June 9, 2021

Midweek Mention... Strictly Ballroom

Midweek Mention... Strictly Ballroom
Apple Podcasts podcast player badge
Spotify podcast player badge
Google Podcasts podcast player badge
Amazon Music podcast player badge
Overcast podcast player badge
Castro podcast player badge
Stitcher podcast player badge
iHeartRadio podcast player badge
PocketCasts podcast player badge
Castbox podcast player badge
Podchaser podcast player badge
TuneIn podcast player badge
Deezer podcast player badge
YouTube podcast player badge
RSS Feed podcast player badge

A prolonged vicious online bullying campaign has led us to this point. 

We we encouraged to watch Strictly Ballroom, Baz Luhrmann's 1992 dance based comedy romance debut.

These are our findings....



Strictly Ballroom


Reegs:A listener has been haranguing us.

Sidey:It's been a continued bullying campaign.


Yeah. To watch strictly ballroom.

Sidey:Should we out this listener?


Reegs:IMC. thanks. Fine, Z.


Dan:we did it.

Reegs:We did watch it. Yeah. Did everyone watch

Sidey:it? Yeah. Yeah.

Reegs:Good, good. Well, That's a good start.

Sidey:I, I was quite up for it because I am also a fan of strictly come dancing.

So I was okay with the, concept of watching a film about dancing was okay with me.

Pete:Did this start from our top five dance scenes or was it yeah,

Reegs:this predates that

Yeah. I picked up a lot of momentum around the time we reviewed Muriel's wedding.  uh

Sidey:Is in effect.

Reegs:well It's also top gun as well. If you want to, you know, so

Sidey:I've never seen top gun. So you have to break that down for me.



Dan:That's a


Sidey:I started watching it turned off. Cause it's complete shot.

Dan:Okay, you're wrong, but


Reegs:Where are you on the dancing like enjoyment spectrum to beat, to begin with?

Is it an art

Dan:enjoy your dancers as much as the next guy, I

Reegs:do you watch all the strictly

ballroom and all

Dan:I'm not really into the, that side of dancing things, but I've watched it when we were dancing before and it done well. Then I can enjoy them.

Reegs:Then you pay

where are you


like, not necessarily films where dancing is like the main feature. So Saturday night fever is a brilliant film and dancing is very prominent in that, but it's not the only thing.

There are other things that are going on as well. Other than that, I can't really think of any.

Reegs:No I tend

Pete:yeah. Yeah.

Reegs:I mean, I sort of actively dislike it really.

I don't like the pageantry and I mean, I wouldn't like. Good. Everybody's having fun and all that, but for me, it's just a, it's a solid no, on all of it. and I don't even find dancing as an art


I feel like I should feel like it's like martial arts, but often it's not.

Sidey:I very rarely in fact, does anyone get kicked in the face?


Yes. They try to avoid that.

but you know what I mean.

Well, I don't know. Just the how and an impressive fight sequence. I feel like dance as

Sidey:immediate choreograph



in that choreographed perspective that I should be able to appreciate it. But for some reason, dancers as a medium, is not something I'm particularly into.

Dan:I think it's one of those things as well, that if you're a good dance, so a bad dancer is quite dependent on your own thoughts and choices. Isn't it? What if that you like that dance? You don't like that dance. There's so many different styles. There's obviously ballroom, but there's.

You know, break dancing, there's, you know, Wolters and tons of different dances. So not all of them would really

Reegs:float your

Dan:float my boat

Sidey:Cause it's all silly and glam and it's fun and people are having fun and people said to me, oh yeah, wouldn't you ever try it?

But you know, with the misses, it's one of those things that when it's done well and on that, when it's all glitz and glamour and everyone's great at it, it looks good. I wouldn't want to have a go at myself. The reality of it would be shy, minuses. There's other things like my

Reegs:this is a study of it. Didn't not with me, but

Dan:Yeah, I'd love to. I said to them, I said, look, we should go to it. I'd just as, you know, something fun to do

Reegs:she doesn't want to get, you probably need to have a shave first,

but a shower.

Dan:Right. All that. Yeah. Yeah. I think that's what puts her off,

Sidey:But we said about Euro's wedding and I was struck with this film that is very similar look and feel. I mean, fucking could be just. Same universe, everything about it, the same, some of the same casts.


Reegs:what year was it?

Sidey:this, this is no, this is 92.

