Walk to Mordor Challenge – Bree

Walk to Mordor

Since I last updated, here is my progress:

I reached Bree (135 miles) on 3/13/17.

I have now walked 141.15 miles. I am 31.85 miles from Midgewater Marshes West, 98.85 miles from Weathertop, 316.85 from Rivendell, 656.85 from Moria, 778.85 from Caras Galadan, 1167.85 from Rauros, 1391.85 from Henneth Anun, 1642.85 from destroying the ring, 1764.85 from Minas Tirith, 1988.85 from Cross Mering Stream and 2299.85 miles from the end of my journey.

Walk to Mordor Challenge – Barrow Wight

Walk to Mordor

Since I last updated, here is my progress:

I was captured by the Barrow Wight (115 miles) on 2/27/17.

I have now walked 124.88 miles. I am 10.12 miles from Bree, 115.12 miles from Weathertop, 333.12 from Rivendell, 673.12 from Moria, 795.12 from Caras Galadan, 1184.12 from Rauros, 1408.12 from Henneth Anun, 1659.12 from destroying the ring, 1781.12 from Minas Tirith, 2005.12 from Cross Mering Stream and 2316.12 miles from the end of my journey.

Walk to Mordor Challenge – Tom Bombadil’s House

Walk to Mordor

It has been awhile since I last updated my Walk to Mordor challenge. Since that time, I have started my official walking program. I took my average number of daily steps at the start of the program and I have been adding 100 steps to my goal each week.

Since I last updated, here is my progress:

I reached the encounter with the black rider (32 miles) on 1/10/17, I met the elves (41 miles) on 1/15/17, I reached the edge of Farmer Maggot’s Field (61 miles) on 1/25/17, Buckleberry Ferry (70 miles) on 1/29/17, Crickhollow (73 miles) 1/31/17, Old Man Willow (95 miles) 2/11/17 and Tom Bombadil’s House (98 miles) on 2/13/17.

I have now walked 104.45 miles. I am 10.55 miles from being captured by the Barrow Wight, 1682.55 miles from destroying the ring and 2336.55 miles from the end of my journey.

Walk to Mordor Challenge

Walk to Mordor

I got my new Fitbit – Charge 2 Activity Tracker  today, so I have decided to officially embark on my quest to walk to Mordor and back.

I probably won’t start working on this hard-core until my new treadmill is set up, but I’m going to go ahead and start tracking my steps.

I will periodically update the blog with my progress.

My current location is Bagend. I have 5 miles to go to reach Tookland and 2436 miles to go to complete my journey.

Ten Best Atari 2600 Games – The List


I compiled votes from several “best of” lists and determined that these are the 10 best games for the Atari 2600:

  1. Space Invaders
  2. Pitfall!
  3. Adventure
  4. River Raid
  5. Asteroids
  6. Frogger
  7. Missile Command
  8. Centipede
  9. Pong
  10. Yars’ Revenge

I will be looking to acquire and play these ten games as part of bucket list item #35.

Bull Durham – 100 Best Sports Films


First up on my list of the 100 Best Sports Movies is Bull Durham.

Bull Durham Plot Summary (Spoilers):

Bull Durham begins with a montage of baseball scenes and a monologue by Annie Savoy, played by Susan Sarandon. Annie professes her faith in the “church of baseball,” comparing it to sex and saying there’s never been a ballplayer who slept with her that didn’t have the best year of his career. She concludes by saying that she’s tried all the major religions, but the only one that truly feeds the soul, is the church of baseball. Amen.

The scene transitions to the ballpark, where Skip Riggins, the manager of the Durham Bulls minor league baseball team, is looking for Ebby Calvin LaLoosh, played by Tim Robbins. LaLoosh is scheduled to make his professional debut as the starting pitcher for the Bulls, but is nowhere to be found.

ebby-millieSkip finds Ebby in the locker room, having sex with Millie. Skip threatens to ban Millie from the ballpark if he catches her in the locker room again, but she says her daddy will take back the scoreboard he donated if he does. Skip orders Ebby to get out on the field, but Ebby wants to run some potential nicknames by him first. Skip gives Ebby 3 minutes to get out on the field, which Ebby decides to use for another quickie with Millie.

Ebby finally makes his way out to the mound and Millie joins Annie in the stands. Annie tells Millie to stay out of the clubhouse, or she’s going to get everyone in trouble. Millie claims she got lured, but Annie shoots that down, saying “women don’t get lured.” Ebby launches his first pitch into the press box, but Annie is impressed with his velocity, which Millie clocks at 95 m.p.h. on the radar gun.

When Ebby beans the batter in the back with his next pitch, Annie writes a note for Ebby, telling him that he’s not bending his back on his follow through. She then asks Millie how Ebby was and Millie responds, “he fucks like he pitches, sort of all over the place.” Ebby continues to struggle with his control, but shows some improvement after reading Annie’s note. After the game, his coaches note that he set new league records by walking 18, striking out 18, hitting the PA announcer and the bull mascot, twice.

A catcher by the name of Crash Davis, played by Kevin Costner, enters Skip’s office. Crash demands to know why he’s back in A ball. Skip explains that the big club has a lot of money invested in LaLoosh, who coach Larry Hockett describes as having a “million dollar arm and a five cent head,” and they want Crash, who has been in the minor leagues a long time, to mature him. Crash is angry that his AAA contract was bought out so that he could, “hold the flavor of the month’s dick in the bus leagues,” but Skip points out that at least Crash would have the chance to play every day and to keep getting paid for it, instead of working at Sears. Crash initially declares, “I quit,” but quickly changes his mind.

maxAnnie is having drinks at a bar with Max Patkin a.k.a. “the clown prince of baseball.” Crash buys them a drink and then joins them at their table. They notice Ebby dancing with a bunch of girls. He approaches the table and thanks Annie for her note. Ebby asks Annie to dance with him and Crash tells him, “she’s dancing with me,” even though he had just told Annie he didn’t dance. Ebby challenges Crash to a fight and they head out to the parking lot.

Crash challenges Ebby to hit him in the chest with a baseball. Ebby initially refuses, but Crash goads him into it, calling him “Meat” and saying he heard he couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat. Ebby throws at Crash and misses, breaking a window instead. Ebby charges at Crash, who hits him square in the nose, and then tells him he’s his new catcher and Ebby just got lesson #1. “Don’t think. You can only hurt the ball club.”

believeEbby and Crash return to the bar. After teasing them about fighting because they are rechanneling their latent homosexuality, Annie invites them both to her house. Annie tells them that she hooks up with one guy a season and they are the two most promising prospects of the season so far. Crash asks Annie why she gets to choose and she says that nobody really chooses, it’s all just a matter of quantum-physics and timing. Ebby just wants to know if someone’s gonna get laid, but Crash gets up to leave, saying after 12 years in the minors, “I don’t try out.” He also doesn’t believe in quantum-physics when it comes to matters of the heart. Annie asks him what he does believe in and he rattles off a long list of things, that begins with the soul, the cock and the pussy, includes outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter and concludes with long, slow, deep, soft, wet, kisses that last three days. Annie is impressed and tries to stop him from leaving, but Crash says he’s not interested in a woman who is interested in, “that boy.”

foreplayEbby stays and tries to jump straight to sexy times, but Annie tells him to slow down and suggests that when he knows how to make love, he’ll know how to pitch. She lets him strip down to his undies, after admonishing him to take his shoes and socks off first, and then ties him to the bed and reads him some Walt Whitman.

Ebby shows up in the locker room the next day looking like hell and telling everyone to call him “Nuke,” because Annie says that’s his new nickname. Larry asks him if Annie is as good as everyone says and Nuke tells him that they didn’t fuck, she just read poetry to him all night, which is more tiring the fucking. Crash lectures Nuke for having fungus on his shower shoes, saying, “think classy and you’ll be classy.”

