Two Cranky Guys Cut ‘Footloose’ Down
Bruce Fretts: Kick off your Sunday shoes, Bret—it’s time to cut Footloose! Again. Yes, they’ve dared to remake Kevin Bacon’s ’80s dance flick. The question is: Is everything better with Bacon?
Bret Watson: This movie is a testament to the American dream, that anyone, no matter how devoid of talent, can take someone else’s old idea, strip it of charm, load it down with hackneyed dialogue, and get it turned into a Hollywood movie. In clods we trust.
Bruce: Sounds like you enjoyed it compared to me. I hated it even more than the original, which represented everything loathsome about American movies of the ’80s (my least favorite cinematic decade by far)—the influence of music videos, the lack of character development, the simpleminded storylines. But at least it had Kevin Bacon. This one gives us… Kenny Wormald. Kenny Wormald, ladies and gentlemen! (Cue the crickets.)
Bret: It’s as if someone tried to rebuild James Dean while following a badly translated manual. You’d think they’d find someone who can actually dance with flair, but he seems to be mainly a gymnast who can pirouette and throw his arms around a lot. Maybe they should have called it Armloose.
Bruce: Apparently using his own horribly grating Boston accent, the justifiably unknown actor plays Ren MacCormack, a “sarcastic Yankee” who moves to a tiny Georgia town where public dancing among teenagers is banned. So of course, he’s gotta cut loose…as I did less than an hour into this brutally hackneyed movie.
Bret: Oh crap: You bailed while I felt compelled to sit through it, thinking that you were sitting through it? I call foul!
Bruce: I got a phone call and had to leave the theater, and my feet literally would not carry me back inside. I despised what I saw of this film. Wormald is matched in ineptitude by the female lead, Julianne Hough, who should stick to Dancing With the Stars and leave acting to the pros. She’s no Lori Singer. She not even Lori Loughlin.
Bret: I didn’t see the original. I thought, Let me judge this movie on its own merits. Well, it has almost none. The one thing you’d expect from Footloose is lots of good music and great dancing. But the music mostly sucks, and the dancing scenes are short and unexciting. Part of it is that the director loves shooting dancing people from the waist up. Because who wants to see footwork in dance scenes? That’s so Fred Astaire. Yawn.
Bruce: I don’t get the nostalgia for the original. I’ve seen critics refer to it as a “classic.” It is, was, and always will be schlock. But if this does well at the box office—and I suspect it will—we’re going to see lots of other ’80s crap recycled. They’re already working on a reboot of Top Gun. Shoot me now.
Bret: Does the original have the same premise, whereby a Yankee boy gets to explore a wide range of Southern clichés? The redneck with the race car? The demolition derby with buses? The set-in-their-ways town fathers? Line dancing, God help us?
Bruce: He’s from Chicago in the original, so there wasn’t quite the same blue state-red state clash. And somehow it was more believable during the Reagan Era that a town would ban dancing among teens. This one justifies it by having five teenagers die in a fiery car crash after attending a dance. So they blame it on the boogie, not the booze?
Bret: One Southern cliché they left out was the populace fattened by fried food. All of the girls in this town look like someone shrink-wrapped skin onto skeletons.
Bruce: Yes, these Footloose teens apparently aren’t eating footlongs. Or bacon. Mmmmm, bacon. It always comes back to bacon. The remake wastes talented actors like Dennis Quaid and Andie MacDowell as Hough’s uptight parents and Deadwood vets Ray McKinnon and Kim Dickens as Wormald’s uncle and aunt.
Bret: I like Quaid, and there was a perverse fascination in seeing him working mightily to elevate dramatic scenes where every line is a tired retread. Consider this snappy dialogue from a scene with Hough, who looks like Jennifer Aniston‘s little sister with android eyes, and her best friend, who looks like Cher‘s more toothsome younger sister: Friend: That boy is so cute! Hough: You say that about all the boys. Friend: But he is so cute! Somebody alert the Academy that the best screenplay Oscar is in the bag.
Bruce: Unfortunately, I did catch that scintillating exchange before I walked out. Did I miss anything else worth mentioning? Let me guess: Rev. Quaid sees the error of his ways and has a tearful reconciliation with his daughter, and she dances off into the sunset with Ren?
Bret: How’d you guess? The tearful father-daughter scene includes lines like, “You’re my angel” and “You have no idea how hard it is for me to let you walk out that door.” That’s one of the better lines. By the way, the Cher-ish friend, named Rusty, is played by Ziah Colon. I bet she’s glad she’s not known as Rusty Colon.
Bruce: Especially since that’s already your nickname.
Bret: I thought that was the name of your proctologist. When did you last see him? You should let him look you up. That would be in the movie Stoolloose.
Bruce: You told me you thought Dr. Colon was cute. But you say that about all the proctologists. I’d rather endure a prolonged rectal exam than be forced to sit through another minute of Footloose.
Bret: My own proctologist seems pretty impressed with the condition of my nether regions. Every time I see him he exclaims, “What an asshole!”
Bruce: You’re on fire tonight! But the ointment will clear that up.
Bret: Is that what that stuff is for? I thought it was toothpaste.
Bruce: That’s why they call you Toothloose.
Does the new Footloose have a leg up on the original? Post a comment, and Two Cranky Guys will respond!
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