After a long week at The Day Job, Cinecultist was in serious need of some cinematic silliness and thus Friday night took in a screening of Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights with our friend Lisa. After seeing The Best Movie of 2004 with Lis a month or so ago, it was hard to imagine we could enjoy Havana Nights as much as Chasing Liberty, (and when we say "enjoy," we mean "laugh our asses off at") but we did. Between the appearance of Patrick Swayze, the smarmy good evilness of Jonathan Jackson (Lucky, son of Luke and Laura from Days of Our Lives!) and the oddly modern '50s Cuban pop music sung by Mya, this is a classic in the making. A classic train-wreck that is.
Romola Garai stars as Katie Miller, a do-gooder over achiever who moves to Cuba with her family right before THE CUBAN REVOLUTION (caps intended to convey the gravitas the movie tries to grant this political upheaval in the midst of dirty dancing in cute costumes). They move into a fancy hotel where she tries to blend in with the pool lounging richies but is more drawn to the street music and the sweaty delight of Diego Luna (the slightly less hot one from Y Tu Mama Tambien). The Swayzack makes his appearance as the phenomenally well-preserved dancing instructor in the hotel who teaches Katie to feel the music, and there is no moment when he's on screen that Cinecultist wasn't totally creeped out. The man has been bathing in formaldehyde and while he seemed to be knowingly mocking himself in Donnie Darko, here he's trying to play it straight. There's nothing like a former beef cake sex symbol swirling an awkward ingenue around the dance floor to induce the snickering.
And boy did the snickering spread through the audience as the film began to wind down to its inevitably tragic conclusion. Their love may be over, but they'll always have those Havana nights, etc etc. CC might like to think that it was our irony that rose the audience's consciousness but really the dialogue in the last 20 minutes is so horrid, it would make the most dedicated Dirty Dancing fan roll their eyes. Best moment during the screening? When a particularly cheesy and yet quiet moment enabled the entire theater to hear the audible *thwack* of Lisa smacking her head in disbelief. Havana Nights -- so best.Posted by karen at March 8, 2004 8:08 AM