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Marilyn Hotchkiss' Ballroom Dancing & Charm School

122 customer reviews

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(Jul 04, 2006)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

An all star cast heads up Marilyn Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing and Charm School, a heartfelt, nostalgic and gently humorous story about a chance encounter in which one man's dreams become another man's destiny, starring Oscar winner Marisa Tomei, Robert Carlyle, Mary Steenburgen, Sean Astin, Donnie Whalberg, Danny DeVito and John Goodman. Frank (Robert Carlyle), a baker by trade, has been consumed by grief over his wife's death. But everything changes when he pulls his bread truck over on a rural highway to help a dying stranger entangled in a car wreck. In the last moments of his life, Steve (John Goodman) tells Frank that he was on his way to visit a woman he hasn't seen in forty years. Before Steve dies, Frank promises to keep the meeting with his long lost love. Frank's quest to find Steve's love, Lisa (Camryn Manheim), takes him to Marilyn Hotchkiss' Ballroom Dancing and Charm School.

When lonely hearts want to connect, is there any better way, really, than dancing? Marilyn Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing & Charm School is a sweet indie valentine to dance, and to the connection of lost, broken souls. The stellar cast is led by English Everyguy Robert Carlyle, a widower who believes he's fulfilling a dying man's last wish--to find a long-lost love--by showing up at a Thursday night dance class. Carlyle is by turns awkward, warm, sincere and bewildered, perfectly believable as a man awash in grief yet hoping to rejoin life. It turns out that dance class, led by the theatrical Mary Steenburgen, holds his lifeline. Other strong performances come from Marisa Tomei, Sean Astin, John Goodman, Ernie Hudson, David Paymer, Camryn Manheim and Sonia Braga, all of whom play people yearning for something, some one. Viewers may get distracted early in the film, seeing Carlyle in a dance venue and secretly hoping the soundtrack would queue up "You Sexy Thing," to get to see Carlyle reprise some of his fabulous shtick from The Full Monty. But it turns out Carlyle is just as winning performing the Lindy Hop or waltz. And, the film suggests, once the body moves and the soul is stirred--can love be far behind? The answer is: May I have the honor of this dance? Extras include the short 1990 film this feature was based on and an audio commentary. --A.T. Hurley

Special Features

  • Audio commentary
  • Short Film: Marilyn Hotchkiss' Ballroom Dancing & Charm School (1990)
  • Full screen and widescreen presentation

Product Details

  • Actors: Danny DeVito, Sonia Braga, Miguel Sandoval, Elden Henson, David Paymer
  • Directors: Randall Miller
  • Producers: Randall Miller, Jody Savin, Morris Ruskin, Eileen Craft
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: July 4, 2006
  • Run Time: 104 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,880 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Marilyn Hotchkiss' Ballroom Dancing & Charm School" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
What guy in his right mind would want to watch a movie titled, 'Marilyn Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing & Charm School?' The name absolutely shrieks out the warning, "CHICK FLICK!" If you're like me and thought that, you'd be wrong.

This is an insightful tale of personal choices and how the choices we make effect the path we travel in life. Frank Keane (Robert Carlyle), recently widowed, is driving his bakery truck along a deserted stretch of highway when he comes upon the scene of a horrible accident. He calls 911 and is told to keep the injured motorist talking until they arrive. The name of the injured driver is Steve Mills (John Goodman) who was rushing to an important appointment made thirty-five years ago with his grammar school sweetheart. They had both vowed to meet on the 5th day of the 5th month of the new millenium at Marilyn Hotchkiss' Charm School. When Steve finally realizes he'll never be able to keep his promise he asks Frank to keep the appointment for him. Frank honors Steve's last request and in doing so changes the course of his life forever.

On the outside we discover a sweet, nostalgic, disarming film, funny at times, poignant and bittersweet at others. However on a deeper level we discover the storyline serves as a metaphor of spiritual awakening. The ballroom is the world and the coming together to dance is how one chooses or refuses to embrace life. As Miss Hotchkiss says, "Dance is a very powerful drug."

The cast is terrific, especially Robert Carlyle, Marisa Tomei, Donnie Wahlberg and John Goodman.

