Monday, October 31, 2011

At the Movies: Footloose

Oh, Footloose.  That quintessential tale of teenage rebellion.  Who could resist its conflicts between country and city, church and state, and authority and freedom?  Apparently not me because despite not being a huge fan of the original, I found myself queuing up for the remake.

This time breakout star Kenny Wormald fills Kevin Bacon's dancing shoes (sorry, I couldn't help myself) as Ren MacCormack, the city boy who moves to the small southern town of Bomont where dancing is a crime.  Armed with an attitude, Ren goes head to head with the man, who literally happens to be Minister Moore (Dennis Quaid), a key enforcer of the anti-dancing law and the father of Ariel Moore (Julianne Hough), the good girl-gone-bad with whom he's smitten.  Exploding cars compete with even more explosive dance numbers as Ren fights to free Ariel from her race car-driving redneck boyfriend and Bomont from its funk.  The highlight is Wormald's version of Bacon's iconic warehouse dance scene.  Infused with all the righteous teenage indignation of his predecessor, Ren number two busts out gymnastics moves to the rhythm of an appropriately updated iPod.  Anger never looked so good.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the remake is a little edgier than the original.  There's definitely more sex, as well as a deeper exploration of death.  Still, the original retains a melancholy all its own, as well as its signature 1980s appeal.  This is why I think Kevin Bacon was smart to decline making a cameo.  Such a move would have been a little cheesy.  (And speaking of Kevin, did anyone happen to catch that old "Will & Grace" episode where Jack [Sean Hayes] stalks Kevin only to have the star invite him in and signal the Footloose theme song with the clap of his hands?  Hilarious.) 

Finally, I can't very well write a post about Footloose without commenting on the dancing.  It was good.  Darned impressive.  And that comes from someone whose dance skills fall somewhere in line with those of "Seinfeld's" Elaine.              

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