Ever since I first hear rumbles about a Footloose remake a couple of years ago, I made the conscious choice to ignore it. And I've been able to do that, through the Zac Efron and Chace Crawford rumors, through the talk of turning it into a musical. I've simply pretended it didn't exist, and that was comforting.
But then as I was in the theater waiting for Crazy, Stupid, Love to start, the trailer for the Footless remake found me, and rudely intruded into my life. And I no longer feel I can ignore this travesty. Indeed I feel that my conscience has been stirred, and that to stay silent while this evil dances and shimmies its way into the world would be just as bad as if I had made the horrid thing myself.
This is happening. And honestly I don't even know where to start when trying to pin down just why this remake is such a violation of all that is holy and good in our world.
It could be the fact that both Zac Efron and CHASE FREAKING CRAWFORD, the dumb pretty, vacant boy from Gossip Girl decided they were too good for this. Have you seen Chase Crawford in any movies? I mean really have you? I sure haven't. And yet despite the fact that he doesn't appear to be making any movies at all, he passed on this thing.
It could also be the fact that the lead actress is Julianne Hough, the girl from Dancing with the Stars.
But those reasons only scratch the surface of why this movie looks so shiteous. The boy who plays Ren has such a terrible, God forsakingly bad Northern accent that for long stretches of the preview I thought they had made Ren foreign. I'm not even going to address his bouffant, or the fact that he wears the SAME TUX to the dance that Kevin Bacon wore 25 YEARS ago, because it's too upsetting. The movie appears to be set in modern day, juding by the bumping and grinding that has now taken the place of the beyond awesome 80s dancing in the first movie, and yet half the costumes are IDENTICAL to the costumes worn by the original characters. Ren drives the same car, wears the same outfits to school, and even does his angry, warehouse dance routine in the same outfit. I don't know if the producers were going with nostalgia with this, but it just looks ridiculous. There is not a single (straight) teenage boy alive in 2011 who wears tight jeans and tight white tank top. Kevin Bacon pulled it off but it was 1984 and he was KEVIN FREAKING BACON. It also seems that some exact scenes and exact bits of dialogue are recreated. Basically it looks like they half-heartedly moved the action to modern time without making the effort to match the sets or the clothing or anything really to it. Which not simply begs, but pleads and screams the question we should all be asking ourselves, WHY?
WHY, WHY, WHY did they think they needed to remake Footloose. Why touch a movie that is so good, perfect in fact? There is no replacement for the Bacon or SJP or as much as I love Dennis Quaid, John Lithgow. No one could ever match the joyous, wonderfully illogical dance sequence at the end of the first film where all these kids who are not allowed to dance know all of the latest dance moves, including complex break dancing. No one could be as sweet as Chris Penn.
I know everyone who loved an original movie howls in injustice when they remake it, and it is possible to remake a movie and have it be good. But shouldn't there always be a reason behind the remake besides simply making money? I almost could live with this if they had made it into a musical, because then at least it's not just some pale, lesser copy that will (and here's the really tragic thing) take the place for young kids today of the original.
Footloose was one of those movies you thought would never be updated, because it existed on that cusp of the past and the present, back in a time when it wasn't laugable that a town would outlaw dancing or burn records. Footloose was about dirty dancing before dancing was dirty. Looking back on it now, despite the fights and the occasional sex talk, it's touchingly innocent. The kids race each other on tractors for God's sake. Kevin Bacon and Lori Singer only exchange chaste kisses. The whole point of the movie is that you can't stop change. It rushes forward and kids rush toward it, no matter what the adults try to do. But at least in this pre-Jersey Shore. pre sex-ting, pre internet bullying film, that change was shimmering, unthreatening, and beautiful. It was a bunch of kids in a basement dancing until they were flushed in the face.
And that, more than anything, is what they can't replicate in this film, the sweet last days of childhood when kids think everything in front of them is new and unexplored and are literally bursting out of their skin to get to it. Not to get all "kids today", but I can't help but feel that really kids today don't experience that in the same way, because there's no way to really shelter a child in today's world short of holing them up in a cave somewhere.
Which is really depressing. But luckily when I think of such things I can go watch a wonderful movie like Footloose to cheer myself up. My only hope is that this false intruder, this putrid waste of film, dissapears as quickly as it came. And who knows? Maybe it will inspire kids to rent (do people rent movies anymore?)/ download the old one, the real one, and see a world they have probably never known.