Footloose

You can get from John Lithgow to Debra Winger to Richard Gere to Jennifer Lopez to Ryan Seacrest to Julianne Hough.
or
from Michael Penn to Sean Penn to James Franco to Tobey McGuire to Dennis Quaid
or even
Kenny Loggins to Jim Messina to Anne Murray to um….?

Okay, I can’t do that one, because there is no way to get from Kenny Loggins to anyone relevant. But the six degrees of separation game always leads back to the same person and I think we all know who that is. And he is not in this movie. Welcome to Footloose, the New Millenium!

I’m sure there is some eyrolling going on out there in cyberspace, as in “Why the hell would anyone want to see this movie?” First of all, it’s a musical, and we must always support the attempts by Hollywood to bring us the completely American art form that is known as musical theatre. Even if it’s done badly, we must still support this. And I needed to go somewhere safe after my ordeal with Paranormal Activity 3.

One really can’t discuss Footloose 2011 without referencing Footloose 1984, because one would not exist without the other. The 1984 version had the Kenny Loggins title song with the dancing feet, the “angry” dance and Lori Singer’s red cowboy boots. Oh, yeah, it had that Bacon dude, too. The 2011 version has the title song (sung by Kenny Loggins as well as Blake Shelton), another angry dance and Lori Singer’s red cowboy boots as worn by Julianne Hough. But instead of Mr. Six Degrees, it has a young unknown dancer named Kenny Wormald (who looks a lot like a young Paul Reiser, who was in Diner with you-know-who). And he can actually dance, which was kind of a foreign concept to the first one.

It also has Dennis Quaid playing the grief-stricken reverend who cancels all public dancing because it clearly leads to the devil’s work. Quaid is marginally more sympathetic than John Lithgow was in the original, because Lithgow was just plain crazy and seemed like he was moments away from rolling around with snakes. Each movie spells out clearly what will happen to your town should the Tea Party ever take control of the government.

I can’t say that one version is better than the other, because frankly, this is a really stupid plot. I have trouble envisioning today’s teen-agers wanting to dance to an old Kenny Loggins tune, even if has been updated and gone country. I’m guessing the audience for this movie is the same one who watched it in the eighties who are hoping to relive a little of their youth when their hair was much bigger. And when the first guitar chords of that opening number rang out and those dancing feet started, I have to admit I got a little misty-eyed remembering the outfit I wore with the shoulder pads when I saw it. I always liked shoulder pads because of the way they balanced out my hips.

My big hope is that teenagers standing around the lobby waiting to get into R rated pseudo reality horror flicks will see the poster for this film and finally realize that if the Foot is Loose, it is spelled with two Os, not one. They have nothing to lose and we have everything to gain, and the movie will have performed a valuable service.

Barf Bag Rating: ZERO BAGS And after they learn the difference between “loose” and “lose”, they can move on to There Will Be Blood, where they will learn that Their Will Be Blood and They’re Will Be Blood are three entirely different films.

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