Footloose (1984)

(Netflix Streaming, April 2017) While I can recognize that Footloose isn’t a great movie, it’s easy to be swept along by its charm, clearly-defined stakes and infectious energy. I happen to like the song itself a lot, and the clever opening sequence is a lot of fun to watch. Then it’s off to rural America, when a stranger, our protagonist, comes to town to bring some wholesome urban values in the Midwestern wasteland. As a treatise on blue-versus-red America, Footloose has a lot to say and did so decades before the US electoral map ossified to the point that brought you Donald J. Trump, president. But there I go tainting Footloose’s innocent fun with not-so-fun stuff. It’s far better to focus on Kevin Bacon’s career-making performance, the ludicrous chicken-tractor sequence, or John Lithgow’s turn as a persuadable preacher. Footloose, alas, does run out of steam a bit too quickly: the ending seems to peter out after resolving itself ten minutes earlier, not quite managing to deliver a decent finale. Still, it’s a fun movie with a bit of depth to offer regarding the rural-vs-urban divide. The music is also quite a bit better than that other early-eighties musical Flashdance.

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