After Crash strikes out at the plate, Annie sends him a note saying he’s pulling his hips out too early and offering to meet him at the batting cage to discuss it. Crash sends a note back, which reads “Let’s fuck sometime.,” but which Millie tells Annie says “I want to make love to you.”

batting-cageAt the batting cages, Crash asks Annie if they are going to happen, but Annie tells him that she’s committed to Nuke for the season. Crash asks her what she sees in Nuke and she tells him that young men are uncomplicated and it’s her job to give him life’s wisdom and help him get to the major leagues. Crash notes that ironically, that is also his job. Annie tells Crash she looked up his records and at 227 career home runs, he’s just 20 shy of the minor league record of 247. Crash calls this a “dubious honor,” and doesn’t want her telling anyone about it. He propositions Annie one more time, but she turns him down again. He angrily responds that Annie is afraid to meet someone like him, because it might be real, so she sabotages it with some bullshit about mentoring a young boy she can boss around.

Annie calls Nuke “Crash” during sex and tries to cover for herself, asking Nuke whether he’d rather she have sex with Crash, using Nuke’s name, or have sex with Nuke using Crash’s. Nuke decides that’s a good point.

Crash continues his efforts to prepare Nuke for the Big Leagues. He advises him to quit trying to strike everyone out, to relax and have some fun and to quit holding the ball so hard. However, Nuke resists taking Crash’s advice and tries to shake him off when he calls for the curve instead of the fastball. When Nuke insists on bringing the heat, Crash tells the batter what is coming, resulting in a home run off the bull sign. When Nuke tells Crash it was like the batter knew he was going to throw the fastball, Crash tells him that he did know, because Crash told him.

showerAfter the Bulls lose 14-2, in spite of Crash’s first homer of the season, Skip tells Crash that he just doesn’t know what to do with the players. Crash tells him to “scare ’em.” Skip orders all the players into the shower and then screams at them for a while, calling them lollygaggers and telling them the game is simple, “You throw the ball. You hit the ball. You catch the ball.” He then reminds them they have a 12 day road trip coming up and the bus leaves at 6 a.m.

busBefore Nuke gets on the bus for their road trip, Annie gives him some garters to wear, saying they’ll help his pitching and remind him of her. Crash has another confrontation with Nuke on the bus. Tired of listening to Nuke sing hilariously wrong words to the song Try a Little Tenderness. Crash snatches Nuke’s out of tune guitar away and corrects his lyrics. Nuke asks Crash why he doesn’t like him and Crash tells him it’s because he has no respect for himself or for the game and that he’s pissing away his hall of fame arm. He tells Nuke that he needs a curve ball, because everyone can hit a fastball in The Show. When Nuke asks him how he knows, Crash tells him that he’s been in The Show. His team mates are intrigued and Crash goes on to say he was once in The Show for the best 21 days of his life. Crash waxes poetic about how wonderful life in The Show is, before saying that Nuke could be one of those guys, if he gave a fuck. They come close to exchanging blows again, but when Larry shows up to break things up, Nuke says he was just going to ask Crash to show him how to throw a breaking ball.

With the exception of Crash, the Bulls have miserable start to their road trip. One of the players remarks that they could really use a rain out and night off to end their losing streak. Crash bets them $100 that he can get them a rain out for tomorrow. That night, Crash sneaks onto the field, through a hole in the fence, and turns the sprinkler system on, flooding the field. He and several other players run around the field, sliding in the wet dirt.

catchWhen they get back home, Nuke tells Annie how horrible the road trip was and she decides he needs a good game of catch. Annie tells Nuke that he needs to learn to breath through his eyelids, like the lava lizards of the Galápagos Islands and get the chakras between his feet and his testicles aligned. She also convinces him to rechannel his sexual energy into his pitching, instead of having sex with her, and to throw whatever pitches Crash calls.

homerAt that night’s game, Nuke tries out Annie’s advice, including the garters, and he pitches his best game of the season. Nuke has a 2-hit shutout going through 8, when he gets on Crash’s bad side again, by shaking off the signs. Crash once again tells the hitter what pitch Nuke is going to throw, resulting in a solo homer. In spite of that hiccup the Bulls go on to win the game.

Nuke attributes his victory to rechanneling his sexual energy, so he vows not to have sex again until he loses. Inspired by Nuke and Crash’s success, the Bulls go on an extended winning streak through the months of June and July and move into a first place tie in their division. Annie is thrilled with the Bull’s success, but frustrated by Nuke’s continued refusal to have sex with her.

Enthused by his newfound success, Nuke begs Crash to teach him something new, so Crash decides to school him on his clichés for media interviews. Nuke tells Crash that Annie is getting pretty mad about him not having sex with her and he’s thinking about giving in. Crash tells him that if he has sex, he might start losing again and to never fuck with a winning streak.

seductionAnnie attempts to seduce Nuke, but he resists her. She tries to stop him from leaving by telling him that there’s no relationship between sex and baseball and suggesting he ask Crash. Nuke tells her that he already asked Crash and Crash told him that if he gave in to Annie, he’d start losing again.

Annie goes to Crash’s apartment and berates him for interfering in her private life, by telling Nuke not to have sex with her. Crash makes fun of Annie and the two argue. Crash tells Annie that Nuke’s chastity wasn’t his idea and that he never told Crash not have sex with her, he just told him that a player on a streak has to respect the streak, because they don’t happen very often. He adds that if you think you’re winning because you’re having sex or not having sex or wearing women’s underwear, then you are and Annie should know that. Annie tells Crash that she wants him, but when he rejects her, she accuses him of being scared.

cocksuckerNuke’s father comes to see him pitch, which makes him nervous and throws off his game. Crash gets himself ejected after calling the home plate umpire a cocksucker, during an argument over what Crash thinks was a missed call. The whole team goes into a funk and Nuke’s winning streak comes to an end.

Nuke shows up at Annie’s with his father and the news that they lost the game. In spite of having his father in the other room, Nuke tries to talk Annie into a quickie, but they are interrupted by a phone call. The call is for Nuke. Skip tells Nuke that he has been called up to the Majors. Nuke celebrates briefly with Annie and his father and then rushes off to find Crash. Before Nuke can get out the door, Annie stops him and tells him that their relationship is over. Annie assures Nuke that he is ready for the Big Leagues and the two say their goodbyes.

Nuke tracks down Crash at a local pool hall and tells him that he’s going to The Show. Nuke is surprised and disappointed when Crash doesn’t seem happy for him. Crash laments that the difference between hitting .250 and .300 is just one extra hit a week, but Nuke still doesn’t understand why Crash is upset and makes a smart-ass comment on his way out the door. Crash throws a pool ball at Nuke’s back, but misses, breaking a mirror. Crash calls Nuke a “fuck” and tells him it’s because he has talent, while Crash only has brains. Nuke assures Crash that he’s a great catcher. Crash continues to harass Nuke, until Nuke turns around and slugs him. Crash verifies that Nuke hit him with his left hand and not his right, because you don’t hit a drunk with your pitching hand.

The next day, Crash apologizes to Nuke. He tells him that Big League hitters are going to light him up for a while, but not to worry about it and to play the game with fear and arrogance. Nuke thanks Crash and Crash wishes him luck and they part.

weddingJimmy, a straight-laced Christian ball-player, marries Millie at the ballpark and the team celebrates in the locker room. During the celebration, Skip calls Crash into his office. He tells Crash that now that Nuke is gone, the organization wants to call up a young catcher and Crash has been released from his contract. Skip tells Crash that he told the club that Crash would make a fine minor league manager some day and there might be an opening in Vidalia next year.

Crash goes to Annie’s house and tells her that he was released. She tells him she knows and then the two have sex. A lot of sex and bonding and bondage happens between the two of them, but eventually Annie wakes up to a note from Crash, informing her that he has headed to Ashville, because he heard there might be an opening for a catcher there. Annie is disappointed, but tells herself you can’t blame a ballplayer for trying to finish out the season.

crash-and-annieCrash goes on to break the minor league record for career home runs and Nuke does well in the Majors, because as Annie says, “the world is made for people who aren’t cursed with self-awareness.” Crash returns to Annie and tells her that he decided to hang up his spikes after hitting his record-breaking homer. Annie tells him that she quit too, boys that is, not baseball. Crash tells her about the potential manager job in Vidalia and asks if she thinks he could make it to The Show as a manager and she tells him she thinks he’d be great. She prattles on about all the reasons why Crash would make such a good manager. Crash tells her that he wants to hear all her theories, but there’s plenty of time for that and for now, he just wants to be. Annie agrees that she can do that too.

