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I enjoy bad movies, and enjoy bad remakes even more. So when the
opportunity to get advanced passes to the atrocious looking remake of
Footloose came, I pounced on them just out of the sheer will to see
what kind of monstrosity Craig Brewer and company came up with. The
film had gone through a number of changes, and had plenty of room to
improve on the original. Sadly, I do not think there was ever any hope
After a horrific accident takes the lives of five high school seniors, the town of Bomont, Tennessee outlaws a number of activities for the teenage populace including dancing. Enter Ren McCormack (Kenny Wormald), a city kid and distinct outsider to the close knit Bomont townspeople. He is confused by the bans, and after making a few new friends, sets out to get them abolished.
While the nostalgia factor may cloud the memories of some people, the original Footloose is really nothing more than a fun diversion packed alongside an absolutely infectious soundtrack that is still great even today. It is a fairly silly film really, but with the help of Kevin Bacon's 1984-era charm and charisma, the film remains a wildly enjoyable film. Yet somehow, in remaking the film for an audience in 2011, it seems like the filmmakers missed more than a few steps along the way.
Now I will be the first to admit that this new remake does have a handful of fun scenes and astonishing dance choreography. The trailers do a good job of showing off just how great some of the dance moves are from this new cast, but what it does not let on too much is that most of these scenes come when they are replicating scenes from the original film. I basked in the glory of hearing Kenny Loggins blasting, while watching the various pairs of feet dancing to the beat. And seeing Willard (Miles Teller) learning how to dance is one of the highlights of the film, much like it is the original film. A key dance sequence late in the film is also significantly better than I could have ever predicted.
But that is where the enjoyment ends.
The rest of the film that surrounds these scenes is dull and lifeless, moving at a snail's pace and just going through the motions. There is very little fun to be had, and should someone venture into the film without having seen the original, they may wonder why anyone wanted to remake it in the first place. Instead of trying to improve and make the plot line less ludicrous, the filmmakers left the entire crux of the film the exact same. They merely changed a few character traits around, shuffled in some racy dialogue, and took out the tractors and added in school buses. They sucked out all the fun, and what is left seems like a mere project that was cranked out with little to no thought for what audiences may actually perceive to be enjoyable.
Worse yet, the soundtrack is a totally forgettable affair. While it is the crucial element of the original film, it feels like a largely laughable affair here. I was originally intrigued at the idea of the film containing all the original songs, albeit covered by new artists. But somehow, all of the catchiness of the original tunes seems to have been stripped from these new ones. Instead, we are left with versions that have a country twang or overtly urban feel to them, and absolutely no reason to want to listen to these new versions ever again. I would be lying if I did not think the most memorable tracks in the film were the two original ones that somehow were deemed okay to fit into the film. I would register a guess that this is the influence of Brewer, who is best known for Hustle & Flow and Black Snake Moan. He has a distinctly Southern taste to his body of work, and practically forces it on this film. But in forcing this ideology, alongside two completely different genres of music, he crushes the film into submission, leaving many scenes an absolute mess.
The acting in the film is even more disappointing. Dennis Quaid looks embarrassed in every scene he is in, overacting as much as he possibly can to forget that he is in the film. Andie McDowell looks like she wandered in off the wrong set, and just decided to stick around as a background character. Wormald is a poor substitute for Bacon, and is an even worse lead for a major motion picture. I realize he is a dancer first and foremost, but leaving him to carry this film was an awful decision. He looks frightened and confused for the majority of the film, and quivers through most of his lines. He lacks Ren's charm, and is never believable when he rebels against authority. You want to believe in this character, but all you will do is laugh at how staggeringly bad Wormald's performance is. Julianne Hough, the female lead, at least attempts to act. She comes close to a breakthrough in more than one instance, but she comes off a bit too amateur for her own good. She makes a great dance partner for Wormald, but for what little shred of chemistry she has, it is made totally moot when he opens his mouth.
