Like a lot of other people my age - those of us who had the privilege of growing up in the 80s - I was more than a little skeptical when I heard that someone was doing a remake of the movie Footloose. Not many remakes can stand up to the nostalgia factor of a good original, especially iconic movies. And Footloose was definitely iconic. Catchy music, teen angst, dancing feet/shoes, Ren reading out of Ecclesiates (a time to mourn, a time to dance...)--the works. I can't tell you the last time I saw the original, but I can still remember the lines, lyrics and moves. Maybe that is because I saw it before the beginning of the brain cell die off after each kid.
Anyway, so I went to see the remake today more out of curiosity than excitement. I had heard that the theme song was a country version, and not Kenny Loggins, but that was about all I knew going in to the theater. There weren't many other people there, which probably doesn't bode well for opening weekend box office receipts.
It turned out to be a very good remake, in my opinion. Large portions of it were lifted out of the original, with the same dialogue, reactions, and even the lighting of the scenes. The music was very different in places, but it seemed to fit. The characters were well cast, and made the roles their own. There were a few significant changes, such as why Ren moved to town, and his relationship with his uncle, which I liked even better in this updated version.
However, the drama and the angst and the dialogue in this version were definitely increased. I remember this to some extent from when I was a teenager, but seeing it as a parent and middle school teacher made me filter it in a very different way. It is not a movie that I would want my younger children to see, and I cringe just thinking about the words and phrases and images that will now be impressed on the minds of the many students that I know will have seen Footloose. It is rated PG-13 for a reason. There are very good, detailed movie reviews online, and I wish more parents would us that as a form of review criteria before ever taking their kids to any movie. But I digress...
A key scene in Footloose is when Ren is giving his speech to the town council, trying to make his case for why the Senior class should be allowed to have a dance within city limits. He states how it won't be too long before they all graduate, and have jobs and families with responsibilities, and won't be able to really enjoy life like they are able to as a teenager. I remember me and the girls I was with cheering out loud in the theater years ago, like we totally agreed with him and appreciated his stand for teenagers everywhere.
There wasn't any cheering today from the group I was surrounded by. But I sure had a big grin on my face just remembering.