Several years ago, my daughters watched Footloose for the first time. It brought back memories of my first glimpse of this classic 80’s movie starring Kevin Bacon and Lori Singer.
It was my junior year of high school. The year was 1984 and I, like millions of other 17 year old girls in America, was in love with Ren McCormick!
I remember watching him dance, tumble and fight his way out of the repressive town where rock music was illegal and a high school prom was out of the question. The small mid-western farming town is run by an iron-fisted Reverend Shaw Moore (John Lithgow) who leads his congregation to believe that rock and roll music and dancing lead to sex and drugs and therefore must be banned. The townspeople don’t dare cross him…until Ren comes to town.
Falling in love with Moore’s daughter Ariel (Singer), he leads the fight to hold a Senior prom in Beaumont, going against the entire town council and butting heads with almost everyone. The scenes of Footloose range from poignant when Ren talks to his mother about the time his dad left and he thought it was his fault; to hysterical with a very young Sarah Jessica Parker trying to teach Chris Penn to dance; to heart warming as Ariel is presented with a corsage the night of the prom: flowers her father insisted she have.
My young teenaged daughters giggled as Bacon is given a crash course in driving a tractor and then promptly turns it over into a pond. We have an opportunity to talk about the danger of censorship during the scene where books are being pulled from the library and thrown into a burning barrel.
All in all, Footloose is just what I remember it to be the night I lined up to get tickets the very first time in 1984: a feel good movie with an awesome soundtrack that boasts five number one songs, from the likes of Kenny Loggins, Mike Reno and Ann Wilson, Foreigner and Bonnie Tyler.
Footloose is one of those movies that just once, you need to get for a lazy, rainy Saturday afternoon. my advice is to rent it or buy it so that you don’t have half the good scenes cut off to make room for commercials! The last time we watched it on cable, they cut out the entire drive scene where Reverend Moore catches Ariel dancing on top of the cars. To me, this is a vital part of setting up the relationship between Ariel and her father! It also gives us our first glimpse of the wild child Ariel really is!
So put on your dancing shoes, pop some popcorn, and settle in for an hour and a half of great music, a good story line…and of course….Kevin Bacon! Everybody cut, Everybody cut, everybody cut Footloose!