Dan:92? That's

Reegs:And the other

thing I wanted to ask is, and I haven't done the research on this, but whether it predated dirty dancing, which is a

film that you could inevitably.

compare it to as

Dan:I think this is after dirty

Sidey:yarns Yeah.

Reegs:All right. Okay, cool. Cool, cool.

This is the story of Scott Hastings who is a ballroom dancer. , we opened the movie with a kind of long establishing shot of lots and lots of people dancing, where we're introduced to

all of the

Crazy characters cause we get Ken,

Sidey:is he the sort of Teddy boyish looking dude, the alcoholic

Reegs:depending on your point of reference he's either the guy in

Sidey:Yes, that's exactly. That's exactly what I thought.

Reegs:I used to sell you See it's all.

for anybody else. He's not

Sidey:Jersey. It's a kind of aged Teddy boy kind of vibe about him.

Reegs:No, I had the very specific

one. Oh, fuck. It's gone. Hang on. It'll come back to me. Carry on with the plot and I'll get it. I'll get it. Cause it was bad. It was perfect. Oh, pit Stringfellow.

Dan:Yeah. Not a million miles off Peter Stringfellow. Ken Izzy.


Yeah. He's he's like a dirty, old drunk. But still a decent dancer and, and the, the dancer that there, that the girls like yearn to be partnered with.

Dan:he's also had that cause you get to know this character without him, it being about him too much, it or in it too much is well-written enough that you, you learn that, you know, he's he's been doing it for years, you know, he's just one of those solid people.

That always turns up to every competition and always gives it his best. And he's always well presented in

Reegs:It's a commitment to a big lifestyle.

though, right? I mean, he's, permatang, He's always got to

keep himself in Nick They're dancing, like, you know it's weird. The scale of this stuff, you're trying to work it out because it seems like they've got all these grandiose titles, but it's really parochial.

Sidey:Yeah. It was the best. It was like a regional kind of thing with the same people competing year after year, but it looks at it.

That's what I like about it. Just how serious they play it. Even though the whole setup is just completely ludicrous. The outfits are insane. The amount of, you know, the makeup, the permit and everything is ludicrous, but they just completely play it straight.



Dan:Well, it is absolutely the biggest thing ever in a small town. I mean, that's, that's what this is. And when we've seen similar films to this like pageants and, and things like that, where. The families and the, and the people that support us so into it, they're so blinkered in what is what is a good move?

What is a bad move? What is disrespectful? What would bring embarrassment on the family or that troop or whatever it is. And, and this touches and all that.


Reegs:he has brought embarrassment on

the family. Dan you've said that And he has, because

he's done his own


got non

Sidey:it's a kind

Reegs:his own flashy

Sidey:kind of montage of him doing the steps.

And then. You know, talking heads of people describing and then the, the shock and, oh my God. And then he gets to his dance partner and she says, well, I was, you know, the man leads and what was I supposed to do? And it sounds like there's huge fucking controversy and all it is, it's just done some steps there you want to,

Dan:steps. So it's not like Footloose has gone out for is, is literally, you wouldn't even know it.

If there wouldn't have been the reaction that he'd done these big steps, but because they're so tight and regulate it on, on what they can do, what is an official step? What isn't, how that gets marked and all the rest of it, then any creativity or individualism is just. Looked at is, this is the worst thing ever.

What the hell was going on?


do a part that's kind of mockumentary type and anybody felt really spinal tap, but set in a different kind of world And I did really enjoy

that section of the movie. I don't,

it was kind of a mishmash of different styles all the way through. So it never really committed to, to just being a

Dan:No it kind of does away with that. And the second part, you get to know the characters and they do kind of talk to the camera a little bit and introduce themselves, and then it just stops us. And

Sidey:It becomes a bit kind of cliche love story

Dan:Yeah, a little bit, a little bit, but I think because basically for me, this is a film about how you need to be yourself and follow your dreams.

And if you think something's right and everybody else is telling you it's wrong, or whatever, stick to your guns, you know, hold your, hold your ground. And. You know, dance your moves. If that's what it is,

Sidey:What's the name of the dad who was in Ariel. I

Dan:it was bill bill in that I think. And I think his name, his real name is bill and is burying this.