What redeems the film from being the awful travesty it should be is Teller's performance as Willard. The moment he walks on-screen, he has an energy to him that is simply unmatchable. He is the single best thing about the film, embodying the innocence, spirit and fun of Chris Penn's original performance. If you venture into this remake, see it for him and ignore the rest. You may find some remotely enjoyable experience buried in there somewhere.
I was a teen when the original movie came out, and I also live near
Lehi, Utah where it was filmed which made me think fondly of the movie
whenever I drove by the Lehi Roller Mills. (Today it is a sprawling
metropolis, resembling little of the sleepy little town like in the
movie.) When I heard another pointless remake was coming out, I decided
to give it the Redbox treatment instead of completely boycotting it.
After watching it with my wife who had never seen the original, I was able to say, "Not so bad, but pointless as a remake." Most of the original music (which I still love) was recycled into something recognizable but not lovable. The scenes played out nearly identical to the original but with different actors. The whole way through it, I had the feeling that the director was watching the original on a hand-held device, then turned to the actors and said, "I have an idea for this next scene." If I recall correctly, even the dialog where it wasn't modernized with MP3 players (instead of cassette players) and cell phones (instead of...what the heck did we have?) was word for word.
Usually remakes are for big block busters where today's technology and special effects can outshine the feeble attempts of the past and make a great story better by sucking the audience in. This movie had none of that, and in summary, became another pointless Hollywood rehash for quick cash. The only improvement I could acknowledge was a sub-plot that explained Ren's actions a little better, but it was still not an excuse to remake a classic.
My advice: watch the original. It's much better.
Full disclosure time: I saw the original 1984 version at the now-defunct Cinema 8 multiplex at the also-now defunct Bon Marche Mall (the buildings have been renovated into other places) and I remember enjoying it very much at the one time I watched it in its entirety. I had also bought the soundtrack LP album beforehand and had highly enjoyed that several times as a teenager. Then there were also videos of several of its hits like Deniece Williams' "Let's Hear It for the Boy", Bonnie Tyler's "Holding Out for a Hero", and Kenny Loggins' title song which consisted mainly of clips of Kevin Bacon's (or his dance double's) movements. So it was with all that in mind that I saw this remake with an open head. The verdict: I still had a good time though my excitement factor wasn't as overwhelming perhaps because of my fond memories of the original and some of the changes didn't seem necessary. Still, having the actor Miles Teller playing the same role done by Chris Penn nearly 30 years before in learning to dance and enjoying himself as a result was still a highlight in both versions. And former "Dancing with the Stars" pro Julianne Hough shows some chops in reenacting the Lori Singer role. And while Kenny Wormald won't make you forget Bacon in his iconic role, he's not too bad either. And the same goes for Dennis Quaid playing the John Lithgow part. So on that note, this version of Footloose is recommended.
The only real reason to pay any attention at all to the new Footloose
is to watch the music video for the terrific Big and Rich song "Fake
ID." Other than that, there is little appeal in the film, as it
shamelessly recycles almost every scene, event, and line from its
original counterpart, and the ones it doesn't, it modifies for an
audience that is questionably existent. If there's anything the film
made me do, it made me seriously contemplate what a "remake" actually
is and what their inherent goal is. To make the original material
better? Make the story more current? Give it a stronger, more
contemporary feel and look? If those questions were considered during
the making of the Footloose remake, they weren't considered for very
long. This is a stale, unimaginably boring picture, with its first real
problem being it is trying to make an immensely dated story of music
and dancing banishment current and relatable to teenagers of the
present. In a time where vulgar rap by artists named "Chief Keef,"
"Juicy J," and "Wiz Khalifa" can be found on the iPods of teens in
schools and they can get away with it, I highly doubt teens will be
able to resonate with playing Kenny Loggins or Quiet Riot a bit too
The original Footloose at least had the benefit of being a film with a contemporary issue to its time and the appeal of its lead, Kevin Bacon. Granted watching it now is like dusting off a C-grade vinyl that barely functions, it at least had the ability to give the student body a voice and a personality as they tried to keep their freedom to play rock music (please say this out loud) alive and well. The new Footloose, however, is like that guy randomly wearing acid-washed jeans in public in 2013; random, out of place, and questionable beyond belief.
