3- of 5 stars to the re-make of the film Dirty Dancing, just released on ABC TV in May, 2017. I had no clue they were doing a re-make of this movie until a few days before it aired, and I only knew because I happened to catch a quick promo in between watching on TV shows. I wonder why they didn’t advertise this one too much… wait… I know…
Was there any need to even do a re-make? Let’s dive in to the review… quick side note — I’m not going to do a typical review where I compare and contrast… I’m just throwing a few key thoughts out about the re-make and opening it up to questions and feedback!
The original Dirty Dancing movie was a phenomenon when released in 1987. I was ten years old and not originally allowed to watch the movie, as it was considered too racy; however, my mom later caved when we were visiting with friends one weekend. I remember my mom and her friend Joyce discussing whether it was appropriate for me and for Joyce’s daughter, Robin, who was 2-years older than me. Ultimately, because the mothers wanted to watch it, they caved and let us watch it, too. But I also recall being asked to close our eyes at a few parts and even asked to leave the room for 5 minutes when the whole abortion discussion came up.
Anyways…trying to stay on track here… I really liked the movie, but I wasn’t a crazy fanatic who fell in love with Patrick Swayze or Jennifer Grey, nor felt the need to watch it every time it was on. I’ve seen it a few times, love many of the songs and I fully admit, when they do the lift, I am on a bit of a high. I have never practiced it tho… either the lifter or the liftee! Have you?????
If you’ve never seen it (what rock do you live under as I need to send you a VHS, as that’s probably the video equipment you’re still using… but then how are you reading this post? Oh @#$#$, now my brain hurts!)…. it’s about a family who vacations in the Catskills in upstate NY in the 1960s/1970s. The father’s a doctor, the mother’s a housewife. They have two girls, about 18 and 20. While on vacation, Baby, the younger daughter, decides to take some dancing lessons and essentially falls for the instructor, Johnny, who is trying to make a living and stay out of trouble. Johnny’s dance partner has a sort-of-botched abortion and can’t dance for a few weeks. Baby steps in, without her family knowing, and has the “time of her life.” Once her family learns about what she’s been up to, they try to stop it; however, it’s too late, as she’s fallen in love with Johnny.
There are tons of other side-stories, but this is the primary one… somewhere between romance and family drama, it had women swooning over Patrick Swayze, people talking about Jennifer Grey’s funny-shaped nose and it created a whole new generation of people rooting for less “restrictions” in life. (That’s way over simplifying this movie… but if you haven’t seen it, there’s no point in reading my mini-review of the re-make version, right????)
But I’m not wrong, am I???
Focus Jay… so, someone decided to re-make this movie 30 years later… and thus, I have a few comments and questions.
- Main Roles / Stars
- Abigail Breslin plays Baby (Primary Character, AKA Frances)
- Colt Prattes plays Johnny
- Sarah Hyland plays Lisa (older sister)
- Nicole Scherzinger plays Penny (Johnny’s dancing partner)
- Bruce Greenwood plays Jake (father)
- Debra Messing plays Marjorie (mother)
- Katey Saga plays Vivian (older woman seducing Johnny)
- Shane Harper plays Robbie (father of Penny’s baby)
- At least other 10 characters / actors (some famous) but minor roles
- Differences (don’t read if you don’t want spoilers)
- Baby and Johnny don’t end up together — that’s just gonna piss off people
- Vivian has a much larger role in trying to nail Johnny — love her, but why???
- Marjorie wants to divorce Jake — eh, weak plot device
- Lisa enters into an inter-racial romance, while her fling with Robbie is very short — kudos for the change
- Baby wrote a book, and a Broadway play is made of her time doing “Dirty Dancing” — a bit odd
What did I think?
I would have given the original movie a 4+ out of 5 stars. I gave the re-make a 3- out of 5 stars. I wanted to give it a 2, but by my definition, that would have said it was pretty bad. If there weren’t ever an original Dirty Dancing, then I think I would have been fine with this new one, hence settling on a 3- for the re-made version.
A few things that irked me:
- The things they chosen to do differently didn’t really add any value; they took away from the overall story. I’m sure they added some to give meatier roles to other actors and actress and hopefully bring in their fans to watch the re-make. And I love Katey Sagal, but we didn’t need the additional story points with Vivian. While I enjoyed the latter part of the romance between Jake and Marjorie, their relationship issues didn’t impact me in the first part.
- I didn’t agree with most of the casting, which was my main problem. They went for the “ultra-hot guy” with 12 pack abs (Aside: I know that’s not possible, but coming from a 2-pack-maybe-4-pack-on-a-good-day-when-I-didn’t-eat-pizza-or-drink-the-night-before-guy… come on… not right… I mean who feels the need to focus on that when there’s so much more to discuss in this movie… oh wait, I just spoke about my own body, ugh… just like the movie – big mistake!… shut up now), but that wasn’t the normal body type in the 1960s/1970s (pointed out by my significant other)… So it did not feel authentic, especially when they did a lot to “cover up” Abigail Breslin who while quite beautiful, does not have your “typical” dancer-body as compared to every one else dancing in the movie. For many reasons, I thought she was a good “Baby,” but I couldn’t stop thinking about her from her role on Scream Queens to realistically look at her in a more serious and meaty role.
- I’m off topic again… my point being… they went in opposite directions with casting the two leads, highlighting body shapes/types when that really has absolutely nothing to do with the romance, dancing or movie??? It shouldn’t have ever been something to pick up on, except for the fact that the camera folks seemed to purposely focus on it. Johnny should have been a more regular-looking guy in good shape [max 2-pack abs with just a few bulges in his arms — pick either triceps or biceps, right?] and not a focus on every single one of his muscles as the thing to admire. (As I did admire it… let’s be real!)
A few things I liked:
- It felt like it was recorded in the proper time period, including the background setting, clothing and location shoots.
- The new music, as I believe they couldn’t either get the rights to the original versions, or didn’t want to replicate those parts for fear of the ultimate in comparisons, worked well. I didn’t like them a much as the original, but they still had some light and fun moments, one or two sexy moments and they created a great compilation overall.
Why even do a re-make?
The ultimate question… when something is so good, why put effort into a re-make when you know it will never come close to the original. And even if they found the perfect actors and actresses, it will always be compared to something that some people feel is their favorite movie ever… If you’re going to re-make a movie like this one, the changes should be very clear and specific. This one felt like it had differences in all the wrong places… lost some of the original sultry aspects and awkward yet embracing charm… and the casting was too far off the original to bring about the right overall mood.
Should movies ever be re-made? What do you think? What did you think of this one? Please share… would love to hear from those who loved the original and watched the re-make, as well as those who thought the re-make was a fantastic shout-out to the original!
I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. Once you hit my site “ThisIsMyTruthNow” at https://thisismytruthnow.com, you can join the fun and see my blog and various site content. You’ll find book reviews, published and in-progress fiction, TV/Film reviews, favorite vacation spots and my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge.” Since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life… see how you compare!
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