Yeah, he's

Sidey:so the plot thickens, because he. He is obviously a manipulating this whole situation and they want Scott to pair up with the brilliantly named Tina, Tina sparkle,

Dan:Tina sparkle. I'm Barry's like the committee head isn't he's their chairman of the dance association

Sidey:Great Wig.


Sidey:And he spends this yarn about how Scott's dad could have won it, but he did all these bogus steps and cost himself the title and his life's been in a sort of spiral ever since.

And he's trying to convince him that he's got to do this. Really know why it mattered to him so much.

Reegs:Well, I, I figured all the way along to be honest that they worked, they shared a history.


Reegs:Cause you see him late at night. There's a terrific sequence actually, where he takes her out on to Coke.

advert. Do you remember that bit?

like on a billboard

Pete:Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. But it's on the roof of the dance studio because

Reegs:is downstairs

Pete:there's a couple of, cause there's like a bit of a montage of, of these guys. I can't remember the girl's name with really badly conditioned hair at the beginning. And like there's a montage of, of her and Scott sort of dancing and learning some sets and stuff.

And whilst they're doing it in the studio, the dad's upstairs like, oh, by the billboard doing it himself. And then when they're on the roof, he's downstairs, but it's totally behind closed doors. And in secret where the only, the audience know that he's obviously has this love of dance as well. And he just practices by himself the whole time. Because the mum is, is absolutely obsessed and hell bent on her son, winning what I thought would be bigger. It's the pan Pacifics, which suggests that this is going to be a competition of, of like ridiculous magnitude. And is in fact just like

Dan:to other towns.

Pete:Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Dan:Well she's also really obsessed with the kind of power and the respect that she holds for Barry in him being all encompassing and what he says goes so.

She also doesn't like Scott's creativity and is trying to well, she, she goes with the stick with what, you know, stick with the traditional steps

Sidey:the steps

Dan:don't get into with any of this silliness.

Sidey:She's she's hell bent. I've gotta be paired up with Tina sparkle and you have this long, last night, so it's not long, but the, the sort of the, the coming together, Fran and Scott and their burgeoning relationship coinciding with their burgeoning dance skills.

Reegs:She does the ultimate transformation

of light taking their glasses

Dan:off the ugly duckling. Wasn't she, you know, she's got bad skin, bad hair and glasses. She takes off the glasses.

Sidey:but her parents, her parents and Scott's parents, she's just not really allowed to go out at all. She has these very controlling parents, but who were also dancers weirdly. Yeah. And he

Reegs:was, I think some con like total dancing legend that guy.


Dan:Oh, that

Reegs:tracking you, giving me as tall as that guys.


Dan:I'll tell you what, there was some really good dancing in this as well, that the lead character and and that

Sidey:he's a, he's a trained ballet dude.


Sidey:He's not a

Reegs:It was more of, You could see he was more of a dancer than he was an actor. I mean, this would be, he didn't really need to act a lot in this because it's so stylized

all the

Pete:Yeah. He didn't have a huge amount of dialogue. It was more just of like reactions and, and, you know, he had lines, but he didn't have any. Like huge, like chunks of dialogue with other people. It was more the dancing. He danced pretty much in every scene as far as I can remember.

Reegs:Yeah. And he was very good.

There's one thing I didn't quite get is that he's all about expressing, you know, he wants to bring in all these moves, like you've said, the themes about creativity and free, and then like how petty conformity

can be

and all that sort of stuff going on.

Sidey:He's trying to teach other Rumba. Yeah. Which is traditionally the really hard one.

Reegs:And he's like, yeah, it's traditionally really hard and there's loads of sense. So you, And there's a great sort of montage training sequence, which is a bit like a Kung Fu movie.

and he's learning off a wise

mentor actually, now that I think about it, but he's just basically exchanging one set of conformities that he has to adopt for

another. in a, just in a different culture. I suppose It's the idea that at the end, he brings everything

together into this one new thing. or, Cause I couldn't really understand, like

He, he was, it was like really dogmatic that he was rebelling against the ballroom shit.

And then he went over to friends' parents and or whoever they were

uncle and he learned two of them, but he was also getting battered

for not doing it. Right. Well,

Pete:I know what you mean, but I think it was like the fundamentals of the diet. He wasn't, it wasn't necessarily, it was more like the feeling of where it was coming from. Like it was like, cause he was doing it with his feet and it was like, you know, you've got to come from hedge.

Like she was like drumming it out on his chest

Reegs:have enough soul.

