But even though the 80s was known for its dance films, this one had that extra little bit of grit and edge. For starters, you had to be 15 or over to watch this movie, as it featured naughty things such as bare bum cheeks on display and a minister slapping his daughter. Radical.
The storyline was played out through the eyes of Ren McCormack, a city slicker high school kid from Chicago, who, along with his parents moved to a Bible-bashing town in the mid-west. To the rebellious young buck’s horror both music and dancing are illegal in his new dwellings. Oh say it ain’t so! This crazy ‘law’ is due to the town minister’s rigid beliefs following a freak car accident which killed a few of the town kids, after a night out dancing.
The minister and the parents in the town decide upon the ban because in their eyes rock music is obscene and promotes sexuality, and they want their kids to stay as frigid as possible.
Ren is played by Kevin Bacon, who in my opinion has a strange looking face, but the girls of the church and his high school all think he’s just ‘dreamy’. This includes the minister’s daughter Ariel (Lori Singer) and her best friend Rusty played by Sarah Jessica Parker, before she became a chain-smoking, sex columnist in Manhattan. Ren also has a side kick, the sweet and goofy Willard (Chris Penn) who can dance as well as my grandmother.
Ren sees clearly that the teenagers of the town just want to have some youthful joy in their lives, a.k.a a bit of hip-shaking, butt-swivelling, and even a bit of singing AND some innocent snogging. But they need a leader to set them on their path to moon walking and body popping. The town’s rigid regime needs to be broken and he’s the man to do it. So Ren and Willard decide to hold a dance for the town’s teenagers. All the while his eyes are set on the minister’s daughter Ariel, and it’s safe to say she is a bit of fruit loop.
Yes Ariel wears red cowboy boots, is dating the town’s resident bad boy and has legs the size of lollipop sticks. She also has a knack for giving Ren sexy lingering looks, but we soon learn she’s a bit of a nutcase. But Ren seems to find her incredibly daring and sexy.
One of the best things about Footloose is the soundtrack. Throughout the film as the youngsters either band together in the creation of their prom/dance or go against each other, we hear Let’s Hear It For The Boy by Deniece Williams as Ren thankfully teaches Willard how to dance. We also get the classic I Need A Hero by Bonnie Tyler as Ren and Ariel’s cowboy boyfriend have the famous tractor race to show off their manliness and win Ariel’s love. And then there there is the wonderful Footloose by Kenny Loggings at the final dance sequence.
Footloose is one of those movie, which albeit a little cheesy, is quite uplifting. Ren, the outsider sees how miserable the teenagers are in the town without music and dance and beats the miserable minister with a taste of his own medicine, after reciting sections from the Bible about people dancing before God. Yeah! Take that minister! God loves a good boogie too! The minister sees he’s fighting a losing battle and lets the kids have their long fought for dance, and the audience rejoices as the film ends with a brilliant dance medley.
By Natasha Smith