Baz Luhrman is a genius. A post-modernist genius. I like post-modernism. Don’t know what that is? Moe Szyslak calls it “Weird for the sake of weird.” But I’d call it material that references earlier art, but creates its own meaning out of it. What I like about Baz Luhrman’s post-modernism is that it’s not just weird for the sake of weird. It IS weird, but it’s also got a purpose. What does all this have to do with a grown-up movie for kids? Well, today’s movie is Strictly Ballroom, a very strange film indeed, but one that is surprisingly kid-friendly
Let’s go over the things that scare people off of showing their kids a grown-up movie: sex, swearing, and violence. None, almost none, and none. And, let’s go over things that we’ve established that The Boy likes: sports movies where you root for an underdog and there’s a big victory scene at the end. Sure, it’s ballroom dancing, or “dance sport” as it’s called in the movie, and not a traditional sport, but hey, it’s the same themes, right? Here you have a guy who wants to win, but do it his own way. He has integrity and he has mad dancing skills.
The Girl actually liked this movie too, I think because it’s so visually stimulating. I mean, there’s people in really brightly colored clothing moving around a lot in practically every scene. And the female lead in this movie is no push over either. She’s not fearless, but she is brave, and she goes after what she wants, and gets it in the end.
I also love that this movie, like Secretariat and Rudy, is to some extent about the underdog, the outcast, the geeky/housewife/little guy/outsider, sticking it to the asshole jocks/popular kids/meanies. Kids eat that shit up, man, and it’s a lesson we all want them to learn: when you see someone being treated unfairly, stick up for them. Give them a hand up. And then maybe spin them around the dance floor while you’re at it.