Pete:That was it. But I think that the point was that. Shit. He wanted to, basically, he wants it to sort of like freestyle a little bit with like the, with the, with the dances, maybe incorporate a couple together and then elevate them, make them his own, that kind of stuff.

Dan:But that is exactly what his dad did back in the day. And what a horror show it was because we saw some of the kind of moves that dad threw out there leaving the, his partner to, to be totally.

Pete:That whole

Reegs:It was

Pete:fucking bizarre. Like

Reegs:It was brilliant the way it was done. Cause they he's there holding a

photo at

the beginning Aren't they? and then the camera kind of zooms

through, the photo. and this

is all being done on, on a pretty cheap budget. I don't know if you've got the numbers for that bit,


I knew, but yeah.

 Sidey:but it wasn't that very five lying about his dad's

Reegs:Well, Yes. I was going to come to that. Yeah. It turned out not to be true, didn't it? Because his dad,

they have this, what's the thing that they keep saying all the way through. It's really good. A life lived in fear is

a life half


Reegs:and his dad really embodies this and he finally he's been meek and put upon the entire movie and he finally grows a pair and he shouts out.

you know, that he, he didn't

dance is steps that you wanted

  1. We lived

our lives in fair shouts

and it really resonates with

Dan:we have that 33 people in the hall.

Reegs:Yeah. So yeah, that would, that'd be, it was good.

Dan:I like this Phil, I like this for a while. I sat down and I'd not seen it before. I mean, obviously it was quite a famous film at the time and I think it came out around this.

Certainly for me or when I was aware of it, it was around this time where they had Muriel's wedding. And you had a kind of a few other Ozzy films that, that came through Probably because of the title strictly ballroom. I know it was a hit and I remember it, but it was also, the title would have kept me away a little bit because

Pete:yeah, same.

Dan:kind of fan, but you get past that very quickly and you realize this is a, a comedy it's it's full of.

And what I really enjoy about these Australian comedies is the characters. They're just absolutely brilliant. You see some of the same actors and they're playing similar characters, which is great because a lot of the time. I haven't seen enough of him in the previous films to, to really get the best laughs out of those characters.

And there was more and more laughs in this

Reegs:They're like really bizarre and like out there characters and yet they feel

really real

Don't they? I mean, it's like they don't, even though they're cartoonish and

Dan:or they're all vulnerable kind of characters aren't they, you know, they're all people that you can have a go at people that, you know,

Reegs:well, you know, a person is out there like that, that competitive guy, that guy who's enforcing the


only for their own


Pete:do that really well in these types of films. These types of Australian films is kind of like small world type thing where it's like recognizable people. That even if, I mean, I've been to Australia, but you don't need to have been there to know that there are these types of characters with slightly sort of cultural nuances in different parts of the world or whatever.

However, it doesn't surprise me that none of these people went on to any kind of stardom, as far as I'm aware in the way that is it. Tony color. Yeah. So did for me Ariel's wedding, she was an absolute standout star of that film




it's, and it's a sprung her into a, you know, really huge and successful career, but it doesn't surprise me that I'd never really seen any of these guys in anything

Reegs:Well, the star here from the back of this movie really was basil Lurman the


And He's not a guy that I actually like a huge

amount The only

Sidey:This is the first,

Reegs:and Juliet.

Sidey:the first of the red cotton trilogy.

Reegs:and trilogy. Yeah. The only one I like of is really, I haven't seen Moulin Rouge.

He once said you liked it. God, I hated you. when he said that


Pete:is that another one in the, in the beef cut and trilogy? Well, we might as well finish the trilogy and

Sidey:was this, this Moulin Rouge and Romeo Juliet.

Reegs:But I really did like great Gatsby. I mean, he's like literally a guy. I think he doesn't even know what the word subtlety means.

And he's just like, you know, and that's a story of opulence and extravagance and he was just. Like this over the top star was perfect for the great Gatsby, but that's basically the only other film apart from this, which I really


Dan:But then you worry about actors coming out. The wasn't a tremendous, a lot that I remember from off. From this film, but Eric banner, he was in one film that came out in Australia very early which I might put forward actually it's called the castle. Which is fabulous.

Sidey:You weren't, you weren't just seeing the mum go on to do much because she died before this film premiered, unfortunately, which is sad.

Pete:How did she die?

Sidey:It's a dancing accident.

Pete:That's not true.


