Sunday, August 28, 2011

Paragraph Movie Reviews: Footloose

If you don't have plans to see this movie, you can check the spoilers here and then come back.

I just watched this for the first time in 2011, so it's hard to judge it on merit and not get swayed by a mix of nostalgia and skepticism at the 80's trappings, but I felt like the stuff that was important is pretty timeless. Kevin Bacon was still poured perfectly into the role with boatloads of charisma, a ton of physical skill and the right combination of smooth cockiness with awkward nerves. John Lithgow's performance as a haunted and conflicted would-be-antagonist holds up. Chris Penn is hilarious and the most underrated part of the movie for me. The montages are pitch perfect in a way that captures the feel they were going for and revs you up. I even dig Sarah Jessica Parker in the spunky sidekick role and thought Lori Singer was solid if uneven while Dianne Wiest did a lot with what little she was given. And of course the dancing is phenomenal, as is the music. The story is a bit frustrating with so much I wish I could have actually seen taking place between scenes, most significantly Ren asking Reverend Moore if he can take Ariel to the prom and talking about their family lives, which seems like a pretty crucial moment you'd want to keep off the cutting room floor and one of the few chances to get Bacon and Lithgow on screen together one on one; but also I would have liked more just of Ren adjusting to high school and interacting with the other students (I had no idea he was one the gymnastics team at all and would have liked to actually see the plan for the dance come together or the council's verdict). I wasn't really watching Footloose for a tight plot, though; I wanted a series of feel good, kick ass highlights I can watch later on fast forward, and I got that with a movie that had everything I love about 80's formula teen movies.