Dialogue Review – Footloose (2011)

Allen: I agree with you that this remake exists only to make money, rather than to bring a fresh outlook to a well known movie. The difference here is that I don’t feel that is enough to justify this movie being made while it appears that it does for you. It saddens me to watch a film that so blatantly exists with the intention to make a profit from its popular name. Now, don’t get me wrong, I think some remakes can be ok, and some can actually be better than its original, but this does not fit into those categories.

This isn’t to say that I completely hate the movie. I don’t think it’s blasphemous or a piece of crap. But what I do think is that this is a movie that no one really needs. There are other films that have far better choreographed and shot dance scenes (I would take Step Up 3 over this any day), and there are much better films that have that good old sense of wholesomeness (anything from Pixar). All of the important moments in this film felt clunky, and honestly, hilarious in a bad way. The recreation of the famous “Angry Dance” drew awkward laughs from the audience at our screening, and there’s absolutely no way I can take someone seriously when they say “Just let us dance!” with a straight face.

Brandi: I think the remake does actually bring a bit of a fresh outlook, even while hitting the same story beats. It feels lighter (don’t tell me Dennis Quaid’s character isn’t way less scary than John Lithgow’s), and the very fact that it comes from 2011 but unabashedly reaches for an ’80s vibe—and gets there without losing sincerity—makes it deliberate in a different way than the original was. And maybe it’s because I was laughing along—with the kind of laughter that comes with delight, when a film takes what it wants to be and just runs with it—but I think the preview audience enjoyed this a lot more than you’re giving them credit for.

Maybe no one “needs” this movie. I don’t think anyone needed another version of Batman, either, but doing that well and entertaining people and making money at it helped make Christopher Nolan one of the most respected directors in Hollywood. While I was initially baffled by Craig Brewer’s choice to do this film, I respect him all the more now for seeing how he took it seriously and crafted something that, yes, is very entertaining, yes, deserves to make a profit, and yes, earns using the name of the film that came before. But if this particular brand of entertainment doesn’t work for you, that’s all there is to it. We like what we like. I liked this.

Allen: Did you just compare this movie to Batman Begins?

Ok, so you enjoyed it, that’s fair enough. I did not. I think you’re giving the film much more credit than it deserves. Sure, it’s sincere and has good intentions, but I don’t think that is enough to qualify it as a good movie. If that were the case, then any mediocre film that was made “in earnest” could be called a good movie, and I think you can acknowledge that that’s not always the case.

It appears we are at a bit of a stalemate here. We’re going to have to agree to disagree on this one.

Brandi: I used Batman Begins as an example of a movie that didn’t “need” to be made. And I could pick a lot more films that fall into that category, that are still acknowledged to be good movies.

I don’t think good intentions are enough to make a movie good; the difference is that I believe this movie lived up to its intentions, and you do not. So yes, it’s a stalemate.

Final Grades:
Brandi: (an enthusiastic) B+
Allen: (a very generous) C-

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Brandi is one of those people who worries about kids these days not appreciating black and white films. She also admires great moments of subtlety, since she has no idea how to be subtle herself.

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