Out of the Corner: A Memoir Book Review

From an audience perspective, it would appear that both starring in a blockbuster movie and coming from a respected performing family guarantees success in Hollywood. Anyone who knows the truth would say otherwise.

Out of the Corner: A Memoir, by Dirty Dancing actress Jennifer Grey, was published last month. Grey is Jewish acting royalty. Her paternal grandfather, Mickey Katz was one of the most famous comedians and musicians of his day. Her parents, Joel Grey (of Cabaret fame)and Jo Wilder followed in her grandfather’s footsteps. Raised in both New York City and Los Angeles, she rose to fame in Dirty Dancing, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and other 1980s classics.

The reader is taken on an emotional journey through her early years, the ups and downs of her personal and private life, and finally, her finding peace with her identity.

This book is amazing. Grey’s tale is emotional, human, honest, and goes straight to the heart. She leaves no stone unturned, revealing her flaws, her mistakes, and the various heartaches that came her way. Within the narrative, there were two stories that stood out. The first was her father publicly coming out almost a decade ago after spending a lifetime in the closet. The second is her wish to speak to co-star Patrick Swayze one last time. It is a heartfelt wish that I think that anyone who has lost a loved one will understand.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was on a “best of” list come the end of the year. It is one of my favorite books of 2022.

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Life Moves Pretty Fast: The Lessons We Learned from Eighties Movies (and Why We Don’t Learn Them from Movies Anymore) Book Review

Every decade has its iconic films. They speak to who we are in the moment, where we have been, and where we might go in the future.

Life Moves Pretty Fast: The Lessons We Learned from Eighties Movies (and Why We Don’t Learn Them from Movies Anymore), by Hadley Freeman, was published in 2016. Freeman explores the tropes, narratives, and character arcs that dominated the era and its iconic movies. Speaking of such films as Pretty in Pink, Ghostbusters, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Coming to America, The Breakfast Club, etc, the reader is given the perspective as both a fan and a critic.

The thing I did not realize (or forgot) is that some of these movies are full of racism, sexism, and homophobia. It’s not surprising, given some of the cultural attitudes back in the day. I also did not recognize until I read the book that Hollywood was more progressive in the 80s (well to a certain point) than it claims to be now. There was more latitude (depending on the specific IP) given to women and minorities to grow beyond the stereotypes and expected storyline.

Writing with love, respect, and an equally critical eye, Freeman provides the reader with both a modern lens and how audiences responded to the films when they were initially released.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Life Moves Pretty Fast: The Lessons We Learned from Eighties Movies (and Why We Don’t Learn Them from Movies Anymore) is available wherever books are sold.

Flashback Friday-1980’s Edition-Parents Just Don’t Understand-Footloose and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

In 1988, Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff broke into the music scene with Parents Just Don’t Understand. Which is the theme of this Flashback Friday post.

Footloose (1984)

Ren (Kevin Bacon) has moved from Chicago to small town America. Rock music and dancing have been banned. While the town preacher, Rev Shaw Moore (John Lithgow) continues to preach against rock music and dancing, his teenage daughter Ariel (Lori Singer) is rebelling against her father and constrictions placed on her.  With prom coming up quick, Ren and his classmates have to stand up for themselves against the adults in town in favor of the prom they desperately desire.

This movie is an out and out classic. It’s the perfect teenage rebellion movie, coupled with one of the best soundtracks ever. There was a reboot in 2011, but it doesn’t quite stand up to the original.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) does not want to go school today. He devises a plan to avoid his parents and the school principal, Mr. Rooney (Jeffrey Jones), who is eager to catch Ferris in the act of cutting class. With his girlfriend Sloane (Mia Sara) and his best friend Cameron (Alan Ruck), they head to Chicago for a day of fun and adventure.

This is a 1980’s John Hughes directed teenage movie. It is nearly 30 years old and as perfect a teenage movie as it was when it premiered in 1986.  And did I mentioned that the parade scene where Ferris sings Twist and Shout is awesome?

I recommend both movies.

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