I was in junior high when “Dirty Dancing” was big. And lemme tell ya, that movie was a revelation.
BFF and I loved that some of the oldies our parents listened to – and by extension, we listened to – were suddenly cool. And another close friend had a pirated VHS copy of the movie and watched it every single day after school.
Personally, I spent my afterschool times listening to the radio, waiting for “She’s Like the Wind” to come on. Then, I would put down my homework and stare off into the distance. Sure, I was an awkward tween with glasses and braces and a perm. But somewhere out there was a Patrick Swayze lookalike who compared me to wind.
Wind, which is the flow of gases. Somebody thought I was mega-gaseous and mega-amazing.
All of this is lost on my sweet husband, my boy-man of a life partner who is five years my junior. We have a movie deficit for the years 1986 through 1999. While I was devouring “Dirty Dancing,” he was into all the Ernest movies. While he was watching “Jurassic Park” with his junior high classmates, I was seeing no movies because I didn’t have a car and there wasn’t a theatre within walking distance of campus. Also, I was broke. And too busy drinking beer.
When I went away to college, my husband was in junior high. JUNIOR HIGH.
So, I guess this is being a cougar. We make fun of each other’s lack of movie viewing. And we occasionally force each other to view movies of the “Ohmigod I can’t believe you haven’t seen this” ilk. This means that I recently saw “Varsity Blues” for the first time.
My Guy was really enthusiastic about this movie. “I can’t believe you’ve never seen it! You love football! You will love this movie!”
And I did. I enjoyed it like you enjoy store-bought desserts. Tasty, but probably not worth the calories and not the best ever. But fine.
However, “Varsity Blues” did leave some unanswered questions.
I would like to know what high school football program would allow a student to take over head coaching duties mid-game and then would allow another student to have bottles of beer on the field after a big win. What town is this? What is happening here? And isn’t glass dangerous? Wouldn’t it at least be cans? Where did the beer come from? Was it in the trainers’ ice chest? Does that mean there wasn’t enough water? Were the players dehydrated? Is that safe? Why was James Vanderbeek’s girlfriend so grouchy and anti-football all the time when she came from a football family? What high school boy would turn down a girl in a whipped-cream bikini? And, the biggest question of all: What high school actually has a teacher that moonlights as a stripper in the same town?
I guess these queries don’t occur to 19-year-olds viewing the movie because My Guy was completely taken aback. Watching the film as an adult was a totally different experience.
“Uh, these are all good questions, but … they won the game! Didn’t you see, they won the game?” he asked.
Clearly, he was working hard to hold on to the “This movie is AWESOME” experience of his youth. He had no desire to look at “Varsity Blues” with the cold eyes of an adult.
I let it go. I didn’t want to ruin it for him. And besides, this is probably why I haven’t watched “Dirty Dancing” lately. Why was it OK that all these people were infantilizing this teenager by calling her “Baby?” Didn’t her parents notice she was gone all the time with those ruffian dance kids? What in the world is Johnny going to do in the winter when he’s run out of dance money and eating ketchup sandwiches? Or will it not matter because he’ll be in prison for statutory rape? Because you can’t tell me that Jerry Orbach is just going to let Patrick Swayze get away with this, no matter how well Baby executes The Lift.
I’m great fun at parties.
What movie of your youth has lost some of its sheen in the cold light of adulthood?
I'm a few years older than my husband too (rocked that cradle of love!), so we also have that entertainment deficit, although most of ours involve Saturday morning cartoons. That said, when we first started dating way last century, we were in the video store, selecting that evening's entertainment. "Oh, look" I said, "Sixteen Candles!" to which he replied, "I've never seen that". You could hear murmuring from the surrounding aisles "Who's never seen Sixteen Candles", not to mention the whiplash people were clearly getting from trying to stare at him to see what was wrong with him. We of course, corrected that situation that very evening. I've also never let him watch "Top Gun" all the way through until just recently when we watched it with our daughter. Now that he's seen the whole thing, he gets why I always turn it off at a certain point.
The original Prancer. I thought it was a sweet movie about a girl who loves Christmas. It made me laugh. It made me cry. When I watched it with my husband years later, he saw it as a movie about a spoiled rotten little girl. Ugh! I will never watch Rudolph with him. I don't think I could handle it if he ruined that one for me.
I was in teenage love with Richard Gere – all the way from his Gigolo-ing to swooping Debra Winger off her feet. My God, How I wanted to be swept up like that, by an Officer & a Gentleman who used me for sex for a while and then decided he loved me after breaking my heart and rescuing me from a boring, dead-end job at the paper bag making factory and we lived happily ever after, amen.
I can't say I'm too turned off by it, even now, but I do see where I get my desire to be white-horsed by some knight. I mean, I look good in hats and would happily have lots of angsty sex with a Richard-Gere-before-the-Dalai-Lama-Years type. So I guess that movie doesn't count, but it is a go-to favorite, one which My Mister had never ever seen and I was shocked and appalled as well. He, too, is a couple years younger and knows not what he is missed.
However, my one questionable-through-adult-eyes would be The Breakfast Club. Those kids were running amok, and the Criminal should have had an intervention from Child Services. They have pot in school. The basket case needs a good scrubbing that no amount of eye liner and lipstick can cover up. And do they even say hello to each other in the hallways after that day in detention? No one knows for sure, but I'm guessing it was a bunch of awkward head-nods towards each other on Monday and then it was back to their regular cliques.
Whew. That was a long one.
I laugh because what you write is SO TRUE! I've rented some old faves to watch with my boys and some have stood the test of time (Uncle Buck! Ferris Bueller! Goonies!) and others make me cringe (Dirty Dancing! Top Gun!). Maturity really wrecks it for us, doesn't it? And I'm 100% with Trixie's comments on the Breakfast Club.