Friday, June 24, 2011

Film Corner!

Below is the trailer for the new film Footloose, which is a remake of the old film Footloose, except without any of the good stuff, like Kevin Bacon, Kenny Loggins, Dianne Wiest, John Lithgow, and hey look it's Sarah Jessica Parker dancing around with Chris Penn! The new version, which didn't even have the sense to cast Kevin Bacon in the Mean Old Conservative role (or maybe he just had the sense not to accept the offer), basically looks just like the old version, except pointless and terrible.


Teenagers being played by adults are dancing at a party in a barnyard. They are also drinking beer from kegs. A car full of them takes off. The male driver leans over to kiss his girlfriend while he is driving. There is a honk, headlights, and a crash. RIP reckless teens. And, naturally, RIP dancing—as the City Council responds to a drunk-driving accident by criminalizing "public dancing among Bomont's minors." Sure.

Already this movie needs to be thrown in the garbage, and we're 30 seconds into the trailer.

In the original Footloose, there's no elaborate set-up for the dance-ban that is central to the story. It's just a stupid rule supported by a prominent preacher in a small town who's desperately worried about his property getting ruined daughter getting pregnant. (I haven't seen Footloose in awhile, so there may have been a plot thread about Reverend Lithgow's anti-dance fervor partially being a reaction to some tragedy, but, if so, it was limited to his character's motivation, not something shared by the whole town.) And in 1984, that was an entirely believable premise; in fact, the story was loosely based on real events in a town in Oklahoma.

Almost thirty years later, though there are certainly small, rural towns in which stuff like that still happens, they tend to be towns so cloistered and isolated and anachronistic that teenage residents don't even have access to the pop culture that's being banned. The whole concept doesn't really work anymore. So, okay, new variation on the concept needed. Fair enough. But if you don't want everyone with a brain barfing on your movie, you've got to do better than "fuddy-duddies overreact to car crash—and entire town inexplicably goes along with BANNING DANCING." Nope!

Don't insult us, Footloose 2011.

Anyway, Ren arrives in Bomont, pop. 19,300, according to the welcome sign, way too many people for how small-town this small town is supposed to be, further undermining the incredible premise that the City Council could unilaterally ban underage dancing. He has come to live with his aunt and uncle and two little girl cousins, who think he's the coolest cat, no doy.

His uncle gives him a broken-down VW Beetle, the same one that everyone has laying around their garages in the movies, and tells Ren it's all his if he can fix it up. Which, naturally, he can, because all teenage boys are mechanics.

Ren goes to school. The preacher's daughter's friend thinks he's cute. Because of his Boston, or possibly Australian, accent, his soon-to-be-BFF Willard thinks Ren talks funny. (Wait—is this really a remake of Grease 2? Because that would cool.) Montagery. Ren and the preacher's daughter observe each other from various distances and make "witty" observations about each other. She takes him to a secret dance, where they bump and grind.

There is not the sound of a scratching record, because none of the people in this movie or likely to buy tickets to this movie have ever seen a record ("What is that—a Blu-Ray for dinosaurs?"), but THERE SHOULD BE! Because the Reverend Dennis Quaid (yup) has shown up at the totally-not-remotely-secret dance party where everyone is dancing SO HARD! The Reverend Quaid looks disappointed.

He takes his daughter home and asks her what he's going to do with her. She back-talks him and slams her bedroom door in his face. He stands there impotently. Good job, Reverend Dad!

Ren learns about the car crash. A cop tells him to get his "cheap thrills" (sure) "outside of Bomont." As if cars drive that far!

Ren becomes a pro-dance activist. The Reverend Quaid tells his daughter he's heard Ren is trouble. The cop who hassles Ren seems to agree. Gosh, this town stinks!

Ren dances angry. Hello there, iconic scene from the original Footloose! Psst, if you are going to invite comparisons to the classic film you're remaking, you'd better be sure that your new star is at least as charismatic as the old star. Whoooooooooooooops! All I can think of is Kevin Bacon and how he is not being lived up to!

Also: I'm a little bit thinking of Bret McKenzie. In any case, I am NOT thinking, "This movie looks really good."

Blah blah the kids are uprising. They're teaching the adults a thing or two about life, yo. And, just like conservative religious reactionaries in real life, the fake conservative religious reactionaries in this movie are totally going to listen to reason and repeal that dance ban. It's like some real cinéma vérité shit.

Montage of scenes from the movie. Fighting. Kissing. Iconic maroon prom jacket. Etc. There is literally no mystery or surprise. It's not a trailer—it's a synopsis. Normally, I would make some snarky comment here about how I don't even need to see the film now, except this is a remake of a film that is still constantly shown on television and everyone has seen dozens of times, so NO ONE NEEDS TO SEE THIS FILM. At all. Ever. Just watch the original. The end.