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

Interstellar Review

Interstellar movie posterSynopsis
When mankind is on the brink of extinction, Docter Brand (Michael Caine), sends Cooper (Mathew McConaughey) and a small crew consisting of Brand’s daughter (Anne Hathaway), Doyle (Wes Bentley), Romilly (David Gyasi), and the robot TARS (Bill Irwin (voice)), on a mission to find a new planet for the human race to inhabit.

Christopher Nolan is up there as one of my favorite directors. Every one of his films is dazzling and feels unique. Interstellar is no different. It may even possibly be his best looking movie to date. Nolan once again teams up with his brother, Jonathan Nolan, to create a wondrous piece of cinematic art.

When I first saw the run time was almost three hours I grumbled. I thought this movie would take forever to get through. Much to my surprise, the time was not a factor at all. Despite being ten minutes shy of The Godfather‘s run time, it flew by. The only time I was shocked there was more to go was at the end of the second act. The second act is the most action packed of the film and felt like it was going to be the movie’s climax. Even after it continued on, I still stayed engrossed in the story. Unlike Transformers: Age of Extinction, every minute was put to good use.

As I said, Nolan’s films have always looked amazing, but Interstellar is by far his best looking film yet. The special effects, the black hole in particular, are visually stunning and a real treat on the eyes. Nolan likes to use computer generated images (CGI) to enhance an experience rather than create an experience and it shows. And it wasn’t always the CGI that stood out. Most of the physical effects looked great, too.

Sound work is always an important part of a movie, whether you realize it or not. Interstellar‘s sound work is top-notch. As with most space movies, there are points where it becomes totally silent. This effect can greatly increase the dramatic effect of the scene and Nolan uses to great effect. Hans Zimmer, a frequently composer for Nolan’s films, once again does the score. And, not surprisingly, does an amazing job. His score superbly enhances the emotion seen on screen. Combine Zimmer’s score with the first-rate sound work and you have the perfect sound mixture.

The robots in the film, TARS and CASE, voiced by Bill Irwin and Josh Stewart respectively, are more whimsical than I had anticipated. They offered much of the movie’s comic relief. The cynical movie goer in me expected them to go crazy, a la HAL 9000, but thankfully that never happened because they are two of my favorite characters. Their look is interesting, too. Definitely a unique and versatile design.

I would have to say, though, that my favorite part about Interstellar is its range of emotions. There was humor, from the previously mentioned robots, TARS and CASE. At one point I was worried for the characters, I became scared for them. I was happy, their successes made me feel overjoyed with them. There was heartbreat, I was sad to see some of the characters who were killed. But the most important, and the emotion that drove Cooper and Murph, was love. Everything that Cooper did was for the love of his daughter Murph and it was well executed.

Interstellar is once again a great entry into Nolan’s unique film catalogue. It looks great, it sounds great, and it goes through a wide range of emotions. Even with a daunting run time, it flies by and is worth every second.



Cast & Crew
Christopher Nolan – Director / Writer
Jonathan Nolan – Writer
Hans Zimmer – Composer

Mathew McConaughey – Cooper
Mackenzie Foy – Murph (10 years old)
Timothee Chalamet – Tom (15 years old)
John Lithgow – Donald
Anne Hathaway – Brand
Wes Bentley – Doyle
David Gyasi – Romilly
Bill Irwin – TARS (voice)
Josh Stewart – CASE (voice)
Michael Caine – Professor Brand
Jessica Chastain – Murph
Casey Affleck – Tom
Leah Cairns – Lois
Liam Dickinson – Coop
Topher Grace – Getty
Matt Damon – Dr. Mann
Ellen Burstyn – Murph (older)