The film ends with Annie quoting Walt Whitman, “I see great things in baseball. It’s our game, the American game. It will repair our losses and be a blessing to us,” and then dancing with Crash in her living room.

Bull Durham Commentary (Spoilers):

Bull Durham is not just one of my favorite sports movies, but one of my favorite movies period. I guess it’s mostly because I love baseball and the movie and it’s characters celebrate the game of baseball.

The romance part of the movie isn’t that interesting to me and I actually find both Annie and Crash and their bullshit a bit annoying at times. However, the mentoring triangle between them and Nuke is entertaining, funny and even touching at times.

Crash’s story of the guy who really understands how the game works, but just doesn’t have the physical talent to stick in the Majors is probably the most compelling thing about the film. Nuke takes his physical gifts for granted and with Crash and Annie’s help, moves on to what will probably be a very lucrative Big League career, something most professional ball players can only dream about. Meanwhile, the guy that helped him get there gets unceremoniously cut from the team, as soon as they don’t need him anymore.

It’s easy to be blinded by the multi-million dollar contracts the stars of the game make and only see the glamour of professional sports. What you seldom see are the guys like Crash who grind it out for years in the bus leagues. I’m not sure if it’s more heartbreaking for the guys who never get a taste of the Big Leagues or the guys like Crash who get the call, but aren’t able to hack it.

In spite of never fully realizing his dreams, it is clear that Crash loves the game of baseball and it frustrates him that Nuke, who has vastly more talent, doesn’t share that same love.

The movie’s treatment of Annie is interesting. On the one hand, most of the men in the film seem to have a rather misogynistic view of her. They basically seem to view her as a slut and a good-luck charm and don’t give her much credit for whatever wisdom she is able to impart to the players she “mentors.” This isn’t really surprising, as female fans of pro sports are often not taken very seriously by men.

However, the movie also presents Annie as being a powerful woman, who refuses to conform to mainstream ideas about proper sexual behavior for women and also has a pretty good understanding of the game and how to mentor a young player, aside from having sex with him. It’s not quite clear whether the people who wrote the film view Annie this way or whether it’s only Annie who sees herself in this light, but it’s an interesting contrast to how she is viewed by her male counterparts.

Crash himself, at times, has a rather condescending attitude towards Annie, but it seems to mostly be rooted in his anger at being rejected by her in favor of Nuke. In the end, in spite of their arguments, it is clear that Annie and Crash share more than a sexual attraction and it seems possible that their relationship might last more than a baseball season.







100 Best Coming of Age Movies – The List

You know the drill. I consulted several of the most popular best of lists and used them to compile this list of the 100 Best Coming of Age Movies.

  1. The Breakfast Club
  2. Almost Famous
  3. Stand By Me
  4. Clueless
  5. Dazed and Confused
  6. Juno
  7. Mean Girls
  8. Sixteen Candles
  9. The Last Picture Show
  10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
  11. The Sandlot
  12. A Bronx Tale
  13. American Pie
  14. Dead Poet’s Society
  15. Easy A
  16. Garden State
  17. Good Will Hunting
  18. Rebel Without a Cause
  19. Superbad
  20. The 400 Blows
  21. The Graduate
  22. The Karate Kid
  23. The Outsiders
  24. The Squid and the Whale
  25. American Graffiti
  26. An Education
  27. Big
  28. Boyhood
  29. Boyz ‘N the Hood
  30. Dirty Dancing
  31. Fast Times at Ridgemont High
  32. My Girl
  33. Pan’s Labyrinth
  34. Pretty in Pink
  35. Rushmore
  36. Say Anything…
  37. The Spectacular Now
  38. The Virgin Suicides
  39. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape
  40. Y Tu Mama Tambien
  41. A River Runs Through It
  42. About a Boy
  43. Adventureland
  44. American Beauty
  45. American History X
  46. Aparajito
  47. Bambi
  48. Beautiful Girls
  49. Blue is the Warmest Color
  50. Breaking Away
  51. Can’t Buy Me Love
  52. Carrie
  53. City of God
  54. Cooley High
  55. Coraline
  56. Diner
  57. Donnie Darko
  58. Empire of the Sun
  59. Fat Girl
  60. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
  61. Fish Tank
  62. Footloose
  63. Harold and Maude
  64. Heathers
  65. Heavenly Creatures
  66. How Green Was my Valley
  67. Kes
  68. Labyrinth
  69. Let the Right One In
  70. Mermaids
  71. Moonrise Kingdom
  72. Mysterious Skin
  73. Napoleon Dynamite
  74. Old Yeller
  75. Persepolis
  76. Pump up the Volume
  77. Quadrophenia
  78. Risky Business
  79. River’s Edge
  80. Rudy
  81. Rumble Fish
  82. Scent of a Woman
  83. School Ties
  84. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
  85. Slumdog Millionaire
  86. Some Kind of Wonderful
  87. Splendor in the Grass
  88. Star Wars
  89. Submarine
  90. The Goonies
  91. The Lion King
  92. The Lost Boys
  93. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
  94. The Sword in the Stone
  95. The Wizard of Oz
  96. This is England
  97. To Kill a Mockingbird
  98. Welcome to the Dollhouse
  99. Whale Rider
  100. Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory

Arrested Development – Season 1 – Episode 1 – “Pilot” – 100 Best TV Shows


First up on my list of the 100 Best TV Shows is Arrested Development.

Arrested Development: “Pilot” Recap (Spoilers):

The episode begins with a voiceover, done by Ron Howard, introducing Michael Bluth, played by Jason Bateman. Michael is the son of George Bluth, played by Jeffrey Tambor and Lucille Bluth, played by Jessica Walter.


Lucille is upset, because of a group of gay protesters located in the water near their yacht. Michael’s twin sister Lindsay, played by Portia de Rossi, is upset, because one of the protestors is wearing a blouse that looks just like one she has in her closet. Lucille notes that the blouse looks better on the protestor. Lindsay is married to Tobias Fünke, played by David Cross. Michael hasn’t spoken to his sister in over a year.

Michael also has a brother named George Oscar Bluth II, called G.O.B., a magician, played by Will Arnett. G.O.B. recently joined The Alliance of Magicians, who are a group with the main goal of enforcing the prohibition on magicians revealing the secrets to how their tricks illusions are performed.

busterByron, called Buster, played by Tony Hale, is Michael’s youngest sibling. Buster suffers from crippling panic attacks and has spent his life and his family’s money, bouncing from one hobby to another, studying everything from native american tribal ceremonies to cartography. The opening monologue concludes by saying that Michael is happy because he has decided never to speak to his family again.

The episode then flashes back to that morning. Michael is telling his son, George Michael, that all of the sacrifices they have made for the family are about to pay off, since his father is going to make him a partner in the company at the boat party later that night. Michael and George Michael have been living in the attic of one of the model houses that belong to his father’s company.

banana-standGeorge Michael reports to work at his grandfather’s frozen banana stand, near the beach. Michael attempts to collect G.O.B.’s share of the money for his father’s retirement party. However, G.O.B. says his contribution will be a magic show featuring an $18,000 illusion he purchased, called the Aztec Tomb. G.O.B. suggests Michael just charge the party to the company, but Michael protests that the party is not a business expense. G.O.B. tells Michael that his sister Lindsay has been staying at the Four Seasons and charging it to the company for a month.