The story hasn't changed at all; we center our sites on the small town of Bomont, Georgia, that has been musically silenced since reverend Shaw Moore (Dennis Quaid) pressured the city council to ban music and dancing after loud music "resulted" in the deaths of five teenagers driving late at night. I say "resulted" because the cause of death was more of teenage stupidity. The pop music blaring on the radio at the time had little effect.
Ten years after this horrendous legislation, Bostonian teenager Ren McCormack (Kenny Wormald) waltzes into town and experiences a culture shock when he realizes that, hey, not only do people who live in other towns have different lifestyles than himself, but music is frowned upon in this tight-nit community. However, that doesn't stop Moore's rebellious daughter Ariel (Julianne Hough), who can often be found batting her bubbly blue eyes and shaking her bouncy backside in no mans land areas deep in the outskirts of town along with dozens of other teens.
Right off the bat, Moore isn't fond of the way Ren behaves. His attitude is smarmy and purposefully instigating, and the thought that he is a teen with something to say unnerves him greatly. The remainder of the film amplifies this conflict between them, as well as trying to make a bold statement that teenagers are supposed to be reckless, dumb, and the driving force behind many mistakes.
This conflict between Ren and "the man" leads all the way to the city council, where Ren tries to use Bible verses to sway the entire council (including Moore) to allow music and public dancing to be etched back in Bomont's society. He states that people in biblical times danced for God and Jesus, leaping and ecstatically celebrating them with the art of movement. Okay. I'm sure when Ariel is gyrating and shaking her blue-jean short-shorts in front of every guy in a vacant field she definitely has our lord and savior in mind. Same with Ren; I'm sure when he got down in the crowded saloon for line dancing or when him and several others fight the gang of bullies during a school dance at the end of the film, they all had God and Jesus in their hearts and minds. You couldn't fool a maroon with your logic.
Director Craig Brewer (Black Snake Moan and Hustle and Flow - two films that wouldn't even be on the same shelf as Footloose in ANY category, list, arrangement, etc) doesn't even offer any pleasing attributes to this film stylistically, albeit some good choreography. Other than maybe a few good scenes involving a large production number and several dozen dancers, the film's redone music, contemporary atmosphere, updated production, and caricature-driven cast seems like an act of indolence, if anything. I had a hard time admiring the original Footloose, but credited it for being something of a time-staple, even if it doesn't hold up well in present time. It's hard to credit the new Footloose at all, since its very existence is perplexing.
Starring: Kenny Wormald, Julianne Hough, Andie MacDowell, and Dennis Quaid. Directed by: Craig Brewer.
The 80s version had more energy and focus. This remake was a bit
lacking in impact. The story is similar to the original but here the
obstacles felt contrived especially the confrontations with the trashy
boyfriend. Dennis Quaid and Andie Macdowell looked like they would
rather be elsewhere.
The group dancing and modern street style dancing isn't well choreographed and isn't exciting. Too much was done as a group and not enough emotionally interesting pairings.
The casting was hit and miss. Kenny Wormald isn't handsome enough for the lead even though he is a good dancer. Julianna Hough is very lovely though her dancing wan't showcased well. It couldn't have amounted to more than a few minutes.
Overall not a must see.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I don't understand why we need to remake great movies. this movie sucks. Stay with the original. I was disappointed in the music. I am happy that a few of the original songs were in it. one song was changed and sang different. That was horrible. The songs and dance scenes needed to be the way it was in the original movie. I understand that it is a 2011 version of the movie but I think too many things were changed. I am not knocking the actors in any way. they are great actors and amazing dancers. I am just not a fan of the movie it self. the actors are amazingly talented. I am just not a big fan of remakes. The movie had too many changes.
