Wednesday, March 7, 2012


"Footloose", the 1984 Kevin Bacon vehicle, was the film that answered the question "how did this not kill Kevin Bacon's career?" They managed to hit upon every cliche--new kid in town is a rebel outsider, he hits it off with the preacher's wild-child daughter, inbred townsfolk ban dancing because they're morons--and provided another pop hit for Kenny Loggins, who dispelled the myth that beards are cool. (Chuck Norris and Eric Clapton worked for decades to build that myth, and they got Logginsed!)

Then, in 2011, Hollywood studios decided they'd absolutely ran out of sequels and reboots to make (which I find hard to believe, as they STILL haven't rebooted "Smokey and the Bandit"), and so they made the remake of "Footloose". Deciding to take a risk by casting complete unknowns--except for Dennis Quaid and Andie McDowell, who I suppose are unknown enough these days--and moving the setting from the midwest to very rural Georgia, they otherwise pretty much copied the original. The cliched, stupid original.

Because the deep south actually has black people, the re-make had to actually put black characters in the film (you'll note that the original was whiter than D.C. Bikeshares customer base). Happily, there are no racial issues broached in the film, which proves that the deep south no longer has racial problems. (Haley Barbour was right after all! Thanks for proving it, Footloose!) The town's pastor, played by Quaid, supports the ongoing ban on dancing, because his son and four other kids got killed in a car accident after drinking and driving at some out of town party where there was dancing. This makes about as much sense as banning french fries because Jeffrey Dahmer ate some after murdering one of his victims.

Of course, the Boston townie wins the hearts of the townsfolk and the pastor, convincing him that his daughter's road to sin and lechery could take a welcome detour in his pants, and everyone learns that dancing is great after all, hooray. But I think there are some key unanswered issues:

1) How the hell did a townful of kids who never danced before--because of the ban--suddenly know how to dance like professionals at the movie's climax?

2) The townsfolk at the church scenes were all white, implying that the black townsfolk attend a different church. What did the black church's pastor have to say about this dancing ban? Is he and the white pastor in cahoots?

3) Shouldn't there be at least one Jew or atheist in the town who says "hey what's this deal about the dancing?"

4) With all the effort expended arguing about dancing, shouldn't someone at least point out that these kids should be studying so they can go to college and leave this backwards town?

5) I find it hard to believe a Boston townie wouldn't have more of an issue with the alcohol ban than the dancing ban.

6) If I have kids, I plan to prohibit them from learning to dance. If they protest, I'll make them watch Footloose. Then they'll understand.

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