Runtime 107 minutes
Released February 17, 1984
Synopsis: A city teenager moves to a small town where rock music and dancing have been banned, and his rebellious spirit shakes up the populace. – imdb
Last time I had seen this? I own the dvd, so I’ve seen this movie frequently over recent years. However, this is one of those classic ’80s movies that I did not see in the ’80s. The first time was about 15 years ago. I’ve more than made up for it though!
Summary: Ren McCormack (Kevin Bacon) is a teen who moved to Bomont from Chicago, with his mother, to live with his aunt and uncle. We find out that Bomont is a very town, pretty much run by Reverend Shaw Moore (John Lithgow).
Early on, Ren becomes friends with Willard (Chris Penn). It is through Willard that Ren and the audience learns that dancing and rock music is banned in the town. Ren also keeps running into Ariel, the rebellious daughter of Reverend Moore.
It doesn’t take long for Ren to become enemies with Ariel’s jerk boyfriend Chuck Cranston. Cranston challenges Ren to a game of chicken with tractors, with Ren winning – inadvertenly. In one of my favorite scenes of the movie, Ren’s shoelace gets caught, and he can’t jump off of his tractor.
Throughout the movie, most of the people of Bomont don’t like Ren, and he always gets in trouble. His uncle is no help as he acts like a jerk just like his fellow townspeople. The two have an argument which leads Ren to storm off and do an “angry dance” in a warehouse. Ariel sees him, and they bond. The reverend was not too happy about Ariel hanging around this new troublemaker, so he forbids her from seeing him. Well, that didn’t work out too well.
Ren takes Ariel, Willard and Rusty (Sarah Jessica Parker) out of town to a club where there is dancing. But, Willard don’t dance. Everybody else has a good time though – until somebody tries dancing with Rusty. We cannot have a bar scene from the ’80s and not see a fight! As they are driving back home we learn that the reason why there is a ban on dancing and music. There were kids fooling around with their cars, which resulted in an accident with both cars going over a bridge, and the death of the kids. One of those kids was Ariel’s brother – Reverend Moore’s son.
Ren gets an idea of getting rid of the no dancing law, and have a senior prom. The first order of business? Teach Willard how to dance. ’80s movie music montage time!
In order to have the prom, Ren must make his case to the city council. The catch? Both Reverend Moore and Chuck Cranston’s father are on the council. Ren makes a great case, thanks to Ariel’s help of getting bible verses that support dancing. Although he made a great case, the council still turned down the dance.
Reverend Moore’s wife Vi (Dianne Wiest) is team Ren, and tries to talk some sense into her husband. Then Reverend Moore sees that the townspeople are having a good old-fashioned book burning. Sure, he may be against singing, dancing, rock music, and is not above smacking his daughter in the face. But, a book burning? He sees that the people of the town are crazier than he is, and is out of control. So, he stops the book burning.
Since the kids couldn’t have a prom in Bomont, they decided to have their prom outside the town limits. So, at the next mass, Reverend Moore asks the people to pray for the kids and pretty much support them.
At the prom, everybody was doing the classic move…standing around staring at everybody else. Ren and Ariel finally break the ice with a slow dance, and more and more people started slow dancing. In the meantime, Willard arrived with Rusty. Willard was then jumped by that ass hat Cranston and his gang. Ren came out and he and Willard beat the crap out of the gang. Now Ren was all pumped up, and walked back in to the dance with the classic line: “Hey, hey! What’s this I see? I thought this was a party. LET’S DANCE!”
For a townspeople who had not been allowed to dance, these people had some skillz! And somehow, had awesome choreography!
Does the movie stand the test of time? I think it stands the test of time well enough so that a remake is not necessary. Oh, wait. ARRRGGGGGHHH!!! Damn you Hollywood!!!
Worth the Return? Yes!!! This is one of those movies that I stop and watch if I’m going through the channels on TV. This movie is pretty much one music video after another with the story tying them all together, which is heaven for most people who grew up in the ’80s.
Rating: 5 pairs of feet cutting loose
This is a classic ’80s movie in every sense of the word. We have high school life, oppressors, bullies, buddies, and great music. If you have not seen this movie yet, and are a fan of the ’80s, this is a “must see”. I have never seen the remake, so I can’t comment on that.
You may have noticed that I did not get into the music aspect of this movie. There is a good reason for this. Tomorrow, there will be a companion piece to this article, by Robert, that will focus on the great, classic music of this film. In the meantime:
Everybody cut, everybody cut
Everybody cut, everybody cut
(Everybody) everybody cut footloose