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Nobody Puts Baby in a Remake: Why a "Dirty Dancing" Redo is Sacrilege

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Jennifer Grey talks about the impact that Patrick Swayze had on her. How has his death inspired her to reclaim the joy in her life? Plus, will fans get to see Jennifer perform some "Dirty Dancing" moves on the show? (Published Tuesday, Mar 4, 2014)

    There are very few things in life that are truly sacred to me, but "Dirty Dancing" is one of them. When I heard the news that the beloved 1987 classic about a smoking hot dance instructor (dearly departed Patrick Swayze) and a charmingly imperfect young woman nicknamed "Baby" (Jennifer Grey before a nose job rendered her unrecognizable), who learn about life and love while getting their groove on one magical summer in the Catskills, was being remade, the horror and rage that surged through me was worse than when Jerry Orbach realized his daughter was doinking a leather jacket-wearing studmuffin who knew all about the horizontal mambo.

    The only thing I could think was: why, Hollywood, why?!?!?

    Can we please stop with the reboots, remake, redos? Or why can't we remake movies that were subpar but had potential as opposed to ones that were fantastic? Or, gasp, try to do something new and original? Why has mediocrity become the norm? It's like getting into Harvard because you copied off the smarter kid sitting next to you. Where's the pride in co-opting someone else's brilliance?

    After Jaden Smith's "Karate Kid" punched me in the gut, Russell Brand's "Arthur" drove me to drink and "The Smurfs" smurfed all over that smurfing smurfshow, one of the great classics of my youth, one that taught me that it's okay to be different and that any problem can be solved if you dance through your angst, a film that ignited my pubescence as I realized boys—especially when they look and move like Swayze—didn't have cooties, a movie that was barely expected to recoup $6 million in production costs but would go on to be one of the most successful films of its time, is slated for defilement. And I'm livid.

    I get it; Hollywood wants to make money and "Dirty Dancing" has been a cash cow. You know why? Because it's fantastic! It struck a nerve because everything about it was wrong and yet so right. Lore has it, when it was first screened for producers, they said, "Burn the negative and collect the insurance," because they were sure it was destined to flop. But it didn't and that lightning they captured will never strike again. Paging "Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights," or, as I like to call it, "The Godfather 3 of dance movies." Made for $25 million, it only eked out $27 million at the box office. There's a lesson there.

    But cautionary tales be damned, Kenny Ortega, the choreographer from the original "Dirty Dancing" film, best known for directing the "High School Musical" trilogy, is taking the helm and driving this bus straight over the cliff. All we can do is brace for impact.

    As my impotence sinks in, the mind reels with all the horrific possibilities that are surely going on around Hollywood today.

    Somewhere out there is a camera test to see how a lift looks in a lake when shot in 3D, a phone call is being placed to Justin Bieber asking if he'd like to play a Canadian dance instructor who finds love at musical theater summer camp, a "Dancing with the Stars" pro is fantasizing about their big screen debut, Zac Efron is wondering if he's ready to reunite with Ortega, the ghost of Patrick Swayze is being computer animated for one final dance at Kellerman's. The mind boggles as my heart sinks at all the tremendously wrong possibilities.

    Dear Lionsgate, I already had the time of my life and I can have it again anytime I want by popping in a DVD or VHS tape to enjoy the only version of "Dirty Dancing" that will ever truly exist in my heart and mind: the original.

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