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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Confession Time

I have a confession to make. It may seem at times that I like to pretend I’m deep and profound and cerebral. And maybe I am. I don’t know. You can judge that for yourself based on my entries. But there’s something you should know. This weekend cemented the reality and I’d be a hypocrite not to come clean:

I love dance movies.

I don’t know why. I really don’t. The acting is mediocre (to be kind), the plots are cheesy, the scripts are terrible, but I watch those things like they’re Casablanca, Good Will Hunting, and Amores Perros all tied up into one frenetic masterpiece. I’ve seen Center Stage I don’t know how many times. I not only watch Step Up 2 every time I see it on, but I’m EXCITED that it’s on. This weekend I watched Dirty Dancing: Havana nights AND Step Up 3 in a span of two days.

They’re terrible, I know, but I’m a nocturnal insect idiotically buzzing into their flashy costumes and frantic choreography. Yes, I know you can script the entire plot in the first five minutes once you know the main players. And yes, often that plot makes no sense, but every so often they’ll throw in a curveball. For example, here’s a wild twist: the protagonist of Step Up 3 is MALE! That’s right, a dance movie centering on a guy. How did that movie not win an Academy Award? It probably would have if Luke was played by a gorgeous actor who made himself ugly for the role.

It makes no sense that Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights is on my DVR sandwiched between Dancer in the Dark and Triage, but it is. And it’s now officially watched while the others wait their turn. I couldn’t even bring myself to delete it yet – just in the off chance I’d have a moment of weakness one night and felt the need to watch more awkward kisses and disapproving rich parents. (By the way, I’ve seen Diego Luna in several films. He’s adorable. Absolutely adorable. Not sure he pulls off the dance movie heart-throb lead though. Still working on that in my head. I know him better as the sidekick of Gael Garcia Bernal. Of course, I can’t see Gael doing a dance movie so I guess Diego was on his own.)

In the end, it probably just comes down to the dancing. My favorite scenes are always the grand finale routines that blow away the arch rival crews (Step Up’s) or impress the parents (Dirty Dancing, Center Stage) and just generally make everyone else realize they were jerks, the dancers are awesome after all, and then our heroes get some cool prize which is usually a combination of a tangible reward and a romantic relationship.

I don’t dance. I took one year of ballet when I was 5, but that ended quickly. I don’t know if it was by my choice or my instructor’s suggestion I may have other talents worth pursuing. I did have much more success in sports and music from that point on. So it’s not this personal passion for dance that intrigues me.

Still, there’s something comforting about the formulaic cheesiness of dance movies. I like watching people demonstrate their excellence in what they love, and dance movies tend to showcase specific talent more than films about other talents. You know what, I even like the stiff, awkward acting by dancers who can kind of act and are mannequin-like in their chiseled perfection. Plus, there’s always a bonus shirtless guy practicing scene.

So there. It’s not just independent films, foreign films, and psychodramas. I’ll watch Andie and Chase show the world their awesomeness and how they can express their growing affection for each other through dance over almost anything else. It makes no sense. But there you have it. One of my favorite movies that I will never admit to anyone else: Step Up 2: The Streets.

I’ll just pretend that makes me complex.

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