You Know You Gotta Cut Loose…Footloose

Since today is my anniversary and I had already planned on taking Monday off because my parents were visiting I decided I would extend my long weekend and take today off as well. I didn’t really use it to celebrate my anniversary though since my husband was still working and he refused to do what I wanted to do in celebration, which was to go see the Footloose remake.

The original Footloose is one of my all-time favorite movies. One would think that due to that fact I would want nothing to do with a remake of it. That is exactly how I felt about the remake of The Karate Kid, the original of which I also love. However, for some reason from the moment I heard they were making this movie I was kind of excited to see it. I was a little afraid that I was totally going to regret seeing it, and that the remake would be a complete desecration of my beloved movie. Luckily that turned out not to be the case.

This movie is really a remake in the truest sense of the word. It’s pretty much an homage to the original Footloose. I would say about 75% of the movie is taken straight from the original movie from the dialogue, to the choreography, to the set design, to the staging. Some of it was exactly the same in that it almost felt like you were watching the original movie, whereas some of the dialogue was the same but was said over a different setting. The changes they made felt organic to the story and in some cases perhaps made even a little bit more sense than the way things were set in the original.

The casting for this movie was excellent. Kenny Wormald did an excellent job as Ren with just enough Kevin Bacon swagger to pay homage to the original character while still making it his own. I had a harder time appreciating Julianne Hough as Ariel at first, but by the end of the movie she had totally won me over. Miles Teller as Willard was inspired. He was like Chris Penn incarnate in this role. His looks and his accent made me almost feel like I was watching a ghost in the role. Dennis Quaid did a fair job of playing Reverend Moore, although I still like John Lithgow in the role much better. The weakest link in my opinion was Andie MacDowell as Vi Moore. She didn’t have a whole lot to do in this movie. I felt like the limited role given to that character even in the original was further diminished in the remake. I also found Dianne Wiest to be far superior in the role.

Like everything else previously mentioned it seemed they decided to use about 75% of the music from the original movie, but covered by other artists and often remade into different genres with rap and country being the prevailing musical styles of the music in the movie. I stand behind using new versions of the songs, but I wish they had followed all the way through with and used updated versions of all of the songs from the original movie instead of throwing in a few other random songs.

All in all I’m happy I went to see the movie, though it really did just want to make me rewatch the original again. I’m not really sure that it was necessary to remake Footloose, but I think they’ve done it in such a way that younger people who have never seen the original will connect with the remake while also staying so faithful to the original that those of us who love it can enjoy the journey of seeing how they’ve used it to create an updated version.

Incidentally, Footloose is the inspiration for one of my favorite episodes of Will & Grace ever, in which Jack is stalking Kevin Bacon but winds up as his assistant. I couldn’t find a clip online that I thought did the episode justice, so you will have to settle for this one that also throws in some random scenes from other episodes. It’s still pretty great though. (Sorry it appears that embedding is disabled on this clip, but I still highly recommend clicking through to watch it on YouTube).

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