Reegs:was attempting

a jive.

Sidey:Well, the dance, okay. Back to the Johnson. Cause the finale, after all the will, they won't, they partner, you know, all the drama and the dance they do is the pastor dhobley. You familiar with that one?


Pete:I've heard of it,

Dan:even after watching it, I'm not familiar with it.

Sidey:the, well, obviously he's the Matador. You can see that from his, his outfit the way he said he does all the posturing of the, the Spanish Matador and the lady is supposed to represent his Cape or

Reegs:I wish I'd known

Sidey:sometimes the ball, but it generally would always be the Cape.

Reegs:And what was she in this? The bull or the Cape?

I felt wishy,

Sidey:I think so.

Reegs:That feels very different. Are you to the stone or the sponge?


Reegs:table, the bull.

Sidey:But they dance. It's really good. Like there's the, there's a fight with 'em by five, wants to turn the music off and there's this whole sort of crazy situation with him trying to unplug everything which he does, but the old man steps up and leads this sort of slow clap, which builds up to a crescendo where they, they get to finish their dance.

Reegs:Oh, It's brilliant.

Sidey:really good. Yeah. It's really

Reegs:absolutely That whole dance at the end, even for somebody like me. Yeah. no, it's absolutely cracking.

Sidey:we did as it happens, find out the financials on this one and they pulled this together for a mere 3 million Aussie dollars. It's about meeting Batman and quit $3 to the pounds or the barmy army.


Sidey:And it crushed the box office bringing in 80 mil.

Which is decent. And I wonder he was able to go in and make all these other


But you're right though. acting wise. I didn't recognize really any of the main cast. And it's like

you say it's no surprise


Reegs:go into, there's not a lot

Pete:No, no, not really. This was such, I'm like you done where I'd heard of it. I knew. I'd heard of this film, I'd seen, you know, like the, the front cover, if it was on a DVD or like a still on a Netflix or wherever it would have been, but without, I totally would have avoided it because of the, because of the title and the fact that it was blatantly going to be a dance film, and I'd seen that bag of shit fucking dirty dancing.

So I would have stayed away from this. I am glad I watched it. I was, I enjoyed it, but not. Like, oh, I don't think I'll ever watch it again. It was definitely, I think it fitted into it, even though it was meant to be a comedy. It was a low key comedy for me. So I was only moderately entertained. I lo I really liked the message behind it though.

I liked this, you know, because all these dances, so many of them now, especially now that you sort of fast forward 20 years. And so there were, there were new dances that are now accepted within the ballroom sphere that have only been invented in the last 20 years. And that's how. You do it, it's like people kind of, you know, riffing on you know, regulation steps and you know, sort of free freestyling with it all,

Reegs:incorporating the moods of


Pete:push, pushing the envelope and and creating.

So, I mean, it happens in all sorts of cultures all around the world. There will be in certain countries, there will be. ballroom dancing would have been introduced and they might have felt a little bit like stuffy and not expressive enough in, so you're like a Latin American country. So then they'd take that and evolve it and that's how, and then give it a name and then that's how that came about.

And then that would be accepted as part of the ballroom code or whatever. So I like the fact that it highlights

Dan:you know, so

Pete:the need. Yeah, I think I do. Yeah. Yeah. I've made all of that up, but, but yeah. Yeah. I think you guys seem like you really enjoyed it more than me. It

Reegs:Muriel's wedding was a cut above this. I have to say but I did enjoy this.

I actually started watching it and then I stopped it and I said to the messes, I was like, come and watch this with me. You'll you'll enjoy this. And it'll be a good thing to watch together. And I did.

I did. like it. Yeah, she did. Yeah.

Yeah, I wouldn't rush to see it again. It wasn't as good as, Muriel's

Dan:I said to them, this is the same comment and watch it. me to fuck off.

So, you know, there you go.


Dan:Explain it.

Sidey:I really enjoyed it. I really, really enjoyed it instead of the misses. I like all the sort of. Almost sort of subculture things where people are so into them, this, you know, and then you've got other things like heavy metal where it's just, you know, you're just in it and you're totally fucking, it is everything that you do is about that.

And it's same with this, with this, they just enter this world. And it's all about that. Even though it's fucking preposterous from the outside, they're having a great time and they ended up being really good at it. So I liked it and it was funny and it was good.


Sidey:Thanks VMC.