Michael goes to confront his mother about using the company funds to pay for personal expenses and she tells him she had to fund the Aztec Tomb, because G.O.B said it was a career maker. Lucille tries to distract Michael from his complaints about her spending the company’s money, by bringing up the big announcement his father plans to make at the party.

hoopTobias shows up. He recently lost his medical license for performing CPR on a man who was not having a heart attack and is now looking for work. Michael jokingly suggests that maybe Tobias will be inspired by the boat party to start a career as a pirate. Lindsay arrives and tells Michael about her successful fundraiser for her anti-circumcision charity H.O.O.P. She brags that they raised $40k, but Tobias lets it slip that most of that money was from the Bluth Company and Michael is not pleased. Michael tells them that tomorrow, there’s going to be a new boss in town and they will no longer be able to dip into the company coffers whenever they feel like it.

George Michael’s cousin, Mae called “Maeby,” stops by the banana stand claiming that she found a foot (which she snipped from her grandmother’s fox fur) in a frozen banana. The two talk about how they  hardly ever see each other because of their parents and then Maeby decides they should try to get back at them by pretending that they don’t know they are cousins and making out at the boat party.

protestTobias, who now thinks the boat party is pirate themed. Picks out some clothing from his wife’s wardrobe for the party and heads into the lobby of the hotel. He spots some men he thinks are also dressed as pirates and gets in their van, not realizing he is actually on his way to a protest against the yacht club.

Meanwhile, at the boat party, Michael gets an unpleasant surprise when his father names his wife Lucille the new CEO of the Bluth company, instead of him. Micheal tells George Michael that it’s time for them to move on and George Michael tells his cousin Maeby that he guesses they’ll be seeing even less of them now. Maeby grabs George Michael and kisses him, but their parents don’t even notice and soon everyone’s attention is focused elsewhere.

aztec-tombThe police arrive and George tells the family  it’s the securities and exchange commission. Lucille and Lindsay attempt to plot an escape route with the aid of Buster’s cartography skills. George calls an employee and orders her to empty the accounts and start shredding documents. G.O.B. tries to hide his father from the police in the Aztec Tomb.

However, none of their plans work out. George is arrested for defrauding investors and using company funds for personal expenses. G.O.B. ends up in trouble with The Alliance of Magicians, due to a reporter revealing the secrets of the Aztec Tomb illusion on the local news, as part of the story about his father’s arrest. Tobias is arrested, along with the other protestors. He tells his family that thanks to the time he spent with the gay pirates, who are actually mostly actors in the local theater, he has decided he wants to be an actor.

lindsayMichael tells the family that they will be keeping George in prison until matters with the company are sorted out and that they have put a halt on the company’s expense account. Lucille decides to put Buster in charge of the company. Frustrated by his family’s seeming to only be concerned about their own selfish interests, Michael declares that he is through with them. He chides Lindsay, saying he expected this kind of behaviour from the rest of them, but she should know better.

Lindsay and her family sneak out of the hotel without paying and Tobias begins seeking work as an actor. Lucille attempts to deal with the press surrounding her husband’s arrest. Michael gets a job with a rival housing company. Buster struggles with his new responsibilities as the head of the Bluth Company. Lucille decides that they need Michael and they stage an intervention to attempt to prevent him from leaving for his new job.

The family pleads with Michael to return and run the company. G.O.B. reveals that he can no longer work as a magician, because he is getting blackballed by The Alliance. Michael turns them down, but Lindsay guilts him into at least saying goodbye to their father before he leaves for Arizona.

prisonMichael goes to see his father in prison and tells him, “I quit.” His father responds, “probably a good career move.” Michael questions why his father didn’t put him in charge and George tells him that the SEC has been after him for years and he feared that if he put Michael in charge, he’d end up an accomplice. George conspiratorially tells Michael that it had to be Lucille he put in charge, because they can’t arrest a husband and wife for the same crime. When Michael tells his father that, that isn’t true, George laments that he has the worst bleeping attorney.

Lindsay decides to swipe anything of value from the model home, but is discovered by George Michael, who is packing up his belongings. She pretends she stopped by to say goodbye to him. Michael overhears his son telling Lindsay that it’s been nice having them around, since it’s been lonely since his mom died and he wishes they could stay here.

Michael and LindsayMichael asks Lindsay where she’s been all this time and why she never called him. She tells him that her life is a mess and now she has the Jewish Defense League on her case, thanks to H.O.O.P. When Michael points out that, that’s why he was against H.O.O.P. to begin with, she accuses him of being judgemental and says he’s disappointed in her. Michael admits that he is disappointed, but points out that his own life isn’t so great. He tells her that he wants his son to be happy and that maybe they should try to be in each other’s lives. Lindsay agrees.

Michael decides that he should stay and help his family. Lindsay, Tobias and Maeby will be moving into the model home with Michael and George Michael, until they can get back on their feet, which makes George Michael happy. However, he appears a bit apprehensive about sharing a room with his cousin Maeby.

Arrested Development: “Pilot” Commentary (Spoilers):

I watched a few episodes of Arrested Development during its original run on FOX, but wasn’t really a regular viewer. I thought the show was kind of funny, but I have a longstanding dislike of Jason Bateman that dates back to his days on Valerie’s Family. I’m not entirely sure why I don’t like him, but I don’t. I think it’s his face. I’m also not a big fan of Will Arnett, who just seems kind of generally smarmy and unfunny in most of his work.

However, one of my best friends is a huge fan of Arrested Development, claiming it is the best show in the history of television, and she would often play the DVDs when we were all hanging out at her house. Eventually, the series began to grow on me.

Many fans of the show like to think that the reason it never caught on with mainstream audiences is that the humor is just “too smart” for the general public. I, however, think it just takes a certain sort of sense of humor to appreciate the show and some people have it and some don’t.

A good chunk of the pilot is taken up with introducing us to the Bluth family. The Bluth’s are presented as a dysfunctional clan of spoiled rich kids, who now have to learn to live life without access to the company funds they have used to fund their extravagant lifestyles. Michael is something of the Black Sheep of the family, who also seems to see himself as “above” all their selfishness and non-sense.

The heart of the show, however, is not in learning lessons about life, though there is a bit of that, but rather in the quirky and sarcastic humor brought on by the Bluth’s interactions with each other and the world around them.

My favorite moments of the pilot at the little moments like when Lucille tells Lindsay she likes Lindsay’s blouse better on the gay pirate, who neither of them realize is actually Tobias, than on Lindsay or when George responds to Michael’s resignation from the company with, “probably a good career move.” The in your face gags are often funny, but it’s the little one-liners that really make the show for me.





Loving Annabelle – 100 Best Lesbian Movies


First up on my list of the 100 Best Lesbian Movies is Loving Annabelle.

Loving Annabelle Plot Summary (Spoilers):

carLoving Annabelle begins with a girl riding in a limo. We see someone looking at a newspaper with the headline, “Senator’s Daughter Causes Trouble Again.” The limo drops the girl, whose name is Annabelle, off in front of a Catholic school, where she is told someone will be out to collect her soon. A girl named Kristin introduces herself and recognizes Annabelle as the daughter of Senator Tillman. Kristen is super impressed and tells Annabelle that her mother is her idol. Another student, named Catherine (Cat), is not so impressed. She notes that Annabelle is in a band, like her dad, who Kristen informs her is in rehab, and warns Annabelle not to let “them” catch her smoking.

A teacher named Simone, gives Annabelle the dime tour and warns her she might want to hide her Buddhist prayer beads under her shirt and take her nose ring out, but Annabelle doesn’t heed her advice. Simone leaves Annabelle at the dining hall, where she sits at a table by herself, but is soon joined by a student named Collins, however when Cat shows up, Collins leaves. Kristen joins them, freaking out about failing chemistry, which Cat tells Annabelle is because it’s Kristen’s second go round as a senior.

prissyAnnabelle shares her dorm room with Kristen, Cat, Collins and a porcupine named “Prissy” that Collins found in the woods. The scene shifts to the classroom, where Simone is reading a poem by Walt Whitman. Cat pipes up that Walt Whitman was gay, which Simone confirms. Cat goes on to point out that he must have been writing the poem about a man then, while some of the other girls giggle. Cat gets kicked out of the class for picking on Collins.

