Quick Movie Review: Footloose (1984)

It’s very rare that the missus and I can decide on a movie from the instant queue to watch. It’s not that our general movie tastes are so wildly different, but that the queue is full of movies I chose, mostly horror and action movies. Well recently Footloose became available for instant watching and I added it because I had never seen it. As it turned out, neither had she, so we watched it last night while a perfectly good, brand new episode of SNL was on with Jon Hamm. Ah well, we both really enjoyed the movie, so it was worth it.

I’m sure everyone already knows the plot: Kevin Bacon moves into a small town where dancing has been outlawed thanks in part to Jon Lithgow’s Reverend Moore whose daughter is kind of a slutbag. As you might expect, Bacon falls for her and has to deal with small-minded country folk while also making some friends in the form of a young and thing Chris Penn. I was surprised with how emotionally invested I got in the movie. It’s clearly meant to play on every young person’s sense of helplessness at the hands of adult overlords, but then flips the script and gives them power to do something as simple as dancing. I’ve also got to give it to Lithgow for playing his role very evenly, not making his character too one-sided. You can understand why a man would try and outlaw the thing that contributed to the death of his son, but he at least listens to Bacon and reason and, of course, the movie ends with a dance (and a very cathartic fight right before that). The script by Dean Pitchford was written very well, leaving room where it was necessary to and creating some wonderful characters and director Herbet Ross directs the whole thing very masterfully, getting very real performances from a cast that could have easily veered into campiness. And, of course, you can’t talk about Footloose without talking about the awesome theme song played by Kenny Loggins, the master of 80s movie theme songs. I was actually dancing around the room after the movie finished, playing the song on my iTunes (I bought his greatest hits last year and it was worth every penny). The alcohol may have contributed to all that, but I’m pretty sure I’d be dancing even if hooch wasn’t involved.