Footloose (1984)

My memory of Footloose from the 1980s was that I loved the movie and that it was a load of fun, full of dancing and music. I was about halfway through the film this morning and I was surprised to find that it was not how I remembered. It still had its music and dancing, but there was not a lot more beisdes.

Beaumont is little town where the fiery town preacher (John Lithgow), whose son had died years before in an auto accident, had led the town in abolishing dancing and other perceived debaucheries. The arrival of newcomer Ren McCormick (Kevin Bacon) shook up the status quo and energized the senior class.

Footloose was a series of music videos connected by some surface level teenage melodrama and the cheese that goes with it. It is amazing how many of these kids were unbelievable dancers, especially since they have not been allowed to dance for five years. I guess that is just the power of Kenny Loggins.

Yes, Kenny Loggins’ theme song is catchy, but it is used three times in the film. There are some other good songs here, including Bonnie Tyler’s anthem, Holding Out for a Hero and the Denice Williams’ Let’s Hear it for the Boy.

However, the film does not age well. There are several scenes where we see moments that might have been okay in the 1980s but have not been acceptable since. Several scenes are left dangling and really never properly addressed. One in particular, where Ariel (Lori Singer), the daughter of Rev. Moore, breaks up with her boyfriend and he beats her up. There was no consequence of that scene and there was no effect of it either.

Kevin Bacon puts himself on the map here, helping kick off a career where he becomes a party game (Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon). He is fine here and he moves well.

There is a story arc involving the death of Rev. Moore’s son and how Ariel is responding to that memory, but it goes away without any real significance because they can now dance. There are two scenes that showed how downright careless Ariel is with her life and this is just cured with dancing.

Montages tied together with teen drama. I was quite surprised when I found myself not as impressed as I was when I was younger.

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