The setting shifts again, to Simone having dinner with another teacher named Michael. Michael wants to know if she’s thought any more about moving in with him and she tells him that she isn’t ready to leave the school. He points out that she can live off-campus and still teach at the school, the way he does. She changes the subject.

annabelleWhen Annabelle interprets a poem as being about sex, during one of Simone’s classes, Simone asks to speak to her after class and accuses her of trying to “get a rise out of” her. Annabelle flirtatiously tells Simone that she is “intrigued” by her. Simone asks her to be more appropriate with her comments in her class.

Mother Immaculata, the woman in charge of the school, calls Simone into her office and tells her they need to have a serious talk about Annabelle. Meanwhile, Annabelle and her roommates are drinking liquor, a gift from Cat’s father. Annabelle opines that Cat’s dad seems cool and Cat responds, “when he’s sober.” Cat decides they should play a drinking game called “I never.” Annabelle opens up with “I’ve never had sex with another woman,” and then takes a drink, indicating that she has. Cat calls bullshit, but Anna says it’s not that big a deal. Cat remarks that they finally have another lesbian, which she was worried they’d never have after the last one graduated.

beadsSimone catches them drinking and they all leave, except for Annabelle. Simone tells Annabelle that she really needs her to start trying to fit in. Anna points out that she’s not even Catholic. Anna agrees to lose the nose ring, but she balks at getting rid of her Buddhist prayer beads. The scene shifts to Mother Immaculata demanding Annabelle hand over the beads. Anna refuses and Mother Immaculata asks her if getting kicked out of her first two schools wasn’t enough for her. She then commands Anna to wear this big honkin cross and add another one for every day she refuses to remove the beads. Anna refuses to wear the cross and Mother Immaculata informs her that her mother has told her that if she doesn’t comply, she’ll be sent to military school next. Anna puts the cross on and leaves the room. Simone tells Mother Immaculata that she should move Annabelle to another dorm, because Simone can’t control her. Mother Immaculata responds that it shouldn’t be too hard, after all, she was able to control Simone.

Cat passes Anna a note in class, asking if she has a girlfriend. Anna writes, “women suck!!” on the note and passes it back. Simone confiscates the note and tosses it in the garbage. She keeps Anna after class and asks her why she isn’t wearing her rosary. Anna approaches Simone and grabs the cross she wears around her neck and asks her if she would take it off if Mother Immaculata told her to. Simone doesn’t answer. Anna puts on her rosary and leaves.

simoneBack in her room, Simone leafs through a photo album which contains photos of her and another woman she appears to have been romantically involved with.

Simone approaches Anna in the library and hands her a book. She suggests that maybe Anna could carry her prayer beads in her pocket or hide them in her bag where no one can see them. Anna tells her that she’ll think about it. Simone asks why Anna is making this so hard and she tells her that the first person she fell in love with gave them to her. Simone asks if Anna is still in love with him and Anna responds that she moved to Europe with her family. Later on, Anna thanks Simone for the book and Simone thanks her for taking off the beads.

Anna spots Simone working on some photographs and complements her on her photography skills. She finds a photo of Simone’s parents, who Simone says she isn’t close to, and notes that her mother looks like Mother Immaculata. Simone tells her that’s because they are sisters. Anna spots some photos of the woman from the photo album and remarks that Simone and the woman looked “close.” Simone says that the woman’s name was Amanda and they grew up together, but she died a few years ago. Collins interrupts and tells Simone that she thinks Prissy is dead.

collinsCat tells Collins that at least she doesn’t have to smell Prissy’s gas anymore and Collins runs out of the room crying. Anna follows and tries to comfort her. Anna examines Collins wrist, where she has been cutting, while Simone watches in the background.

That night, Cat joins Anna outside and they share a joint, another gift from Cat’s dad. Cat asks Anna how it’s going with Simone and Anna says nothing is going with Simone. Cat says she had a crush on Simone when she was a freshman, but she’s not gay, she’s into guys too. She tells Anna that the previously graduated lesbian used to be obsessed with Simone. Anna tells Cat that she’s not obsessed with Simone, but doesn’t deny that she likes her.

eye-rollSimone has dinner with Michael and another couple, who announce they are renewing their vows. She surreptitiously watches a lesbian couple cuddling over at the bar, while the others celebrate. She has sex with MIchael later that night, but doesn’t look all that into it. Simone tries to sneak back into the dorm, but her aunt hears her and asks her to come sit with her. She comments that she doesn’t understand why Simone is still with Michael, because he’s not good enough for her. Simone tells her she’s really tired and is going to bed.

cat-annaAnna is swimming in the pool. Cat joins her and then begins kissing her. Anna stops her and tells her that she’s not interested in being her “science project.”

The next day, Simone receives a bouquet of flowers. The card has no signature, but the sender has written the same quote that Simone wrote in the book she gave Anna.

Anna goes to see Simone in Simone’s room and Simone tells her that she can’t be in there. Anna ignores her. She tells Simone that Cat kissed her, but that Cat isn’t her type and then Anna tries to kiss Simone, but Simone tells her to stop and Anna leaves. Later, Simone goes to the chapel and fantasizes about Anna touching her.

Anna has to remain at the dorms during Spring Break, and as a result, so does Simone, even though she protests to her aunt that she really  needs to get away.

beachAnna talks Simone into taking her off campus, even though she’s not supposed to. Simone takes her to her house on the beach. Anna asks Simone if she was in love with Amanda and Simone says that she was. Anna remarks that Simone is still wearing Amanda’s cross, which she noticed Amanda wearing in Simone’s photos. This seems to upset Simone and she takes off down the beach.

Anna goes looking for Simone at the house, but she isn’t there. Anna finds and reads what appears to be Amanda’s suicide note. Simone returns and sees Anna with the letter and is angry. Anna tells Simone that she’s sorry that she read the letter, but that Simone can’t keep running away from this. Anna tries to comfort Simone, in spite of Simone’s protests. Anna embraces Simone and Simone begins to weep.

sleepThe scene shifts to Anna & Simone asleep in bed. Simone takes Anna back to the school. Anna approaches Simone’s room that night, but then changes her mind and leaves.

The other girls return to school and while they are eating breakfast, Cat accuses Anna of having slept with Simone, which Anna denies. Mother Immaculata announces that Friday is their annual end of the year dance with St. Paul’s. Most of the girls celebrate, but Anna does not look enthused. Cat tells them that her brother and his band are playing at the dance and suggests that maybe Anna could play with them. Cat remarks that they’ve never seen Anna sing or play the guitar and maybe it’s just all for show. Anna storms off.

simone-michaelAnna continues to flirt with Simone and Simone continues to rebuff her advances. When Simone continues to hem and haw on giving Michael an answer about moving in with him, he tells her that he wants to be with someone who knows they want to be with him. Simone tells Michael that she wants that for him too and he is less than pleased with her response.

Back at school, Anna asks Simone why she hasn’t spoken to her in two weeks and Simone responds that she, “can’t do this.” Anna tells her that they aren’t doing anything wrong. Mother Immaculata notices them and watches through the window in the classroom door. Simone repeats that she can’t do this and Anna leaves. Mother Immaculata asks Simone if something is wrong and she denies it. Simone’s aunt tells her that she’d like to think that if anything were wrong, or if Simone needed anything, she would ask. Simone tells her aunt that she doesn’t need anything.

fightCat continues to harass Anna about Simone and Anna tells her that she’s sick of Cat’s smart-ass comments. Cat continues with her needling and a fist fight ensues, which Simone breaks up. She tells Anna to see the nurse, but Anna refuses. Anna storms out of the room and Simone follows, but Anna angrily tells Simone not to touch her.

