Lightning Review: Footloose

Footloose (1984) movie posterSynopsis
Ren (Kevin Bacon), a teenager from Chicago, moves to the small town Beaumont to live with his aunt and uncle. In Beaumont, dancing and rock and roll music is banned, thanks to Reverend Moore (John Lighgow). Ren quickly makes friends with Willard (Chris Penn) and the Reverend’s daughter, Ariel (Lori Singer). Ren’s rebellious spirit makes the residents uncomfortable as he tries to fight against the local laws against music and dancing.

On the cover of the Footloose DVD case are the words “The film that defined a generation.” Now this was part of my parents’ generation, not mine, but I wouldn’t go as far to claim it “defined a generation.” However, I will say that it is a fun and enjoyable movie. First off, its soundtrack is deeply rooted in the 1980s (surprise, surprise), and I like it! When I was younger I had Kenny Loggins’ Greatest Hits cassette tape and “Footloose” was one of my go-to favorites (that and “Danger Zone” but I’m sure I’ll get to that one eventually). Of all the characters, John Lithgow’s Reverend Moore was the most developed, I’d say even more so than the main characters, which is highly unusual for a film’s antagonist. He had a very clear arc from when he gets introduced to where he is in the final minutes. His story and its message is almost as important (maybe even more important) a take away as Ren and his struggle.

There was something that bugged me about Lori, Ren’s love interest and daughter of Reverend Moore. I understand a teen being rebellious but I feel she was rebellious for the wrong reasons and was reckless. She is supposed to have gone through this change but honestly, I didn’t care about her all that much. Of course, I can’t talk about Footloose without mentioning Kevin Bacon, who does a terrific job as Ren, the teen thrown from a big city into a small town. Simply put, Footloose is a fun movie. Your foot is sure to be tapping and you might even find yourself doing a little dancing.


Favorite Quote
Ren: This place is too weird. Don’t you ever listen to the radio?
Willard: Nah. We got one radio at home but it’s never on.
Ren: You like Men at Work?
Willard: Which man?
Ren: Men at Work.
Willard: Where do they work?
Ren: Nah, they don’t. They’re a music group.
Willard: What do they call themselves?
Ren: Oh, no. Well what about the Police?
Willard: What about ’em?
Ren: Have you heard them?
Willard: No, but I see ’em.
Ren: What, in concert?
Willard: No, behind you.
Ren: What? [Police siren sounds] Oh, shit.


Cast & Crew
Herbert Ross – Director
Dean Pitchford – Writer

Kevin Bacon – Ren
Lori Singer – Ariel
John Lithgow – Rev. Shaw Moore
Dianne Wiest – Vi Moore
Christopher Penn – Willard
Sarah Jessica Parker – Rusty
John Laughlin – Woody
Elizabeth Gorcey – Wendy Jo
Frances Lee McCain – Ethel McCormack
Jim Youngs – Chuck Cranston
Douglas Dirkson – Burlington Cranston
Lynne Marta – Lulu Warnicker
Arthur Rosenberg – Wes Warnicker
Timothy Scott – Andy Beamis