I’ll be honest. I wasn’t expecting much from the remake of Footloose. If you read my ridiculous assumptions about the trailer based on the trailers, you probably already knew this. So when Ally and I (you know Ally; we have a podcast) decided to see Footloose, we went to mostly snark at it. While the scene-for-scene remake is definitely snark worthy, there are some things worth mentioning about Footloose.
1. That opening scene + the sloppiest kegger ever
The opening scene flashes back to the night of the tragic accident that lead Bomont to instill a curfew for anyone under the age of 18 and ban public dancing. Bomont’s finest are partying the night away to the sweet sounds of Kenny Loggins’ “Footloose”. (Nice homage to the original movie, Craig Brewer.) As the song progresses, the drinking gets out of control. There are solo cups everywhere. My first thought was, “These country kids don’t know how to drink.” My second thought was, “Man, I wish I went to a kegger like this high school.”
Now imagine if you are one of the few souls who never saw the original movie. (In this scenario you are also probably a 13-year-old girl.) The song sucks you into the party scene and you think it is a roaring good time. Until (spoiler alert) a car accident kills five teenagers just as the song reaches its coda. This would actually surprise you and make you instantly invested in what will happen in Footloose.
2. Kenny Wormald is not Kevin Bacon, Julianne Hough is not Lori Singer.
The downside of having seen the original movie more than once is that you immediately recognize how Kenny Wormald and Julianne Hough don’t quite match up to Kevin Bacon and Lori Singer. They’re great dancers but not so great actors. But Miles Teller and Ziah Colon as Willard and Rusty are a step up from Chris Penn and SJP. Go figure.
3. Holy diversity!
In many movies geared towards teenagers, high school is depicted as this dark, depressing place filled with mean girls. Only the pretty white kids get speaking parts. Not Bomont High School. This might be the most diverse and relatively accepting high school in any movie ever. None of the minority characters are overt stereotypes and everyone is treated fairly. They just act and dress the way teenagers act and dress. (For the most part.) It’s impressive.
4. The best line
Jumping off that point, I can absolutely get behind this version of Footloose for one more reason: this exchange between Ren McCormack and Ariel’s idiot boyfriend:
Ariel’s idiot boyfriend: I thought only fags were into gymnastics.
Ren: I thought only assholes still used the word ‘fag’.
Ren McCormack just schooled this jerk and every kid watching this movie on why that derogatory slur is unacceptable. Footloose is, as far I can tell, the first movie to make the point loud and clear.
5. This movie could have used a little Mike Chang
Sure the dancing scenes were enjoyable though I saw more of Julianne Hough’s ass than I ever wanted to see. (And I watch Dancing with the Stars regularly.) But I was left pining for two things during the final dance scene: a cameo by Kevin Bacon (if only) and a little Mike Chang. Everything in life can always use a little Mike Chang.
My final verdict on Footloose: The remake flushes out some of the plot points (why dancing is banned in first place) that aren’t explained in the original . But the two leads are no Kevin Bacon and Lori Singer. Despite that, Footloose is enjoyable. But maybe not for someone like me because the story and dialogue will always be cheesy. (You’re my rebel child? Come on.)
Here’s the thing. The theater I was in was filled with excited pre-teens, who loved this movie. Afterwards Ally and I passed a group of girls, standing in a circle singing “Footloose”. Teenagers will love this updated version. Better yet, Craig Brewer tossed in a relatively subtle message of tolerance and acceptance. In this age of cyber-bullying and all the things that make me glad I went to high school before social media, you need as much of that from the movies as you can get.
I also want Andie MacDowell’s hair.
What did you think of Footloose? Loved the remake or are you pining for the original? Sound off below.