I found the remake of Footloose thoroughly enjoyable. Granted, I wasn't around when the original was released and don't have the attachment to it of teens of that time, but I appreciated this movie. It may not have had the best acting as the original or carried the same weight, but it was a feel-good movie that put a smile on a my face. It had amazing dance sequences and great music that left me dancing out of the theater. Kenny Wormald and Julianne Hough brought a certain airy feeling to the film that was missing from the original, and their chemistry-- especially on the dance floor--was palpable. I think that it was a perfect movie for my generation who didn't grow up watching the original.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Yes, the original film was like a lot of 80s movies--campy, silly and
sometimes just about the musicbut this remake should have been
forgotten. While the writers kept quite a few original lines and the
director kept some iconic scenes, something was lost in translation.
That loss cannot be blamed on any one part of the film but rather the
There some changes that I enjoyed. The opening scene, though storyline changed a bit, had more of an impact behind the impetus of the town's laws. The dancing was top notch by today's standards though a little raunchy a time or two. Kenny Wormald did justice to Kevin Bacon's dance in the warehouse, changing it just enough to make it his own. Julianna Hough kept up with him every step of the way during the dance scenes. Even the at the end, it was refreshing in this day of girl-power to see the football team told by a teammate to "man-up" and ask the girls to dance.
That said, the rest of the film is an empty cardboard parody, lacking any sense of poignancy that endeared the original to a generation. The soundtrack fell below the standard set in 1984, though they sort of kept Whitney Houston's original "Let's Hear it for the Boy" when Willard learns to dance (a highlight in both films). Also, they changed Beamis Mill (which I believe dealt with concrete) to a cotton gin mill, very poor taste.
The characters are hollow and thanks to the deletion of several key scenes, the actors are not given a chance to redeem themselves and give us characters we can empathize with.
Kenny Wormald was a great choice for the dancing scenes. It's impeccable and when when he dances you can feel his passion come through the screen. His acting, however, was limited to cockiness and poker face. Kenny seemed to struggle to find the balance in that sweet spot between underacting and overacting. Two scenes that clearly show this is when his aunt asked him why the dance was important and when he stands before the town counsel. Both times lack passion, conviction and inflection. He could very well have been reading the nutrition panel on the side of a bag of bread. The closest I came to identifying with him was when his Uncle talked about him taking care of his mom. Kenny could not seem to remember he was supposed to be a rebel with a cause and not just another rebellious teenager.
Julianna Hough is gorgeous and confident. Confidence like hers can hinder a performance when you are supposed to be playing a wild child who is acting out because of insecurity. I am trying to give her the benefit of the doubt as key scenes were not in the film that would have brought depth to her character. You miss out on the deep reasons behind the hurt and vulnerability that Lori Singer pulled off wonderfully. For example, the scene about types of music in the original between Ariel and Shaw went a long way to deepen the dynamics of father-daughter relationship, and helped build each character's journey in the minds and hearts of the audience. Or the scene with the music box, showed the vulnerability of Ariel as she shared who she really is with Ren, brave and yet fearful of rejection for her real self. Those scenes might have saved Hough's performance. Instead, her version of Ariel came across as an angry brat who looked good dancing.
Dennis Quaid looked ill-at-ease throughout the entire movie, and even when he's angry he looks like he might lose his breakfast. Again, I am trying to give his performance the benefit of the doubt as they cut several key character-development scenes which would have shown how he grew throughout the course of the film. For example, the book-burning scene in the original is a major turning point for this character. John Lithgow's heart (original) could be seen in that scene when he sees what he's done. It's a point of no return when he had to really think about what he'd done and why and how he will proceed. Had they kept that scene, he would have reason, he would have believability. Now, instead, Shaw comes across as another fumbling close-minded dad/leader who had no clue about real life until his wife and daughter school him, along with a very brief talk with Ren.
Andie MacDowell didn't have much chance with the majority of Vi's scenes cut. That said, had been included them it would not have mattered. Only once during this film did she remind me of the quiet strength and dignity that Dianne Wiest brought to the role (town meeting). Her few scenes with Dennis Quaid are almost belittling and instead of the gentle correction of Vi quietly convicting Shaw Andie's Vi seemed to constantly condemn him.
