Review: Craig Brewer’s ‘Footloose’

I hate remakes.

I especially hate remakes (or re-boots) of movies that had an impact on me when I was a kid. I remember watching the original Footloose on my parents VCR probably 1,000 times. I wanted to be as cool as Kevin Bacon. I wanted to have a friend as funny and loyal as Willard (the late Chris Penn) and a girlfriend as hot as Ariel (Lori Singer).

My only problem was that I didn’t want to have anything to do with dancing. So, I sympathized with the good ole’ Reverend. But that’s my issue.

So, when I walked into the theater extremely skeptical. I did really like Director Craig Brewer – he directed Hustle n’ Flow and the pilot to my favorite TV show ever, Terriers –  so, I was at least knew it wouldn’t be awful.

But hell, guess what? I really liked it. I liked it a lot.

The film starts off with an homage to the original opening credits. Close-ups of dancing feet are shown as the original Kenny Loggins Footloose song blares. Kids are dancing in a field, having a great time. Then wouldn’t you know it,4 of those kids get into their car and meet the business end of a truck, killing themselves and ruining the fun for everyone in the town of Bomont, Texas.

Turns out, like in the original, one of those kids was the son of the town’s Reverend (Dennis Quaid) and he’s not too happy about this.

Cut to three years later and the town council has outlawed loud music and dancing. When Ren (Kenny Wormald) arrives in town, thats all about to change.

You all know the rest of the story so I won’t rehash it here but as the movie progressed I started to fall for it.

Damn you Craig Brewer!

What helps is the casting. Wormald and Julianne Hough are both great as Ren and Ariel. I was suspect of Wormald at first; you first see his character come off a bus wearing glasses and a tight t-shirt and I immediately hated him. But after 5 minutes that was erased. And Hough removed all thoughts of my wanting Singer to be my girlfriend. Is Hough available?

But, the single two best people in the film were Miles Teller as Willard and Ray McKinnon as Ren’s Uncle Wes. McKinnon is always solid in all his work (Sons of Anarchy and a slew of films) but he nailed this. I’d never seen Teller before and unless his performance is a fluke, this guy is gonna be working forever.

The only thing I didn’t like was Blake Shelton‘s remake of the title song. Sorry Blake, but your version doesn’t hold a candle to Loggins original.

Part of me hopes this movie doesn’t do well because then we’ll have to endure more remakes but the other part of me hopes it kills at the box office because it deserves it an audience.

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