Arts & Culture

Jewish Movie Week: To Babs And Baby, Thanks For Everything

An appreciation for Jennifer Grey and Barbra Streisand. Read More

By / December 5, 2011

Tablet listed both Dirty Dancing (No. 91) and The Way We Were (No. 77) in the first round of their 100 Greatest Jewish Films list, and I can’t think of two films that deserve to be mentioned together more.

I went through a heavy Baby phase when I was around eight-years-old; all because of a film my father had called a “girls movie,” in an attempt to provoke me into not watching it with my mom and sister.  While I’m still unsure what my father imagined would ultimately happen if my impressionable mind saw people dancing dirty on Dirty Dancing, watching the movie actually did have a profound effect on me by showing me that men could be manly without falling back on classic macho posturing by choosing instead to put on a black tank top and dance.  That, and Jennifer Grey was the first woman who ever gave me what my doctor called “special feelings.”  Jennifer Grey was the first girl that didn’t gross me out or frighten me, and no nose job on Earth will ever take that away from me.

Barbra Streisand, on the other hand, has (for lack of a better term) always kept it real as a motherfucker.  I spent most of my childhood looking at my Nana’s collection of old 8-track tapes that she never used, but was too filled with nostalgia to throw out, and thinking to myself how bland and boring Barbra Streisand seemed.  It was until I was 19-years-old, sick with the flu, and doped up on Nyquil and antibiotics, when I finally had the revelation that millions of other people have had before me: Barbra Streisand is incredible. This revelation finally came to me as I watched The Way We Were, and cried my eyes out thanks to a combination of high fever and the final scene, which is possibly the greatest of any romantic drama ever.