Why I Liked Footloose

Friday afternoon, after I got back from my overnight trip to the mountains in Arkansas, I decided to go see Footloose.  Since I tend to love cheesy movies that involve dancing (Center Stage, Save the Last Dance, Step Up, etc.), I figured this would be right up my alley.  And I was totally right.  Here are a few specific things I loved about this version of Footloose:

1. The director/writer is from Memphis.  He lives here and works here and most of his movies are set in the South or in Memphis itself.  He loves the city, so you should go support him and see this movie  :)

2. The cast was super-diverse, and not just in a black-white sense.  Obviously, all the main characters are very pretty people (this is a movie), but if you look at the background people, they look, well, normal.  I noticed this particularly in the high school scenes and at the city council meeting.  The teenagers, for the most part, look like teenagers and the fat kids aren’t typical “fat kids” – they’re dressed in normal, cute clothes, acting like normal people.

3. The crazy religious people weren’t quite so crazy.  Dennis Quaid’s character isn’t upholding all these crazy laws because he’s a Bible-thumper; he’s doing it because he’s a grieving parent who doesn’t want to see anybody else get hurt.  That’s more realistic and more sympathetic than John Lithgow’s character in the original.  Plus, Ren isn’t painted as being anti-church, just anti-hypocrisy and anti-legalism.  Religion isn’t the punching bag in the movie, which was really refreshing.

4. Ren is a great character.  I never really realized it before, and I do have to give some credit for the realization to Craig Brewer’s comments in this interview, but Ren is a stand-up guy.  He’s not rebelling just for the sake of rebelling.  He sees something he thinks is wrong, and then he goes through the proper channels to try and change it.  He treats the people around him with respect, which is how he is able to get some of the adults on his side in the end.  Much as religion isn’t the punching bag, adults aren’t the punching bag either.  It’s more about adults and teenagers working together to do what’s best for a community.

5. The movie is just plain fun.  There’s good music, lots of dancing, and plenty of funny moments courtesy of the main characters’ friends, Willard and Rusty.

Yes, I know it’s cheesy.  Yes, I know, it doesn’t have Kevin Bacon.  But it’s an entertaining movie and as long as you’re not one of those people who takes themselves way too seriously, you should go see it.

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