Flashback to the 80s: The controversy behind Footloose and its remake

Molly Apple, Staff Writer

While Footloose may seem like just another dance flick, the movie prompts discussion on topics such as the nature of remakes, teen rebellion, even dance culture at Blake.With all this recent talk of remaking films such as Footloose, everyone’s wondering if Hollywood’s just plain running out of ideas. Remakes are a tricky thing. If done in the right way they can come off as a clever imaginative spin-off of the original, but veer too far from or even to close to the original story and there’s a potential disaster.

When asked about the remake she remembers of the 80s, Stacy Helmbrecht-Wilson said, “remaking some movies can be cool, but when movies are so good remaking them can ruin it.” She also said, “The second movie has to be as good or better than the first and if you can’t pull that off then you shouldn’t remake it.”

When asked why 80s movies are so popular to remake, Patrick Barry says, “The eighties were so good that everyone wants to keep reliving them.”

Anne Graybeal says, “On a commercial standpoint, musical remakes caption the zeitgeist around programs like Glee, High School Musical or Scrubs.”  She explains, “People are finding ways to speak to whatever contemporary need it is that’s making us gravitate towards musicals by making remakes of great old films.”

Footloose, coming out October 14th starring Kenny Wormald and Julianne Hough, is about a city kid who tries to adapt to life in a very conservative midwestern town. The town has outlawed public dancing and rock & roll, but once Wormald’s character Ren MacCormack arrives, he leads the teenagers into a rebellion against the town. Will this musical remake have even the slightest chance up against the original? We’ll have to wait and see.

With a history of musical remakes, there is also a history of films about adolescent struggles between freedom, rules that adults have made, and what society says is or isn’t okay. Graybeal reflects on the community decision of banning grinding when she says, “Every adult who has seen Footloose [1984] agrees with the teens that they should express themselves, but if we use Footloose as a parallel for what’s happening at Blake, it makes the parents and teachers look like the bad guys when they’re really making their decisions in the best interest of the students.”

If, at the end of the day, movie remakes give a reminder of the social values we rely on, or a topic to discuss with our teachers and parents who loved the original, then the more remakes the better. Before seeing the remake, watch the original and we’ll see if it’s enough of a foot-tapper compared to the first.

Check out the official trailer for Footloose, which hits theaters October 14th, below.

Footloose (2011) Official Trailer