Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How To Do A Remake Right (or Why I Sorta Loved The New Footloose Movie)

1. Choose a movie to remake that wasn't so great to begin with. Oh, sure, Footloose is an iconic 80s movie and all but it's also uh... not that memorable when you go back and sit through it in the cold hard light of 2011. The story, about a town that has outlawed dancing, is obviously ridiculous, the dialogue lame and there are seriously whole stretches of that movie where Nothing Happens. Repeatedly. Also barring Kevin Bacon's general awesomeness and John Lithgow, who brings it as reliably as ever, it's full of a bunch of actors who, call me crazy, probably didn't go onto bigger and better things for a good reason. (Yeah sorry, Lori Singer I'm kinda looking at you).

2. Cast a hottie hot hot hot as your star. Okay, so Kenny Wormald (ugh, Kenny, change your name already) doesn't look like much if you check him out on IMDB but I swear onscreen he's really got a certain something something. That something something may or may not include a certain resemblance to - call me crazy - James Dean and/or James Franco. Boyfriend Andy would like it on the record that he strongly disagrees but for my two cents he has the kind of gravitas onscreen that makes you want to watch him instead of anyone else. It doesn't hurt that his dancing is pretty ace. Also, despite playing a teenager in the film, he's not even jail bait so you don't have to feel creepy: dude is 27.

3. Put black people in the movie. Hmm, yeah, okay it looks like kind of a gross thing to say when I see it on the page, like the next thing I'm going to say is how black people just have a great natural sense of rhythm. But the thing is, when the original film was made there were seriously ZERO black people anywhere in the movie: maybe it didn't seem weird at the time but in hindsight it's... odd. Plus, the black chicks in the new version are about ten times better dancers than any of the white chicks, who mostly just writhe around and look like they're thinking about fucking their partner's belt buckle.

4. Recognise That You're Not Making Citizen Kane. Part way through watching the new movie I leaned across Boyfriend Andy to hiss at my friend Alex (who, God Bless Him, sat through both Burlesque and Step Up 3D with me... and secretly loves this sort of thing just as much as me) something along the lines of "Shit just got real". Onscreen the movie's first proper dance scene was just about to kick off and I was both nervous and excited: nervous because there is absolutely nothing lamer than a tasty bit of trash that takes itself too seriously and excited because I didn't think Footloose was going to fall into that category. It did not: I don't think anybody making this movie had any illusions about what kind of movie they were making and so, for the most part, the serious bits of the movie were outweighed by the deliciously ridiculous. How many movies could pull off an awesome segue from "teenage boy who just watched his mother die of cancer" to "now he's racing an on-fire school bus around a race track for no apparent reason"? Well, this one does it.

5. Inject some (desperately lacking in the original) INTENTIONAL humour into the film via a wise-cracking best friend. Okay, so I know I crapped on a bit back there about Kenny Wormald but, I must confess, I think Miles Teller is the real scene stealer of the film. From the moment he appears on screen, smacking into our hero in the school halls, this guy had my lips twitching. He does everything you want a Funny Best Friend to do: crack jokes, be awesome and make the hero look better just by being friends with him. I don't want to spoil the end of the movie or anything but in the final scene his character, Willard, and Kenny's character dance together and... I don't even know. I may never recover from seeing those glorious two minutes. And I mean that in a very good way.

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