That’s why I was shocked to discover, upon my return, that another 80s icon is about to die a slow and painful death.
Yes, folks, they are remaking Dirty Dancing.
I know. I’ll wait for you to apologize to whomever you just slapped.
Anyway, apparently Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights was not enough of an assault on my childhood memories (I was indoctrinated early, by my aunt, at age 8, and had choreographed an interpretive dance to the entire soundtrack by the following year). No, now DD has to get the Footloose treatment, i.e. a remake with no colon and shitty subtitle to distinguish it from the original.
I realize that director Kenny Ortega doesn't need or want my input, but I've decided to drag out my casting couch anyway, to assemble what I think is an ensemble that will both please the young'uns (who weren't even born when The Lift That Launched A Thousand Amateur Copycat Injuries unspooled on movie screens) and placate the aging die-hards.
So, first things first: Frances “Baby” Houseman. I’m going on record here to say that if Lea Michele gets this part I will carry a watermelon all the way to her house, set it on fire, and lob it over the electrified fence. Ditto Kristen Stewart. The only acceptable Baby is someone who has more expressions in her arsenal than “facial jazz hands” or “sullen nostril-flaring.” A non-traditional beauty like Jennifer Grey would be nice, but we all know that if Jennifer Grey started her career today with her original nose, the best she could hope for is a walk-on as one of Blair Waldorf’s minions in Gossip Girl. So I’ll be realistic and accept that they’re going to want someone sexier. The most obvious Jews are Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis and Rachel Bilson (P.S. I had to Google “young hot Jewish actress” for research, which I’m sure puts me on some government watch list), but they’re all too cutesy. Baby needs to be convincingly awkward. Which is why I nominate…
|"I'm scared of walking out of this room and never feeling the rest of my whole life the way I feel when I'm with you!"|
The next most important casting choice, obvi, is Johnny “Nobody puts Baby in the corner” Castle. I know that Hollywood is going to be knocking on the doors of all of those shrimpy, testoster-phony tweeners like Zac Efron and Taylor Lautner and those beefy Australian Hemsworth brothers who look like Children of the Corn raised on L.L. Bean and steroids. But Johnny Castle is supposed to be man (I’m guessing 25-ish to Baby’s 17, although the late, great Swayze was 35 when he made the movie), so I think we can do better, and at least find someone whose pubes have come in. (And someone besides Channing Tatum, please. There have got to be other actors who can both dance and lift weights.)
I’m kind of feeling Ryan Gosling for this. I know he’s not super muscular and I’ve never seen him merengue, but I think he could really pull off that sexy bad boy from the wrong side of the Catskills thing, no? And look, I picked the most flattering photo to argue my point:
|"You just put your pickle on everybody's plate, college boy, and leave the hard stuff to me."|
- Bryan Cranston as Dr. JakeHouseman...
|"When I'm wrong, I say I'm wrong." (Except when I'm cooking crystal to pay for my secret cancer treatments.)|
- Blake Lively as Penny, the knocked-up dance teacher who spends most of the movie being an asshat...
|"God wouldn't have given you maracas if He didn't want you to shaaaaaake 'em!"|
This casting choice will appeal to the teenage set, and there's nothing Lively does better than look vaguely slutty and distressed.
- Lea Michele can be Lisa Houseman, because the whole point of Lisa is that she's annoying as fuck
|"Oh, my God. Look at that! Ma, I should have brought those coral shoes!"|
- Donald Glover as Billy Kostecki...
|"She's knocked up, Baby." (Okay, so Billy maybe doesn't have the best lines.)|
- Betty White and Alan Arkin as the kleptomaniac Schumachers...
They deserve bigger parts, anyway.
- Jessie Eisenberg as Neil Kellerman...
|"I have to say it. I'm known as the catch of the county."|
Ta-da! You are totally welcome, universe. What do you think? Am I onto something? Or should I just bite my tongue and face the inevitable: Miley Cyrus, Zac Efron, and his man-bangs singing "This Overload" while popping and locking?