This past weekend I had the urge to bust open the remake of Footloose I received for Christmas over two years ago. If you are in love with the 80′s version, as in the one starring a young, sweaty Kevin Bacon, do not watch this movie. I am warning you.
It’s not that it’s awful, but I’m an 80′s girl at heart and would much rather remember it in all its grainy glory.
For those that have yet to see either version, it’s a movie set in a small, southern, rural town essentially focused on teenagers and their most favorite thing in the world, laws. The town does not permit dancing or listening to loud music. What a bummer, right? There’s even a little itty bitty love story in there too.
If you aren’t aware, this is all teenagers want to do; yet, the townspeople set THICK boundaries due to a tragic accident that killed a group of friends while they were on their way home from a party. Hoping to prevent it from happening again, the parents of the town banded together.
This does not sit well with a young man who recently arrived from Boston. Ren McCormack, played by Kenny Wormald, prepares a petition and protests the ban on dancing.
McCormack attends a town council meeting with his prepared speech and bible verses, hoping to convince the council that the ban goes against what is written in their beloved book.
McCormack struggles to be heard. Though his point comes across, the absolutists fail to truly recognize him at first. I call them absolutists because they hold strong to their belief that their laws will save lives. The all encompassing laws that they so quickly passed without regard for other options.
The town council’s argument for the fun banning laws resembles that of ad populum. Which is especially interesting seeing their religious reasoning for enacting the laws on some degree. Everyone (at least the important people of the town council and the reverend) feel that it is great decision to ban all the fun in the town, therefore it is.
An ideology or message that is present throughout the movie is that of religion. A large part is centered on the christian faith. One of the main characters is the reverend, played by Dennis Quaid. Bible versus and Sunday school lessons are scattered throughout the movie. Early on there is even a discussion about not being able to buy beer on Sunday in the town, just because the church says so.
It is clear that in this small town, religion plays a large part in every decision. The absolutist rule of the church and town council certainly solidifies this message. Even though they essentially enacted the law of the hammer when banning various things from their kids lives, the townspeople were unfortunately trying to look out the future generation.
But don’t think I’m falling for the boring grumpy old people. I found myself feeling a bit of character loyalty to McCormick, especially when he stands up to the big, bad town council. I just may have let out a little cheer on his behalf.