I'm not a big fan of the first one, so I didn't have that whole "sacrilege!" thing going when Melissa, her sister, Amanda, Ben, and about a zillion other people went to "Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights" on Saturday with a purse full of Pop-Rocks. Not only worth my $4.75 matinee price, this movie will someday also be worth my $22.95 at Wal-Mart once it arrives on DVD. Why? Have another list:
* First off, one must definitely mention the well-used cute boys with accents motif. Not only was the main character desperately hot (I am such a third grade girl), but most of the supporting cast and nearly all the extras, especially in dance sequences, were also cute foreign boys. Hollywood will never be able to underestimate the value of this trick; and above all when the main cute boy with accent can also act quite well, despite the cheesy lines thrown his way.
* Everyone's picked up that I have a thing for WWII-era clothes by now, right? As this movie was set in the late '50s, the costumes still fit into my time period I adore. Plus, as it was also Cuba in the '50s, they packed in as many spiffy tropical-style '50s dresses as possible.
* I mentioned them before, I'll mention them again: I don't know why I got the idea, but I decided during the previews that I would pile in my mouth as many Pop Rocks as possible and hold the popping explosion wide open for the entire audience to enjoy during every quiet, reflective moment. And then others joined in. Boy, I hope the tweens in the backrow didn't mind.
* I didn't know he was going to be in the thing until about twenty minutes before leaving, but including Patrick Swayze as a dance instructor was a stroke of genius. Not only did this allow the directors to recycle some of his dance moves from the first movie (seriously--that's totally the same dance!), it also provided a fun debate about whether he was a mentor or a creepy guy. I say he was kinda creepy the way he was always around whenever New-Jennifer-Grey did Important Dance Things, but he didn't cross the line to full out creeptacularness.
* Speaking of recycling things, where was the Spanish version of "Time of Your Life" on the soundtrack? Because, dudes, they used that song over and over again, even to the point of one-line-long musical interludes. Besides that, the soundtrack is fabulous. Fabulous enough for me to buy it during the Wal-Mart trip post-movie and fabulous enough to have been copied by two other people during the first few hours of possession.
* But the best thing of all? The title screen, proudly proclaiming the film as "based on true events." Well, yes, I suppose we could beef up the story by making a big deal out of the revolutionary setting and the historical context. Of course, in the same way the first movie could claim the same thing since families take vacations every year.
Either way (or either or either or...), fab movie all around. Totally buying it whenever they deem it ready for DVD, hopefully with lots of extras.