Monday, December 6, 2021
Twenty-six year-old high school student Kevin Bacon is bummed when his family moves from Chicago to a small town in Utah. He’s even more bummed when he discovers that not only is every other student in his new high school is at least 20 years-old, but the town has outlawed dancing and popular music! What the hell is going on here? Did he accidentally time-travel to 1939 Germany or America in 2050? Nope, he’s still in the 1980's, but these close-minded, pre-Fox News, book-burning, Bible-thumping Fascist wannabes really, really hate Kenny Loggins. So now it’s up to Kevin to add a little bacon to the No Fun Club members diet and show them how to rock! Even if he has to interpretive twerk out the lyrics to “We’re Not Gonna Take It” at a town council meeting!
From a purely filmmaking standpoint, FOOTLOOSE is only slightly above average with an overly simplified story, uneven pacing and wild mood swings. Not to mention being dated as fook nowadays. However, from an entertainment/cultural history standpoint: FOOTLOOSE is a goldmine! Especially if you’re into popular 1980’s American Cinema. Above average acting by a strong cast, a great soundtrack that sold over 9 million copies, lots of dancing, beautiful scenery, awesome 80's fashions, Kevin Bacon struttin’ his hot shit all over the place. FOOTLOOSE is a blast and one that I’ll happily revisit many times before I vogue my way into that great gay bar in the sky. That’s not to say there isn’t any flaws though, because there definitely is. The biggest one is the overall story should have been more upbeat. Also, the relationship between Chuck and Ariel is too dark. People watch FOOTLOOSE wanting to see upbeat dancing, teenagers standing up to oppression and people being happy…not some weak-minded hick assaulting his girlfriend!
One of the many great things about FOOTLOOSE, at least in my handsome brain, is just how ripe it is for expansion and other story ideas. It is literally endless. A few random thoughts I had while re-watching it for this review: (1) the ringleader of the book-burners is angered over Rev. Moore’s rebuke and while the kids are having their dance party he and his gang block the exits at the grain mill and burn it down. Killing all of the kids…which, of course, could lend to an extremely violent and graphic horror ghost-revenge sequel. (2) This has probably been done many times, but it would be a lot of fun to re-edit the audio in the music scenes to feature different music. This could honestly be done thousands of times and always be funny. Example: in the scene where Bacon is driving into the high school parking lot blasting Quiet Riot's "Metal Health (Bang Your Head)", instead play Tear Da Club Up Thugs "Hell Naw". (3) Borrowing from the mandatory BIM dance scene in THE APPLE, you could go for a completely opposite story where a teen moves into a small town that is controlled by a pro-music cult that forces everybody to dance non-stop.
Overall, FOOTLOOSE is dated, but still a fun film. Definitely worth checking out. If you don't like it, then you're probably a busta.
Double-feature with BLACK ROSES.
Tuesday, November 23, 2021
Nope, instead we get a clusterfuck story about an emotionally unstable helicopter pilot (Roy Scheider) who's selected to test out a new attack helicopter alongside an old military buddy (Malcolm McDowell) who literally hates him. As in murder hate. Anyway, these two go round and round talking shit until finally, at the end of the movie, they both get into helicopters and shoot the crap out of each other while Scheider's girlfriend digs in a drive-in movie theater dumpster. It's barely exciting and hard to believe that the same person, Dan O'Bannon, who wrote the masterpieces ALIEN and THE RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD also wrote this stinker.
In the early 1980's there was a flood of powerful machine movies / TV shows and a number of them featured vehicles that ended up becoming iconic: K.I.T.T. from Knight Rider, Optimus Prime from the Transformers, Airwolf from some show I forgot the name of and so on, but I doubt there's as many people who are fans of Blue Thunder. Hell, I was a kid when this snoozer came out and the only chatter about it on the schoolyard was the naked lady stretching in her living room while the sex offender perverts, I mean, police illegally spied on her.
Long story, short: great idea and a talented cast, but poor execution. Also, the Blue Thunder helicopter itself wasn't anything special. Airwolf would whip the shit out of it in twenty seconds. Hell, the Screaming Mimi from goddamn Riptide would probably just bellyflop on it and knock it out of the sky.
Worth a viewing for the curious, but it's dated and forgettable.