The Blu-ray of 1984’s Footloose hits store shelves just in time for the 2011 remake. The original is an icon of the ‘80s. It is most notable for making Kevin Bacon a big star and its hit sound soundtrack featuring Kenny Loggins’ title track song. One of the three big dance films during the ‘80s, the film struck a chord with teens. Its 1983 predecessor, Flashdance was a hit with women, while 1987’s was a hit with kids and adults. All three films shared a common theme of dance as a symbol for freedom and nonconformity. Footloose is a simple kids vs. the establishment story with a timeless theme wrapped up in a dated package.
Ren McCormack (Bacon) is a big city kid who moves to a small Utah town with his single mom. Ren soon finds out dancing and rock music are banned in the town. Ren is labeled a troublemaker because of his urban clothes and endless supply of rock music he blasts from his car stereo. The instigator of the music and dancing ban is the town preacher Shaw Moore (John Lithgow) who sees dancing as the pathway to a life of debauchery. It sounds extreme because it is. Footloose is a movie that is black and white with no shades of gray. Things are either good or they are bad. If you don’t conform to the politics of the town and its Reverend then you are forever an outsider.
Ren, who is in his senior year of high school, wants to change things. He decides to organize a senior prom and to try to get the ban on dancing lifted. Along the way he meets the Reverend’s bad-girl daughter Ariel (Lori Singer) who is bent on proving she isn’t anything like her conservative dad, though she hides her antics from him. Ariel takes a liking to Ren though she is dating the town bully. Ariel is such a wild child that she seems to have a death wish. She straddles between two speeding cars in the face of an on-coming semi, and she dodges trains without a second thought. Honestly, the character comes across as a little disturbed, but her actions are explained away as simply lack of attention from her father.