Later, Anna walks into the school dance and sees Simone dancing with Michael and she turns around and leaves. Cat’s brother finds Anna outside smoking and she returns to the dorm and grabs her guitar and the lyrics to a song she wrote, puts on her prayer beads and returns to the dance. Anna gives Simone some meaningful looks, while she sings the song she wrote. Simone listens for a while, but then goes outside.

kissAnna follows Simone and the two kiss and then head back to Simone’s room, where they have sex.

The next morning, at breakfast, Collins wonders aloud where Anna was, since she didn’t spend the night in their room. Cat tells the other girls that she was probably with Simone, but Kristen immediately rejects the idea. Collins says she doesn’t care if they’re together, because she likes them both. Cat goes over to Mother Immaculata’s table and tells her that she’s concerned about Simone and Annabelle.

When Simone realizes they  have overslept, she wakes Anna in a panic, but Mother Immaculata arrives while they are still getting dressed. Mother Immaculata demands to see Simone in her office, “right now.” Simone tells Anna to leave.

beads2Mother Immaculata asks Simone how she could let something like this happen. Simone tells her that she’s not saying what she did was right and that she doesn’t expect her aunt to understand, but she loves Anna. Some sort of police or government officials or something arrive and escort Simone from the building. Anna spots the government cars outside and rushes to the school, where she runs up to Simone and hands her, her prayer beads. The other students stare at Anna as she walks back to her dorm.

Anna returns to Simone’s room and looks at the photos Simone took of her at the beach, while Simone fingers the prayer beads Anna gave her in the car. The film ends with the quote:

“For one human being to love another; That is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks…The work for which all other work is but preparation. -Rainer Maria Rilke.”

Loving Annabelle Commentary (Spoilers):

I’m neither a fan of May-December romances nor of student-teacher romances, so I didn’t go into Loving Annabelle with particularly high expectations. Nevertheless, I found myself actually enjoying the movie.

I thought the film tackled its controversial subject thoughtfully and for the most part tastefully. My one point of contention with the film is that, at least by the quote at the end and by the alternate ending on the DVD, where Simone doesn’t face any charges and it is implied that she and Anna continue their “romance,” is the idea that this story is some sort of great romance.

We have Simone, who’s first love committed suicide (because all movie lesbians are required to have at least one dead girlfriend by the age of 35), attempting to live the heterosexual lifestyle with her boyfriend Michael. However, instead of doing something sensible like teaching at a normal school or at least living off-campus, she continues to teach at an all-girl school and live in the dorms, so she is surrounded by temptation at all times. Perhaps the school reminds her of happier times with Amanda. Maybe she thought immersing herself in Catholic dogma, with her strict aunt as overseer would keep her on the straight and narrow. Or perhaps, Anna isn’t the first obsessed teenager Simone “gave in to.” Whatever the explanation, I can’t help but think that if Simone had been pursing a healthy relationship with an adult woman, instead of suppressing her homosexual desires, perhaps she wouldn’t have found Anna so appealing. While, I don’t doubt Simone felt genuine affection and empathy for Anna, I’m skeptical that her attraction was as much “love” as it was lust, mixed with a  healthy dose of unresolved issues with her dead ex and exacerbated by her attempts to deny her true sexuality.

Annabelle, on the other hand, is 17. At that age, everyone thinks every relationship is “the one.” She’s obviously infatuated with Simone, but she doesn’t seem to pause to consider the potential serious consequences pursuing a relationship with Simone could have for Simone at any point. That doesn’t suggest love to me either. She seems more like a horny teenager with some mommy issues (another lesbian movie trope). Again, I believe that she does care about Simone, but I don’t think she’s really in love with her.

What I did like about the film is how it presented Simone as conflicted about her own actions. She knows that a relationship with Anna is a bad and morally questionable idea, but she feels drawn to her anyway. She has multiple chances to get herself out of the situation….she could have moved out of the dorm. She could have confessed her conflict to her aunt, etc., but she doesn’t take any of them. In the end, she does what she knows she shouldn’t but wants anyway, because the heart (and some other body parts) wants what the heart wants.

The movie also briefly touches on some other lesbian and teenagery issues, but doesn’t really dwell on them. Collins, who actually ended up being my favorite character in the movie, is the victim of constant bullying by Cat and she is also a cutter. Cat is possibly an asshole because of her shitty and neglectful parents. Kristen has already been held back once and is still struggling with her academics. None of that gets much attention.

Cat’s maybe lesbian, maybe bisexual, maybe experimenting straight-girl status plays a larger role in the film. Cat presents as a bit of a tomboy/soft butch type and seems to have a bad case of ADS, but she’s either not ready to claim the lesbian label or she’s just a butchy bisexual/bicurious girl with a bad attitude. Either way, her attempt to romance Anna results in the classic lesbian/bisexual conflict of “is she really into me or does she just want to get her kicks and then hop back on a dick.” Personally, I think Cat actually liked Anna, but was too afraid to just come out and say it and I think Anna was just not really into Cat and was mostly being a jerk with her “I don’t want to be your science-experiment” rebuff. The end result was, Cat felt angry and rejected and decided to get her revenge by telling Mother Immaculata about Anna’s relationship with Simone, which was probably actually the right thing to do, but I doubt her motivation was actual concern for Anna.

It all adds up to a film that isn’t perfect, but that is enjoyable and gives you something to think about. Thumbs up to those of you out there who had this one on your “best of” list.


Dirty Dancing – 100 Best Chick Flicks


The first movie up on my list of 100 Best Chick Flicks is Dirty Dancing. Dirty Dancing is also on my list of the 100 Best Coming of Age Films.

Dirty Dancing Plot Summary (Spoilers):

kellermansDirty Dancing begins, as you might expect, with a bunch of people dancing. The scene shifts to a family, riding somewhere in their car. A girl, named Baby, played by Jennifer Grey, provides a voiceover in which she declares it is the summer of 1963. The family is on their way to a resort called Kellerman’s.

Shortly after arrival, the family heads over to the gazebo for a Merengue class, taught by a former Rockette. That evening, Baby heads up to the main house, where she eavesdrops on Mr. Kellerman telling the wait staff to make sure they show all the daughters, even the dogs, a good time. The entertainment staff, lead by Johnny Castle, played by Patrick Swayze, enters the room. Johnny makes a snarky remark and Mr. Kellerman tells him that the entertainment staff’s job is to dance with the daughters, but to otherwise keep their hands off them.

At dinner, a medical student named Robbie Gould, is assigned to wait on Baby’s table. Robbie flirts with Baby’s sister Lisa. Mr. Kellerman fixes Baby up with his nephew Neil, who is studying hotel management. Lisa spends the evening with Robbie, while Baby ends up with Neil. When Johnny and Penny, the Rockette from the Merengue class, show up to show off the mambo, Baby is quite taken with them.

Baby’s father volunteers her to assist Neil in running the games for the night and she ends up being the girl getting sawed in half in the magic show. While walking up an outside path, Baby runs across Johnny making out with one of the resort guests. He promises to try to meet the woman later and then sneaks off through the woods and Baby follows him.

She runs across Johnny’s cousin Billy, who also works at the resort, carrying watermelons up to a party in the staff quarters. Baby tries to help him with the watermelons, but he tells her guests aren’t allowed. However, he reconsiders and allows Baby to tote one of his watermelons up to the party.

watermelonsBaby stares, with her mouth hanging open, as she watches a number of young people dancing suggestively with each other. Johnny and Penny arrive and begin dancing together. Baby comments that they “look great together,” and Billy agrees, remarking that “you’d think they were a couple.” He goes on to clarify that they used to date when they were kids, but aren’t together anymore.

dirty-dancingJohnny spots Baby and asks his cousin what she is doing there. Billy proudly proclaims, “she’s with me,” but Baby interjects that she, “carried a watermelon,” much to Billy and her own horror. Johnny pulls Baby out on the dance floor and teaches her a few dance moves. He dances with her for a while and then wanders off.

