Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Footloose (1984)

Footloose needs no introduction. It’s Footloose. If you haven’t heard of the movie where Kevin Bacon shows an all-white cast that dancing is, well, the best thing in the world, then you're probably too busy saving the galaxy to have noticed and need an explanation. Ren McCormack stars as Kevin Bacon, a 26-year old high school student who loves dancing but is relocated to Bomont, a town that hates dancing, because his father left his mother (presumably because he too hated dancing). Kevin Bacon’s solution to this problem? The nanobots will answer that below!
  • Footloose starts quite literally with feet cutting loose to the song "Footloose." = +4pts 
  • Reverend John Lithgow sweatily decries rock music and pornography while his parishioners paint their nails and try to keep their kids awake. = -3pts 
  • A semi-truck nearly kills the Reverend’s daughter, Ariel, and all of her friends when she decides to ride in both a car and a truck at the same time. = -6pts 
  • Kevin Bacon admits to enjoying Slaughterhouse Five and is immediately vilified by the townsfolk. = -3pts 
  • Awkwardly dancing to ‘80s electro-pop is so contagious that even the guy flipping burgers can’t resist getting busting a groove. = +5pts 
  • Pac-Man’s death knell syncs perfectly to Reverend John Lithgow putting an immediate halt to all loosened feet. = +2pts 
  • Kevin Bacon becomes BFFs with local bumpkin Willard after bumping into him and then insulting his hat. = +6pts 
  • Willard gets boneranged with a totally bogus tale of the time Kevin Bacon totally didn’t have hot sex with a girl. = +4pts 
  • ‘80s or not, “Jump back” is always a viable response when someone tells you that dancing in town is illegal. = +3pts 
  • Having a “Who’s on first?” conversation about Men at Work and The Police that ends in Kevin Bacon getting a ticket. = -5pts 
  • Fact: Kevin Bacon has jumbo coconut balls. = +2pts 
  • A conversation that most Chicagoans can attest to having: “Where ya from?” “Chicago.” "You’re not stupid, are ya?” = -4pts 
  • While dancing is illegal, men’s gymnastics is still totally fine. = -6pts (This seems suspect) 
  • There’s no question that “Holding Out for a Hero” was written specifically for the scene where Kevin Bacon beats Chuck, the local douchebag, in a game of tractor chicken. That hero is, of course, Kevin Bacon's shoelace. = +11pts 
  • Kids: don’t deal drugs at school, because your teacher will immediately know about it and then chase you into the boys room. = -4pts 
  • I wish we were watching whatever cartoon Kevin Bacon’s cousins were watching. That panda caught a football! = +6pts 
  • Kevin Bacon is so angry with his home life that he starts smoking, drinking, listening to rock music, and dancing (with a very unnecessary emphasis on the dancing) all at the same time. Rebellion, thy name is Bacon. = +7pts 
  • We see not one, not two, not three, but a whopping five rewinds of Kevin Bacon’s stunt double leaping into the air. = -5pts (one for each rewound leap) 
  • “You’ve been kissed a lot” is a cutesy small-town way of saying that you’re a dirty whore. = +3pts 
  • At what point is Ariel’s reckless behavior identified as mental illness so that she can get the help that she needs? = -7pts (As an aside, “Screaming at Trains” is the name of your new favorite post-jazz death-surf-rock group.) 
  • Using Family Feud as an argument that living in a small town isn’t as primitive as can be. = +4pts 
  • Everyone cuts footloose until a hillbilly cuts fistloose on Willard’s face. = -6pts 
  • ‘80s alert: homoerotic locker room shower scene. = +3pts 
  • Teaching a good ol’ boy how to dance montage! =+10pts with +5 bonus points for having the montage set to “Let’s Hear It For the Boys.” Total score = +15pts 
  • Ariel’s untreated bipolar disorder gets her in trouble once again, this time with a severe beating from Chuck. = -12pts 
  • For coming to her rescue, Ariel rewards Kevin Bacon with her box; her music box. = +3pts 
  • Even while playing a timid church-wife, Dianne Wiest can’t help but laugh at John Lithgow’s line about dancing leading to sexual irresponsibility. = +6pts 
  • Kevin Bacon breaks down the walls separating church and state by using examples of biblical footloosery to oppose the anti-dancing ban. = +7pts 
  • John Lithgow may hate dancing and his daughter’s sinful behavior, but he’s not going to abide by the nefarious act of book-burning! = +4pts (Reminds this technician of the time the Joker realized the Red Skull wasn't just pretending to be a Nazi.
  • You can practically hear Dianne Wiest’s church-panties moisten upon hearing her husband indirectly approve of the senior prom. Hot. = +7pts 
  • Regardless of any dancing bans, teenagers will still stand around awkwardly when a slow song comes on. = +2pts 
  • Ten bucks says that the guy who picked his nose and nonchalantly wiped the booger on his powder blue dress pants gets to at least second base with his prom date. = -4pts 
  • Chuck and his cronies learn the hard way never to pick a fight with a male gymnast and his burly redneck sidekick. = +7pts 
  • No matter what year, nothing gets a party going like Kevin Bacon and glitter. = +10pts 

  • Ending Footloose with everyone cutting footloose to the song "Footloose" is the ‘80s equivalent of giving a cat a cheeseburger. = +15pts
Total Score = +71pts
Available on: Netflix streaming, Blu-Ray, and VHS at your neighbor’s garage sale

For a movie packaged as a goofy teen drama, Footlose is embarrassingly entertaining. That said, the movie could just as easily have been marketed as a cautionary tale aimed at overprotective parents.

John Lithgow’s character is portrayed as the villain, but tragically so. After his son died from too much screwing around, he thought that he only way to prevent this from happening to anyone else was to rally the town together to ban screwing around. As a result, he pushed away his wife, created some serious daddy issues in his mentally unhinged daughter, and turned the townsfolk into book-burning zealots.

While Kevin Bacon is seen as the hero for rekindling Bomont’s youth culture, he really should be hailed the hero for helping to show John Lithgow the error in his overprotective ways and helped the town save itself from its own insecurities. Or maybe the nanobots are thinking too deeply about a movie named after a song (or vice-versa). The next time you’re going to kick off your Sunday shoes and cut footloose, do so with a scorecard (and with pity in your heart for John Lithgow).

Score Technician: TJ Geise

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