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Teen Movie Critic - V



Jeff Nelson

If you're alright with the extreme amount of cheese that's provided here, then you should have a good time with Footloose.

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In 1984, the film Footloose was released. Despite the fact that it has now been 28 years, the movie still holds a strong impact on the media. There are a huge amount of references and copy cats out there that still make Footloose very relevant, even though it was released quite some time ago. With so many pieces of cinema and television being inspired by it, one would think that it's a marvelous classic. It actually wasn't received very well due to the ubiquitous storyline and unconvincing progressions. Putting aside these reviewers, it still defined a generation.

Ren McCormack, a decidedly urban teen who arrives to a small Midwestern town where dancing is outlawed. Recruiting his best pal, the quiet Willard, and his girlfriend, a clergyman's daughter, Ren starts a revolution by moving to the beat. From the get go, the plot is extremely predictable and quite ridiculous. It doesn't make very much sense that not very much attention is drawn towards the drinking and the smoking, although dancing is seen as absolute evil. This is the furthest I'm going to go into analyzing the story because I understand that it isn't meant to be a thought-provoking piece of cinema, but I just found that to be stretching the audience's mind on what would be realistic. However, it's rather clear that the filmmakers try to pull its viewers into the characters to care about them and to make us get the desire to tap our feet and hum to the music. For the most part, the first part fails. The music is catchy and definitely gets stuck in your head, but it fails at convincing us of the story and the characters. The clergyman's development from a strict and bitter man to a sweet and caring one feels utterly forced and unconvincing. The so-called 'love' between Ren and his girlfriend doesn't feel very real either. At the end of the day, we have a lot of quick cuts, music, and a completely unoriginal story with a screenplay that is a bit of a mess. Since this movie is meant to be seen with switching off the mind and simply having a good time, I tried to put the many, many flaws of the script out of my mind and enjoy what I could.

There isn't a large cast attached to Footloose, but we have been provided with two actors that have proven the talent they posses in other features. Kevin Bacon is Ren McCormack. He does just fine with the character, but don't expect to see anything close to some of the other performances he has given in his more recent motion pictures. Lori Singer is McCormack's girlfriend, Ariel Moore, and she gives an average performance. The chemistry between the two actors is lacking quite a bit. The emotions between them appears to come out of nowhere and we're expected to believe that this 'love' is genuine.. John Lithgow is Reverend Shaw Moore. He's a wonderful actor, but don't expect to see too much of that here. Despite the fact that he has a large amount of talent, the character he has been provided clearly doesn't provide him with enough to work with. The character is formulaic and unconvincing, therefore there wasn't very much that Lithgow could have done. Considering the material that he's been given, he does a decent enough job. The problem here isn't as much the actors as much as it is the source material. They weren't given the right notes to be able to provide the best of his or her skills.

The two biggest reasons that Footloose became so well-known for so many years are the visuals and the music. If you're curious about the visuals and haven't seen Footloose, then think of an MTV music video with blaring audio. There are a lot of quick cuts that actually become quite irritating. During the opening credits, there's a dance sequence of showing only the dancers' feet with the title song playing over it. This has most certainly been utilized in a lot of more recent cinema and television. There are multiple songs that make you tap your feet along and you'll find yourself humming it after watching it. Footloose deserves its two Oscar nominations for the music. When it comes to the rest of the dancing sequences, they're very well-known by the filming style. The audio transfer is actually stronger than I thought it would be. It's rather rare for movies made at this time to sound so clear. Don't expect a perfect transfer from this, but the surrounds successfully immerse the audience in the music.

Even after heavily criticizing it, Footloose is still an enjoyable feature. The plot is extremely formulaic, cliché, and generic, but a powerful storyline isn't what one would watch Footloose to find. It's a fun movie that utilizes the music and dance sequences rather well. I would have liked to see more dancing placed in this film, but what's there is good. If you're alright with the extreme amount of cheese that's provided here, then you should have a good time with Footloose. Make sure to switch off your mind, relax, and enjoy it for what it is.

My Rating = Three Stars

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