Family Movie Night


By Karyn Bowman


Our weeks get so intense with activities and meetings that I have only one program that is appointment TV.


It is filled with romance, great costumes and beautiful people. There are graceful moves and a whole lot of fun.


I am talking about Dancing With The Stars which airs on Monday nights in which a ‘star’ of some sort dances with a professional dancer and the audience votes on who danced best. Tuesday nights features the “results” show in which the dancers’ scores from the judges and audience’s votes are combined to determine which couple is going home that night.


We love it at our house. OK, my daughter and I love it. The boys will watch if one of the men is someone they recognize, such as Rashon who is from one of the Disney Channel shows.


Shall We Dance 1995 Poster Image from

My theory as to why we are thrilled with ballroom dance starts with the original Shall We Dance (1996) from Japan about an accountant who feels something is missing from his life and takes ballroom dance lessons in secret. This was re-made in 2004 starring Richard Gere as the unhappy man.


I remember a review by Richard Roper who could not believe a man as handsome or successful of Gere’s character could feel such sadness. And yet that is addressed in this movie as well. Gere’s character feels guilt for his sadness because he has so much. He only feels real joy when he finally shares what makes him joyful.


In the meantime we are treated to wonderful scenes of dance as Gere takes lessons from the dance studio where Jennifer Lopez works, trying to forget her sorrow. This is a movie for girls’ night or a couple’s night in, partially because some of the dances are steamy and partially because kids are going to be bored by a grown-up’s depression.


Now there are a lot of dance movies meant for kids. The younger ones have all of those High School Musical movies. And there are the Camp Rock movies that are on Disney as well. Those are fun and do the usual “poor us against rich them” type of storyline.


Poster Image from

For high school students, there is a fun ballroom dance movie starring Antonio Banderas as a dance teacher who volunteer at a high school to help kids build their self esteem. Take The Lead (2006) has a lot going right for it, including a dance number in which one girl is shown in a battle between her boyfriend and her dance partner.

This is one of those movies that might be trite at points but I really enjoy watching it and remembering how a good teacher can be a lifeline to a good kid caught in a bad situation.


But if you want to see ballroom dancing filled with sepia tones, you need to find a copy of a Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movie. The dancing team made ten movies together and perhaps the best of these is Top Hat (1935). It is said that Ginger did everything that Fred did but backwards and in heels. That might be true but I remember how her dresses would beautifully flair out as she moved. Other movies to catch of this pair are Shall We Dance (1935) and The Gay Divorcee (1934).


Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.