In news that will, unfortunately, surprise no one who keeps up on film-industry trends, yet another ’80s classic that should be left alone will instead be receiving the remake treatment. We’ve already got a Footloose do-over to look forward to (read: dread) this October, and now a second dance-centric romance from the same era will be revived: Dirty Dancing.
Those of you who were around in 1987 or have since watched the original on TV or DVD will recall Jennifer Grey as “Baby,” a 17-year-old on summer vacation at a resort in the Catskills. There she meets dance instructor Johnny (the late Patrick Swayze), and ends up filling in for his dance partner who’s suffering complications from an illegal abortion. (Side note: When I first saw Dirty Dancing in junior high, its entire abortion subplot totally escaped me… just like how I had no idea that Rizzo was pregnant at the end of Grease when I first watched it. Ah, innocence.)
The film draws to a climactic finale in which Baby triumphantly jumps into the air only to be lifted even higher by Johnny, to the amazement of the crowd surrounding them (witness their amazement for yourself in the still I used above). This impressive move was hilariously reenacted by Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in Crazy, Stupid, Love (currently in theaters), as it were.
Dirty Dancing took everyone by surprise in ’87, and ended up being one of the most successful films of the year. It won the Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Original Song, its soundtrack went platinum eleven times, and then it became the first movie to sell one million copies on video. To this day, the late director Emile Ardolino’s coming-of-age drama has a dedicated and passionate fan base. But now the original film’s choreographer, Kenny Ortega of High School Musical and Michael Jackson’s This Is It fame, is betting that he can make a modernized version that will be just as successful. (Ortega was once supposed to direct the Footloose remake but left the project over creative differences.)
What do YOU think? Is it possible to have the time of your life more than once? Or would Ortega and Lionsgate be better off leaving Baby in the “’80s Classics” corner? Cast your vote in the poll below, and feel free to expound upon your vote in the comments section.
For the record, my vote is a big fat “NO” on this remake. And again for the record, if Hollywood ever dares mess with Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, I will lose it.