By Bret Dorman
I have never seen the 1984 version of Footloose. A movie about dancing? Erm… Thanks but no thanks. So I really had no interest in seeing this one, but hey… it’s in theaters and I was curious as to if it could be a good movie on its own right, so I went in purposefully without seeing the one with Bacon so I wouldn’t be like everyone else in the movie going “HEY THAT’S NOT HOW THE ONE WITH BACON DID IT! speaking of bacon and food…” (Shovels popcorn into mouth).
The Story: In the town of Bomont, dancing has been outlawed because some kids from a while ago died driving a car. Then prodigal dancer Ren MacCormick (Kenny Wormald) moves into town and butts heads with Rev. Shaw (Dennis Quaid) while swooning over his daughter Ariel (Julianne Hough). Also, they drive fire buses!
Okay here we go… Footloose is apparently a movie about how dancing is bad because dancing is a gateway behavior that leads to other bad behaviors like drinking, smoking, sex, and car crashes. So the town of grumpy elders bans dancing then the kids fight for their right to dance. This idea is absurd.
You know what else is absurd? A super strong Jet Li fighting another super strong version of Jet Li because he killed 123 other Jet Lis so he could absorb their power and become THE ONE!
The point is, absurd plots are something I am used to. But when Jet Li is fighting himself, I don’t want to hear morality tales or have characters take themselves too seriously. I want to see some silly special effects and fighting scenes.
Footloose on the other hand does not just want to make a simple ‘stand up for what you believe in’ movie. It wants to glorify promiscuous sex and violence and then celebrate by dancing. The dancing in this movie is used to dumb down the audience and make them think that everything they saw before it is okay because “they are just dancing! C’Mon guys!” (Dance Number!)
So here’s the thing, the main girl is having sex with a scum-bag douche-bag (SBDB) womanizer simply to prove she is a rebel and then while ‘dating’ this SBDB she latches onto our main character and wants to sleep with him not because he is a good person but because he is a good dancer. Refreshingly, the man in the movie says ‘no means no’ several times and makes her realize the error of her ways. But it’s like Bad Teacher, why do we want the good guy to end up with someone who isn’t loyal and kind of bitchy? Oh right… because she can DANCE!!! C’MON GUYS! (Dance number!)
Then later when Ariel is having a conversation with her dad about how much of a meanie he is, she alludes to the fact that she isn’t a virgin and maybe there should be a ban on sex, even though that wouldn’t stop the guys “from getting in her panties.” Then Quaid slaps her and everyone gasps and SHE GETS MAD! So she said something to elicit and angry response from him and got mad when he acted on it? If she was saying something about dancing and he hit her that would be bad, but saying to your father (who is a pastor), out of spite, that you have had sex and will again just to spite him is very clearly designed to get a slap. Don’t get mad when he slaps you. Be happy, that’s what you wanted. Clearly you aren’t mature enough to talk about your problems and issues like an adult and have to resort to childish insults. Several times in this movie she huffs and puffs and yells at him for not understanding her then slams a door in his face or walks away. ‘Yeah dad! Take that! I’m an independent girl! Bring on the guys!’ (Dance number!)
It’s not that this movie is completely bad. The dialogue is manageable. Most the actors were chosen for their dancing abilities rather than acting abilities which is fine for a dancing movie. Some of the dancing scenes have a fun upbeat tone about them (props to The White Stripes for making it into the infamous ‘angry dance’ scene). Overall I can understand why people would like to see a movie where people are fighting to just be able to dance. What I don’t like is when that dancing is bumping and grinding and often times the characters are shown underage drinking and having promiscuous sex for all the wrong reasons and somehow these qualities are portrayed in the same good light as ‘We’re just dancing having a good time! C’Mon guys!’ (Dance Number!)
At one point the SBDB challenges our good guy to a race. He hops in a tractor and drives 30 feet to some buses. What? I guess this is a reference to the original, where there was a tractor racing scene? That would be like me remaking Bullitt and in one scene the main guy hops in a ’68 Mustang and drives it four parking spaces over to a ’12 Mustang and drives that instead. Yes, it’s a reference for fans of the original but MAKES NO SENSE! I guess when you need to inject some mindless adrenaline and testosterone into your moral-less dance movie with an Bus/Derby scene, making sense is the last thing on your mind. After all, we need to prove who is the better man so our girl knows who to try and sleep with! (Bus crash!)
The ending of this movie is an insult to the viewer. There is the good guy, the SBDB, and the girl. By the end the girl has chosen the good guy. But then at the very end the SBDB shows up to fight him and his posse starts beating up the good guy’s friend so he immediately comes out swinging. They violently beat the snot out of each other and the good guys win. Then they go into a cotton factory and celebrate. Seriously? Instead of using words to prove they are the better men or showing him up on the dance floor they just assume everyone knows beating the crap out of people in self defense is a completely legitimate way to solve problems and should be celebrated appropriately. (Dance number!)
In Conclusion, I really wanted to be able to say that I enjoyed this movie and was not going to make fun of it for being stupid because all you would need to do to argue against me would be to look at my DVD collection. (see: Mega Shark versus Giant Octopus. Thanks brother!) I can’t compare this Footloose to the original but I can say the moral compass of this movie offends me. Even worse, everyone will cheer for it because it’s all justified through the fact that everyone just wants to dance! And there is no way to argue against dancing in a dance movie. The only thing I can hope for is that no one really takes this seriously…
Final Grade: D- (for Dance!… minus…)