Identity crises, hard work and teenage angst turn out to be issues that span generations. The remake of the cult-classic “Footloose” speaks to an audience not all that different from twenty years ago.
Directed by Craig Brewer, the film puts a modern spin on an old favorite. For anyone who is not a master of 80s pop culture, here’s a basic synopsis.
Big city kid Ren McCormack moves to small town Bomont, only to discover that rock ‘n’ roll music and dancing are banned, because a group of students were killed in a car accident coming home from a dance.
Knowing that there is no life without music and dancing, Ren does all he can to introduce the small town to a good time.
Breaking the rules and doing the unexpected may be the underlying themes of the film, but they are also timeless plights of the youth, no matter the era.
Allison Harthcock, associate professor of communications, said the movie has staying power because being a disaffected youth does not change.
“There is a sense of rebellion and defiance,” Harthcock said, “a sense of throwing off the shackles.”
Harthcock said that because the circumstances surrounding the audience today are different than that of 20 years ago, resonance with the audience might be for different reasons.
“Now you are being told you can do anything you want, as long as it is scheduled,” Harthcock said. “Maybe this will resonate in a sense that the audience can cut loose.”
Recently, The Butler Collegian had a chance to partake in a phone conference interview with Julianne Hough, the film’s leading lady.
Many fear remakes of films for fear they will not measure up to the original versions. However, Hough said the film maintains the classic’s characteristics, giving the older version an updated look and feel.
“I think those who saw the original are going to be impressed,” Hough said.
Hough said Brewer filmed by the motto, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.”
However, preserving original character is not the only aspect considered in a film like “Footloose.” In order to create a movie filled with dancing and singing, the actors had to practice long hours to create an effortless performance.
Hough said the cast learned many of the dances before shooting, taking time to perfect the moves and add their own personalities. Nevertheless, routines do not magically transpire overnight. Much effort and practice goes into a performance, whether it is for the film or for the stage.
Practicing long and hard is something senior Butler student and dance performance major Heather Brustolon knows all too well. Often the daily life of a dancer is unglamorous, painful and exhausting. The movies often do not focus on this aspect of a dancer’s work.
Brustolon said the daily life of any dancer usually ends after a day of exhausting physical activity. It results in bruises from floor-work, chronic back aches from partnering and blisters on the toes.
“It’s not always pretty,” Brustolon said.
The point of the movie is not to illustrate all the intricacies of the life of a dancer. However, the work of the dancers does not go unnoticed. In fact, one might say that the level of professionalism may even add to the movie.
“It’s always good to see contemporary faces bring a ‘forgotten’ iconic film to life,” Brustolon said.
Despite the grueling efforts it takes to perform, Brustolon said she is hopeful for the debut of this film and is excited to see dance incorporated into mainstream media.
“In a society so dominated by sports for entertainment, it is important that dance be featured in popular film,” Brustolon said.
So kick off your Sunday shoes and break some hypothetical chains and see what happens.
“Footloose” opens in Indianapolis movie theaters this Friday.
For those who truly cannot wait that long, a midnight engagement will take place at AMC Showplace Indianapolis 17 on South Meridian Street.