Miles Teller as Willard is probably the most enjoyable of the entire cast. I know some out there have decried his performance, but I think he took the role and made it his own while retaining the child-like naiveté that was Willard. He was a little on the over-sexed teen side of things in this film (which got old), but otherwise, he was fun to watch.
The flaws are many in this film. I would give this film 2 out of 5 stars simply for the dancing, The tag line is "Cut Loose" and they stripped away any of the sentimentality that would have made this a fun film to watch over and over again.
They removed what made Footloose so foot loose. They simply cut too loose.
I love the original and was really excited to see this remake. I was
very disappointed. They copied the original, just added cell phones and
CD's and a few modern dance moves. Same soundtrack, just a hint
modernized, I'm pretty sure even some of the lines were exactly the
same. There was nothing creative or original about this movie.
You know that feeling where you see an actor/actress in a certain role and then you see them in another movie and it's like they were told to keep the same character but the film's setting is so completely different and all you can think is 'no, this is wrong, this just doesn't work'. It's exactly what I thought while watching this film but instead of the character(s) being wrong it felt like the whole movie was wrong.
I would have even accepted it if the only thing they kept was the basic concept and redesigned the rest from scratch. But they played it too safe and ended up with a copy instead of a fresh film.
That said if you've never seen the original Footloose it's alright.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
What was the point? The director just went through and removed all the
good stuff from the first movie. The original is based on events which
took place in Elmore City, OK and yes, they banned dancing. It's hard
for today's teens to fathom how religious the 80s were, which might be
why they can't grasp a movie like this. You can't make a modern remake
of this movie because today's kids aren't suffocating under this type
of extreme religiosity. In the original, the ban is on dancing,
including a teen prom. The kids are only being reasonable to protest
this. In this remake, the ban is on "lewd and lascivious dancing" which
the teens think they have a right to perform in the streets.
In the original, Ren is an old soul. After his father dies, Ren and his mother must shack with his uncle, moving Ren from Chicago to a tiny town where dancing is banned. Instead of making things more difficult for his mother, Ren tries to fit in and treats everyone politely and respectfully, which results in him being bullied by the small towners. He even tolerates this and tries to play by their rules, never once pointing out the obvious insults a typical obnoxious city teen would have for the rural folks.
In this remake, Ren is instead that typical bratty teen, thinking an accident of birth makes him better than everyone, and greeting practically the entire town with the insult that they are hicks. Despite this, the town isn't even that small and is actually multicultural, and the kids dance to hip hop! The only issue the kids face is that their parents don't want them bumping and grinding too suggestively to it! Yeah, that's Ren's issue. His parents are dead, but that's his issue. Even the judge in this town had long hair as a teen, and Ren's uncle reminds him of this, to justify Ren blasting the town with noise pollution.
In the original, Ren must struggle to please an unreasonable uncle who blames him for things he didn't do, while this uncle has Ren's back before even asking him if he's guilty. Ren basically has no real struggles to speak of, yet he does a lot of whining anyway. We are supposed to sympathize enough over the loss of his parents to support him humping his girlfriend openly in the streets. The uncle thinks his little girls (and all little girls) should be exposed to this. Ren even declares to the adults that "as kids, its our job to do stupid things", yet he doesn't expand on what the jobs of adults might be.
Ariel's father protests not so much because he's a pastor, but because he maintains some shred of hope that his daughter is still a virgin, but when she informs her father that she's not, and Ren informs her father that his daughter is a slut, the pastor gives up and accepts that he will be a grandfather soon. Ren's revelation that Ariel is already hot for his bod means she should be allowed to dance lewd and become a teen mother.
In the original, the pastor and Ren finally bond because the pastor lost his son and Ren lost his father. Ren cleverly uses Bible verses to make his point at the town meeting, because it is the only way to convince a highly religious town that bases all of their rules on the Bible. He does this because he is a wise, respectful young man who isn't paranoid of a little studying. In the remake "sir, your daughter is already a slut" is the extent of Ren's argument to the pastor, yet it is (apparently) oddly persuasive.
This movie is just laughably bad, so much so that even people who can't quite explain why it's laughably bad still know that it is.
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