The next day, Robbie continues to flirt with Lisa and Lisa asks Baby to cover for her, while she is out with Robbie that night. Baby tells Penny that she’s a wonderful dancer and that she envies her. Penny says her mom kicked her out when she was 16 and she’s been dancing ever since.

bungalow-bunnyThat evening, Baby watches Johnny dancing with an older woman named Vivian at the pavilion. Mr. Kellerman gossips with her father, telling him that Vivian is one of the “bungalow bunnies,” a group of women who stay at the resort all week, while their husbands are away on business. Neil interrupts and demands to know where Penny is. Johnny tells him that she’s taking a break.

Neil gathers up Baby and tells her to come walk with him. Baby tries to come up with an excuse to get away from him, but he is oblivious and assures her that he is the “catch of the county.” Baby spots her sister limping, adjusting her clothing and demanding an apology from Robbie. Robbie tells her to go back to mommy and daddy and maybe she’ll hear one in her dreams.

Neil takes Baby up to the kitchen to get something to eat and she spots Penny sitting on the floor, against the wall, crying. Baby tells Neil that she needs to go check on her sister and they return to the pavilion. Baby tells Billy about Penny and Billy tells Johnny and the three of them rush back to the kitchen.

Along the way, Baby asks what’s wrong with Penny and Billy tells her that she’s “knocked up.” Baby asks what Johnny is going to do about it and he is angry that she assumes the baby is his. Johnny tries to comfort Penny and then carries her to some sort of dressing room, where he scolds her for not coming to him for help. Penny tells him that she didn’t want to take the rest of his salary and it wouldn’t be enough anyway.

When Penny learns that Billy told Baby that she is pregnant, she fears Baby will tell Neil that she got knocked up by Robbie and they will all get fired. Baby is shocked to hear that Robbie is the father. Billy explains to Baby that there is a doctor that will be in town for one night that could perform an abortion for $250. Baby assures Penny that Robbie has the money, but Penny tells her that Robbie already knows about the baby and he isn’t going to pay for anything. She tells Baby to “go back to your playpen.”

Baby tries to shake Robbie down for the money, but he tells her that he’s not going to spend his money bailing out a chick who has probably slept with every guy in the place. He then tells her that “some people count and some don’t” and hands her a copy of The Fountainhead. Baby tells Robbie he makes her sick and commands him to stay away from her and her sister, or she’s going to get him fired. She then pours a pitcher of water on him and leaves.

Baby tells her father that someone is in trouble and she needs to borrow $250 to help them out, but she can’t tell him what for. She assures her father that it’s not illegal and he agrees to give her the money. That night, Baby hands Penny the money and Penny is ecstatic, thinking Baby convinced Robbie to come through, but Baby tells her that she was right that Robbie wouldn’t help. When Penny asks where Baby got the money, Johnny snarkily remarks that, “it takes a real saint to ask daddy,” and Penny refuses the money. Johnny urges Penny to take the money. Billy explains to Baby that he could only get an appointment for Thursday and that’s the day she and Johnny have to perform at the Sheldrake, otherwise they lose their money for the whole season. Baby asks if someone else can’t fill in and Johnny explains that the other dancers all have to work. Billy suggests that perhaps Baby could fill in and Johnny vetoes it, but Penny tells him that he’s a strong partner and he could teach anyone.

boot-campThe scene shifts to Johnny trying to teach Baby the mambo. Johnny and Penny put Baby through a dance boot camp and she makes a lot of progress, but Johnny is still frustrated that she isn’t progressing as fast as he’d like. When Johnny makes a snarky comment to Baby, she fires back that the performance is in two days, he won’t teach her lifts, she’s not sure of turns and she’s doing all this to save his ass, when all she really wants to do is drop him on it. Johnny decides they need a change of venue.

liftJohnny takes Baby out into the woods and tries to teach her the lift on a log over a creek, saying that the most important thing about lifts is balance. After dancing on the log and then practicing the lift in a field, Johnny decides to move to the lake, where Baby appears to be making some progress.

The night of the show, Penny is helping Baby get fitted for her costume and she thanks her and tells her that she wants her to know that she doesn’t sleep around and that she thought Robbie loved her. She also confides that she is scared and Baby assures her that everything will be fine.

Baby asks Lisa to cover for her with their parents and Lisa refuses, saying she’s going to tell their parents that Baby has been coming and going at all hours and there’s something “fishy” about it. Baby threatens to tell her parents that Lisa left her alone when they were out-of-town, to spend the weekend with a boy, even though that isn’t the truth, and that they’ll believe her, because she never lies.

Baby makes a few mistakes and doesn’t do the lift, but overall, the performance at the Sheldrake goes well and Johnny is pleased with it, telling her that she did a good job. They thought they were caught when an older couple from the resort showed up in the audience at the Sheldrake, but they didn’t seem to notice them.

When they get back to Kellerman’s they discover Penny in a great deal of pain. Billy tells them that the doctor didn’t even use any anesthetic and had a dirty knife and a folding table. He tried to get in to stop the procedure, but the door was locked and he could hear Penny screaming in the hall. Baby rushes off to get her father, who is a doctor.

Baby’s father takes care of Penny, but gives Johnny the cold shoulder when he tries to thank him, before taking Baby back to their suit. Baby’s father demands to know if that’s what his money paid for. Baby apologizes for lying to him, but he is angry. He tells Baby that she’s not the person he thought she was and forbids her to ever see “those people” again.

sexy-timesBaby ignores his command and goes to see Johnny in his room that night. She apologizes to him for the way her father treated him. Johnny says it’s OK and that people treat him like he’s nothing, because he is nothing. Baby tells him that isn’t true. Johnny praises Baby for thinking she can make the world better and says she’s not scared of anything. Baby tells him she’s scared of everything, but most of all, she’s afraid she’ll never feel again the way she feels when she’s with Johnny. The two dance briefly, and then have sex.

The next day, Baby tells her sister that she wouldn’t really have lied to their parents, but Lisa isn’t convinced and tells Baby that she used to admire her. The family has an awkward breakfast together. When Neil asks if everyone is going to be in the end of season show, Baby’s father tells him they have decided to leave early to miss the weekend traffic, even though they are paid up through Sunday. Lisa protests, saying she was going to sing in the show and Baby’s father changes his mind and decides to stay.

Baby goes to see Penny and Johnny shows up. Penny tells them that Baby’s father said she’s going to be fine and she can still have children. Penny figures out, from the way Baby and Johnny are acting, that they are having sex and asks Johnny what he’s doing. After all, he has told her a million times never to get mixed up with “them.” Johnny assures Penny that he knows what he’s doing, but she tells him that he has to “stop it now.”

Johnny doesn’t listen and continues his relationship with Baby. After having sex, Baby asks him if he’s “had many women.” Johnny explains to her that the women at the resort are always throwing themselves at him and at first, he thought it was because they actually cared about him, but eventually he realized they were just using him. He then asks Baby what her real name is and she tells him, “Francis,” which he declares is a real grown-up name.

That night, Lisa tells Baby that she plans to have sex with Robbie. Baby tells her, her first time shouldn’t be with someone like Robbie, it should be with someone she loves. Lisa tells Baby that she doesn’t really care about her. She thinks Baby is just jealous, because she’s not daddy’s girl anymore and he actually listens when Lisa talks now.

sylviaNeil interrupts Baby and Johnny in the dance studio, but thinks she’s just taking lessons. Neil tells Johnny that he’s in charge of the final show and he wants to do something different and more progressive for the final dance. Johnny gets excited and tells him he has a lot of ideas, but Neil condescendingly tells him he’s out of his depth and that his brilliant idea for the final dance is to do the Pachanga instead of the Mambo. When Johnny is obviously not impressed, Neil threatens to find another “dance person” next season and Johnny assures Neil that the Pachanga is a “great idea.” Neil leaves, advising Baby to make sure she gets the full half hour she’s paying for.

fight-harderWhen Johnny rants to Baby about Neil and his idea, Baby scolds him for letting Neil talk to him that way and suggests that he should “fight harder.” Johnny tells her that these people are rich and they’re mean and he needs this job lined up for next summer. When Baby hides, when she spots her father walking with Robbie and Lisa, Johnny accuses her of being a hypocrite. She assures him that she plans to tell her father about their relationship, but he doesn’t believe her.

slummingBaby goes to Penny’s cabin to find Johnny. When Robbie spots the two of them kissing on Penny’s front porch, he accuses Baby of “going slumming,” but says it’s OK, because he went slumming too. Johnny leaps off the porch and attacks Robbie, knocking him to the ground, but eventually lets up, saying that he’s not worth it.

