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'Dirty Dancing' remake: Maybe it's not such a bad idea

August 9, 2011 | 12:45 pm

'Dirty Dancing' will get a remake with Kenny Ortega, Lionsgate announced.

The collective groan could be heard practically the moment Lionsgate announced a "Dirty Dancing" remake with Kenny Ortega.

Did we need another reboot of a music-themed '80s movie? What with "Fame" and the upcoming "Footloose" more than satisfying our (meager) appetite?

More important, how could you possibly remake a movie that was rooted in period assumptions — not just the pre-feminist mores of the movie's 1963 setting but also those of the 1987 into which it came out? Back then, at least the idea of dancing as a taboo still resonated slightly with a teenage audience, if only because of things our parents told us. Anyone who was a teenager or twentysomething circa 2011 would not only not understand the idea of a forbidden boogie, they'd probably find the dirty dancing of the original  less dirty than anything they'd do themselves.

The remake didn't even have the "wholesale reinvention" shield to hide behind, since Lionsgate said the new film would be set in the 1960s and even include music from the Jennifer Grey-Patrick Swayze original.

But if the announcement lent itself to some easy punch lines (e.g., "at her age, maybe Baby should stay in the corner"), it's also not, on further reflection, a terrible idea.

Ortega, for one, offers some hope. He choreographed the original, so at least he understands the moves that made us (and Ryan Gosling's "Crazy, Stupid, Love" paramours) swoon. And the filmmaker has pulled off a feat like this before with the Michael Jackson concert documentary "This Is It," breathing life into what some saw as a tired music-film genre.

What's more, the idea of building a movie around youthful rebellion and identity has never been more timely in this age of "Glee" and "High School Musical." Plus, think of the tearful tributes to Jerry Orbach and Swayze.

In its announcement, Lionsgate said that its new "Dirty Dancing" will portray "the emotional excitement of first love, the thrills and complexity of sexual awakening ... and the soul-stirring power of dance." That sounds better than at least half the movies out there.


Dirty Dancing at the Pantages

Dirty Dancing to be remade

Dirty Dancing, the mega-hit musical

— Steven Zeitchik

Photo: "Dirty Dancing." Credit: Vestron Pictures.

Comments () | Archives (6)

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Ithink its a good idea because the old show was not that great

Ithink its a good idea because the old show was not that great grease was a better movie and so was road house

I think its a horrible idea..theres only ONE original and thats how it should stay..if they didnt remake titanic or beaches they shouldnt remake dirty dancing patrick would flip if he were alive..

I am ready to see the outcome of this remake. This is my ole time fav movie but not sure it will have the best outcome with the kids and teens these day they dont understand what it was like back then or there lifes are way more advice them it was for me growing up in the 80s. But you can count on me to buy this one to.

That was now comment that was posted on someone else name above me. How did that happen?

That was now comment that was posted on someone else name above me. How did that happen?


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