator mentions that Kennedy hadn’t been killed yet). However, it was filmed in the 1980s, and half of the songs are quite rooted in the 80s. “Yes,” “She’s Like The Wind,” or “Hungry Eyes,” anyone?  Those aren’t 60s. The movie’s style is also definitely 80s, not 60s; I’m pretty sure the movie’s original working title was Footloose 2: Rich Person Summer Camp. So that’s all weird, but since the movie itself is supposed to be a kind of throwback to earlier years, does that mean that people who fondly remember Dirty Dancing today are actually nostalgic for nostalgia?
I guess it’s like Grease (another movie I saw a while ago and don’t remember too well) moved itself forward by a decade all around, since that movie was filmed in the 70s but was nostalgic for the 50s. There are obviously many other examples of nostalgic movies, but I’m wondering what happens when we become nostalgic for those movies themselves. Even my favorite movie, Back to the Future, is basically a look at how people in the 80s remembered life in the 50s.

Speaking of nostalgia and music, this also brings back childhood memories, from a time when my mom had the Dirty Dancing soundtrack in her car (I swear, my mom must have had a grand total of 5 cassettes from 1983-1994, and they were the Dirty Dancing soundtrack, an awful 1950s-themed 3-tape set called Senior Prom, and a Kenny Rogers Greatest Hits tape… the last was my favorite, if I had to choose). So just how meta-nostalgic can we get? Well, I have fond memories of watching Family Guy’s Star Wars parody/tribute, Blue Harvest:

This video shows a small clip from the movie, which basically remade the 1977 classic, but the song is “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life,” an obvious nostalgic tribute to Dirty Dancing. In the 76 seconds that that song plays, I’ve got about 5 levels of nostalgia to work with. Which I guess is kind of dirty.

Anyhow, we’ve been talking about the movie the last few days, so I’d been meaning to write about it (especially since I’ve been dogging it lately with this blog). To close, I’ll leave you with this brilliant video called “If David Lynch Directed Dirty Dancing…” Enjoy!

Thanks for reading, and you obviously know what’s coming next:
[I hope] (you’ve had) the time of [your] life!
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2 thoughts on “Dirty Nostalgia

  1. I’ve never actually seen Dirty Dancing, so it was definitely a new experience for me. I mean, when she laid out and he caught her in the aisle? I was just about ready to stand up and object right around the 3:25 mark, but that guy beat me to it. Simply exhilarating.

  2. You and Dr. Law n’ Order are on the same wavelength. That wavelength?
    “You can’t just pick up a jumping girl in a room full of people. It’s simply not done.”
    I know you’ve not seen the movie yet, so this may not make sense to you yet but Paul, nobody puts Baby in the corner. Nobody.

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