Vivian propositions Johnny at the practice run for the final show. Her husband offers Johnny a wad of cash to give his wife some “extra dance lessons,” during his all night card game. Johnny refuses the money, saying he is booked up all weekend and Vivian looks stunned as he walks away.

That night, Lisa heads to the staff quarters to surprise Robbie with the news that tonight is the night they’re going to get it on. However, she discovers he is already occupied, with Vivian.

The next morning, Johnny tells Baby that he dreamt that he met her father and he put his arm around him, just like he did with Robbie. While leaving Robbie’s cabin, Vivian spots Johnny kissing Baby outside his room and she does not look pleased.

At breakfast, Mr. Kellerman tells Baby’s father that Vivian’s husband’s wallet was stolen while he was playing cards last night and Vivian told him that she saw Johnny walking by and she thinks he took it. Johnny claimed he was alone in his room reading, but Mr. Kellerman didn’t believe him. Neil adds that there have been similar thefts at the Sheldrake. Baby insists that Johnny didn’t do it and tries to convince her father, but he no longer trusts her word. She suggests maybe the Schumachers did it, because she saw them with a couple of wallets and they were also at the Sheldrake, but Baby’s father admonishes her for accusing them without proof. When Mr. Kellerman tells Neil to come with him, so he can learn how to fire an employee, Baby tells him that she knows Johnny was in his room all night, because she was with him.

Baby apologizes to her father for lying to him, but tells him that he lied to her also. She accuses him of telling her that everyone is the same and deserves a fair chance, but then treating people who weren’t just like him differently. She tells her father that she’s sorry she let him down, but that he let her down too and then rushes off in tears.

Johnny tracks Baby down and tells her that they caught and arrested the Schumachers for the wallet thefts, but that he was fired anyway, because of his relationship with Baby. Baby rants that it was all for nothing, and that Johnny was right that you can’t win, no matter what you do. Johnny tells her that it wasn’t for nothing, that no one has ever stood up for him the way she did and that he doesn’t want to hear her talk that way.

Johnny goes to talk to Baby’s father and tries to tell him how wonderful Baby is, but her father won’t listen. He tells Johnny that he sees someone who got his partner in trouble and then moved on to an innocent young girl. Johnny tells him, “I guess that’s what you would see,” and storms off.

Johnny packs up his things and says his goodbyes to Penny and Baby. He tells Baby he’ll never be sorry and she agrees. They kiss and he drives away.

Lisa tries to comfort her sister and the two appear to make up. However, Baby’s father continues to give her the cold shoulder. At the final show, Baby’s father hands Robbie a letter of recommendation for medical school. Thinking Baby has already told him, Robbie thanks him for helping out with the “Penny situation,” and then tries to back pedal, saying he can’t be sure the baby was even his, after all a girl like that is liable to pin it on anyone. Baby’s father grabs the letter away from Robbie and returns to his table.

Johnny shows up and spotting Baby sitting in the corner at her table, marches over, announces that “nobody puts Baby in a corner,” grabs Baby’s hand and leads her away from the table. Her father starts to pursue them, but her mother stops him.

Johnny leads Baby up on stage and then tells the crowd that he always does the last dance of the season, but this year, someone told him not to, so he’s going to do his kind of dancing with a great partner. He tells them Baby taught him that there are people in the world who are willing to stand up for others, no matter what it costs them and that’s the kind of person he wants to be. Meanwhile, Baby’s father is steaming at his table, but when he starts to stand up, Baby’s mother tells him to sit down.

lift-completedBilly puts “I’ve Had the Time of my Life” on the record player and Johnny and Baby proceed to dance. Baby’s mother and sister watch on, admiringly, and her mother tells her father that she thinks, “she gets it from me.” Johnny leaps off the stage and dances his way up the aisle and gets the rest of the staff to join him as he dances his way back towards the stage. He motions to Baby and she nods and then proceeds to do the lift she was unable to attempt at the Sheldrake.

The staff begins to pull the crowd into the dance and even Neil gets into it. Mr. Kellerman begins to see this new style of dancing as a way to attract a younger crowd to his resort. Baby’s father approaches Johnny and tells him that he knows he wasn’t the one that got Penny in trouble and that when he’s wrong he says he’s wrong. He then tells Baby that she looked wonderful up there and the two embrace.

Everyone gets into the dancing, including Mr. Kellerman and Baby’s parents. Johnny mouths the words of the song to Baby, before kissing her and then resuming the dancing and the film ends.

Dirty Dancing Commentary(Spoilers):

I was in the 8th grade when this movie was originally released. The movie was a huge hit with my classmates and I’ve Had the Time of my Life was even the theme of our 8th grade dance. “Nobody puts Baby in a corner,” became the girl power catchphrase of the year.

I loved the movie as much as my classmates, but probably not for exactly the same reasons. I didn’t really care much about the romance aspect of the story, but I was fascinated with the movie all the same.

It was probably Baby’s desire to break out of her good girl mold that spoke to me the most. I didn’t have Baby’s ambitions to change the world back then, but I was definitely the smart, obedient child, who got good grades and never got in trouble, up until my high school years.

I didn’t become a wild child or anything, but I did engage in some minor mischief (prank phone calls, hitching rides, ditching class, etc.) and my parents pretty much flipped out about it and I went from that good kid, who my parents trusted, to the bad seed who suddenly wasn’t the person they thought I was and it wasn’t much fun and they didn’t even know about the “worst” stuff.

In spite of all that, I do kind of feel like Baby’s father gets an undeserved bad rap in this film. Sure, he was a bit uptight and the fact that Johnny was a working class member of the entertainment staff, while Robbie was a wealthy pre-med, student likely played into his initial attitudes about the two of them. But, I think he did have some legitimate beefs. Baby did lie to him. She used his money to fund an illegal and dangerous back-alley, abortion. She was sneaking around behind his back to carry on her relationship with Johnny and while I don’t think Johnny was supposed to be as old as Swayze was, he was still at least in his mid-twenties or so, while she was 17, so there was a significant age and experience gap involved, that I think her father might reasonably be concerned about.

However, in an ideal world, it would have been nice if her father had listened to her and her reasons for doing what she did, instead of just freaking out, because his perfect, innocent daughter, turned out to be a horny teenager, just like everyone else’s 17-year-old.

That’s the part of the movie that I think most of us can identify with on some level. We were all teens once, dealing with our parents expectations and our own struggle to transition from childhood to adulthood and all the crazy, confusing stuff that goes along with it.

The movie also tackles class issues. Mr. Kellerman, Neil, Robbie and likely many of the guests, treat the “entertainment staff” like second-class citizens. It’s OK for the bungalow bunnies to treat the men like prostitutes, and the wait-staff to bone the daughters, but it’s off-limits for the entertainment staff to have any sort of meaningful relationship with any of the wealthy guests.

I think it’s perfectly legitimate for Kellerman’s to have a policy against employees fraternizing with the guests. However, the double standard between the instructions given to the rich, college boys in the wait staff and the entertainment staff is difficult to condone.

The end of the movie is mostly pure fantasy. Johnny wins over all the snobby rich people through the power of dance and everyone makes up and presumably lives happily ever after. I think it’s more likely that Mr. Kellerman would have called the police to haul Johnny out of there and while I can see Baby’s father easing up on Johnny a bit, once he realized it was golden-boy Robbie and not Johnny who impregnated Penny, I doubt he’d actually want him dating his daughter. The movie ending is more fun though.

On a shallow note, I have to admit that I’ve always found the scene where Baby dances with Penny to be kind of hot.