Footloose. The film that is almost entirely responsible for why Kevin Bacon is still doing adverts in 2016.
But what is Footloose? How many people have actually watched it, and how many just remember the song and the dancing and have forgotten the rest of it? Surely it’s time someone went back and reviewed the plot again?
Perhaps, but no-one deserves that kind of punishment. Luckily, I have a tool up my sleeve to help with this. The Plot Summary section of the Wikipedia entry.
Before you read this, go back and read the original version of this feature, for the Britney Spears film Crossroads (here), then come back so we can talk about Footloose.
Done? Cool. Let’s crack on, courtesy of Wikipedia:
“Ren McCormack, a teenager raised in Chicago, moves with his mother to the small town of Bomont to live with his aunt and uncle. Soon after arriving, Ren befriends Willard Hewitt, and from him learns the city council has banned dancing and rock music”
So far, so normal! Just a town that has banned dancing. NBD.
Quick question: what’s weirder here, that a town has banned dancing, or that his name is “Ren”?
“He soon begins to fall for a rebellious teenage girl named Ariel, who has an abusive boyfriend, Chuck Cranston, and a strict father, Shaw Moore, who is a reverend of the local church. After trading insults with Chuck, Ren is challenged to a game of chicken involving tractors.”
As you do.
“Despite having never driven one before, he wins.”
How much of a moron do you have to be to challenge someone to a game of chicken with tractors against someone who has never driven a tractor before and lose? If I’m challenging someone to a game of chicken using mother*cking tractors I’m sure as sh*t making sure I win.
“Rev. Moore distrusts Ren, and he grounds Ariel, forbidding her to see him.”
Yeah, Ren is dangerous. He dances. You’re better off with the guy who plays games with tractors (and loses).
“Ren and his classmates want to do away with the no dancing law and have a senior prom. He drives Ariel, Willard, and Ariel’s best friend, Rusty, to a country bar about 100 miles away from Bomont…”
Oh, also, the names of the characters are Ren, Ariel, Willard and Rusty. If I’m a studio exec I’m blacklisting the film based on that alone, before I’ve even found out it’s about a town that bans f*cking dancing.
“…to experience the joy and freedom of dancing, but once there, Willard is unable to dance. With a little help from Ren, he eventually catches on. Ren goes before the city council and reads several Bible verses to cite scriptural support for the worth of dancing to rejoice, exercise, or celebrate”
Is it just me, or does this sound like it’s written by a Japanese robot that has been poorly programmed to understand human behavior?
“Although Reverend Moore is moved, the council votes against him. Vi, Moore’s wife, is supportive of the movement and explains to Moore that he cannot be everyone’s father and that he is hardly being a father to Ariel. She also says that dancing and music are not the problem. Moore feels betrayed that even his wife does not believe in him even though she assures him that she always did.”
It’s fascinating to me that in the space of 17 years, we went from a film classified as a 12 about people having earnest conversations about the ethics of legalizing DANCING, to a family-friendly PG about rape, miscarriage and kidnapping aimed at young girls.
“Despite further discussion with Ren about his own family losses in comparison to Moore’s losses and Ariel’s opening up about her own sinful past, even going so far as to admit that she has had relations…”
“…Moore cannot bring himself to change his stance because his son Bobby was killed in a car crash, resulting in banning music and dancing in the community.”
That’s a reasonable jump to make.
What did Bobby do, host a nightclub in his car?
“Soon, however, he has a change of heart after seeing some of the townsfolk burning books that they think are dangerous to the youth. Realizing the situation has gotten out of hand, Moore stops the burning.”
“I was just trying to stop children from dancing, I didn’t mean for people to make rash decisions!”
Seriously, that paragraph is in the top 5 most batsh*t crazy things I’ve ever seen. And that’s without even considering the use of “townsfolk” and “the youth”, as if this review was written in the 1930s.
“The following Sunday, Moore asks his congregation to pray for the high school students putting on the prom which is set up at a grain mill outside of the town limits. Shaw and Vi are seen outside, dancing for the first time in years.”
A grain mill! What’s wrong with a hall like a normal bunch of people? I don’t think dancing is the problem, it’s that you insist on people doing them in these incredibly dangerous locations.
That’s the ending. Problem solved, apparently. The reverend dances outside having seen the error of his ways while twelve children get stuck in the machinery of the grain mill and they get on with their lives.
What a strange f*cking film.
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