OK, maybe it's kind of a chick flick. But it's a great one!
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful By William R. O'connell on May 29, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
If I came across the title or synopsis I probably wouldn't have gone to see this film. It was part of a package at the Stony Brook Film Festival last year and I have to say it was one of the best there. It's the story of a con who gets out of prison (John Goodman) who is on a mission to keep a date he made while an adolescent. He is sure that his childhood sweetheart will be there. For reasons that I won't disclose, he will not be able to keep his date so enlists a chance bystander (Robert Carlisle) to go in his place. Carlisle wants nothing to do with it but doesn't have the heart to say no, nor say yes and then just not do it.

Carlisle has a boatload of his own problems to deal with and he is struggling with them mightily. It is an interesting mix of characters and the story unfolds nicely with a surprise finish. Give it a try.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By becky mussa on July 1, 2006
Format: DVD
i will admitt the tittle is strange but that does no justice to this fantastic story----movies usually have action violence,and no substance but this movie feels so like its from the heart of love in every aspect --there is more emotion and geniune feeling in this movie then of the last ten years of filmaking---i cried and fell in love with every charactor --i dont want to reveal the story but lets just say a man has been jailed half his life dreaming of meeting his child hood sweet heart at a dance school--and he is released just in time to make his appointment--then the great story begins---please watch it and let it move you as it did me----i need a passionate man like that----worth every penny
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Bob on November 27, 2006
Format: DVD
"Marilyn Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing & Charm School," a 2005 Sundance Festival entry now available on DVD, is one of those independent films that make you wonder why you might ever waste even another five minutes on the drek the major studios put out these days.

Several stories are perfectly wrapped into this quiet, unassuming film, and, while each is inviting and engaging in its own right, together they form an exquisite package that charms and captivates, yet always maintains an underlying innocence and wit.

"Steve," played masterfully by John Goodman, is a man on a mission, hell-bent to make it to an appointment he made with his childhood sweetheart 40 years ago. With the innocence of first love, they had promised to meet on the fifth day of the fifth month of the fifth year of the new millennium, and, moreover, to meet at the same dance school where they had once learned to waltz across the gulf that inescapably separates the genders. Sadly, when he is injured enroute in a traffic accident, it looks as though Steve might not make that appointment after all. But a passing Good Samaritan, played with understated perfection by Robert Carlyle, promises to fulfill Steve's mission, and so opens the rest of the film.

In keeping his promise, Mr. Carlyle's "Frank," a man with more than his own share of regrets, stumbles into a world of which he never dreamt, and possibilities he never suspected. And through his influence, in turn, a dozen other lives are similarly changed for the better.

The all-star cast, which in addition to Goodman and Carlyle includes Marisa Tomei, Donnie Wahlberg, Camryn Manheim, Ernie Hudson, Mary Steenburgen, Sean Astin, David Paymer, Adam Arkin, and Danny DeVito, is perfect. Little more need be said.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Tassie Ted on October 28, 2007
Format: DVD
This DVD's been released for a couple of years. It's already been competently précised by other reviewers. Overwhelmingly, they seem to admire it - as do I. Rather than cover already familiar ground, I'd prefer to take issue with several misplaced criticisms:

1) The "off-putting" title: Marilyn Hotchkiss' Ballroom Dancing & Charm School

Anyone claiming the title is "off-putting" needs to cultivate more curiosity in picking their DVDs. That's not to mention recognizing the potential for good-natured satire which abounds in this movie.

Ballroom Dancing and Charm School conventions ARE stilted and pretentious. Young people dread and deride them but (true to the film) they still sign up.

Marilyn Hotchkiss' Ballroom Dancing & Charm School's mediocrity and artificial conventions are hilariously but nevertheless sensitively spoofed. It's wry humor never descends to slapstick.

The subtle parallels between "British Bulldog" and the sexes retreating behind the Blue and Pink lines on either side of the hall were a real hoot.

Another delight was Marienne acknowledging her late mother at the beginning of each session, not to mention Frank Keane enrolling his friends from the "Dead Wives'Club" (if I heard correctly). This group was seriously under performing in terms of bereavement healing. Again, one suspects a gentle commentary on group therapy per se. .

As children, teenagers and adults, many of us have been to Dance Academies and their ilk. I met my wife at one. This movie cleverly interweaves the comedy with the drama and the positive, socializing and therapeutic processes which can emerge. As young adults, one of the best ones in our area was run by the North Sydney Police Boys' Club.
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