Everybody cut. Everybody cut. Everybody cut Footloose (1984). I get. I finally get. I understand exactly why this movie is still so popular. It’s kind of like a less sexy Dirty Dancing. Don’t get me wrong, Footloose is perfectly sexy, it’s just Kevin Bacon is no Patrick Swayze. This movie did everything right to cement itself as a teen classic.
The first thing this movie did right was with the plot. If you don’t know, Footloose stars Kevin Bacon as a city teen who moves to a small town where dancing, yes dancing, is illegal. Now, I know absolutely nothing about governing a small town in the ‘80s. But it seems like out lawing dancing would be pretty hard. Regardless, this town did. Kevin Bacon’s Ren does not like this. He loves dancing. He makes it his mission to change this town’s mind and get it to dance. Now what this movie did was smart. It appealed to the innate desire of teenagers to rebel against their parents while still making the film appeal to those parents who are being rebelled against. A lot of films appeal to teenage rebellion by showing them drinking and smoking, which stricter parents would not like. But this film has teens rebel by simply dancing, which is cool with most parents. Teenagers get to watch the movie and get to vicariously live their dream of rebelling against their parents while the parents get to watch the movie and continue to fool themselves in thinking the worst their kids are doing is dancing. It’s honestly genius. I mean, I’m still talking about it now, so it must have worked. The other thing this movie did right was the music.
Much like Dirty Dancing and other teen films from the same time, Footloose has an iconic soundtrack. Kenny Loggins’ “Footloose”? That is still played on the radio today. For good reason too. It’s a great song to dance to. This film also plays “Waiting for a Girl Like You” by Foreigner, “Let’s Hear It for the Boy” by Deniece Williams, and “Hurts So Good” by John Mellencamp throughout the movie. Also, who could forget “Never” by Moving Pictures, which was played during the fantastic scene where Ren goes to an abandoned factory to dance away his frustrations, it’s incredible. I would also be remised if I didn’t mention “Holding Out for a Hero” by Bonnie Tyler. Now, my generation knows the song from Shrek 2 but I have a feeling we have to thank this movie for keeping that iconic song in people’s heads long enough to put it my personal favorite animated movie. Thank you Footloose.
I’m not sure what else there is to say. Footloose is just a fun movie. At the end, when dancing is finally allowed again, I found myself wishing that my senior prom was more like the movie’s, with everyone dancing around having a good time. Watch, doesn’t it looks like a lot of fun?
With a plot acceptable by everyone and soundtrack that is nothing short of iconic, Footloose (1984) has more then earned its place in American Pop Culture history. I give it 7 extended angst fueled dance sequences out of 10.