A “Wonderful” Love Triangle Movie

Hello everyone! ¬†It’s back to the 80’s reviews, and what better movie to kick off with than¬†“Some Kind of Wonderful” (1987), directed by Howard Deutch. It has the old familiar set up of the hero being caught between two contrasting choices of girls. Roger Ebert probably summed up the concept best in his review, “it is not about whether the hero will get the girl, it is whether the hero should get the girl, and when was the last time you saw a movie that even knew that could be the question?”

Eric Stolz stars as Keith Nelson, an¬†artsy¬†teenage mechanic from a working class background. His best friend is a tomboyish drummer named Watts (Mary Stuart Masterson), and his dad Cliff (John Ashton), puts pressure on him to attend college, and get the education he never did, while Keith would much rather paint instead. He has a crush on the beautiful, seemingly¬†unattainable Amanda Jones (Lea Thompson). In a refreshing take on the normal procedure, Amanda comes from the same modest background as Watts and Keith, but as she hangs out with the “popular” crowd, this makes her “rich by association”.

After Amanda breaks up with her caddish boyfriend, Hardy (Craig Sheffer), Keith wastes no time in asking her out. She accepts his offer, primarily out of spite for Hardy.¬† This eventually¬†leads to Amanda being shunned by her snooty friends for daring to date outside the “in” crowd. Meanwhile, Watts has some issues of her own, as she has developed unrequited feelings for her best friend…

If you feel that the story that I’ve summarized sounds a little familiar, it’s because it was based the movie “Pretty in Pink” (1986), which preceded this movie by one year. It was not only directed by Howard Deutch, but was scripted by the king of 80’s teen movies, John Hughes. It’s worth noting that¬†the stories are eeriely similar to each other. While “Pink” is about Molly Ringwald trying to choose between a smooth rich guy Andrew McCarthy and quirky best friend Jon Cryer, “Wonderful” ¬†has essentially the exact same premise with the genders reversed.

When Hughes produced “Pretty in Pink”, his original intention was to have Molly Ringwald end up with Jon Cryer’s lovable goofball Duckie. However, the test audience for that film weren’t receptive to that ending, taking it as a sign that the rich and the poor social classes didn’t belong together. The ending was then changed to the one we all know, in which Ringwald ends up with McCarthy’s.¬†It’s funny to note that had “Pink” ended up the way that Hughes originally envisioned it, it’s highly likely that we wouldn’t have “Wonderful”.

If I had to pick between “Pink” and “Wonderful” as being the better film, I’d ultimately have to choose the latter movie, as the supporting characters are more fleshed out and entertaining in my opinion. In “Wonderful”, we have ¬†Duncan(Elias Koteas), a skinhead delinquent pal of Keith’s,who steals many of his scenes, ¬†Laura (Maddie Corman), his annoying younger sister, and Ashton as the open-minded parent who just wants the best for his son.

As for the main trio of Stolz, Masterson and Thompson, they all pull off their respective roles with aplomb. Stolz is appealing as the man in the middle, Thompson pulls off the typical popular girl role with freshness, and Masterson shines as the friend who pines away from afar.

“Some Kind of Wonderful” rates as 4 stars our of a 5 star rating. Although it’s predictable and slow moving¬†in parts, it ultimately captures the decisions of high school, and retains the¬†typical Hughes charm that come from his teen movies. “Some Kind of Wonderful” was the last teen movie Hughes was involved in, before he decided to try his hand at making more adult themed pictures. Nevertheless, “Wonderful” ensures that Hughes’ teen movie period went out with not a fizzle, but with a bang.

If you enjoyed this review, please feel free to check out the movie, “Pretty in Pink”, or you can read my review of the film¬†here! Until next time!


Living on the Edge of Seventeen

First of all, let me just say “Happy 2017”! I apologise for putting¬†this blog on hiatus for the past number of weeks. Surprising perhaps no one,I have spent most of that break watching plenty of 80’s movies to be the subjects of my future reviews of all things 80’s. My latest post is a little different, however, as it is based in the recently released movie, “The Edge of Seventeen” (2016), which is the directorial debut from screenwriter Kelly Fremon Craig. I was especially anticipating this movie because the leading role was played by Hailee Steinfeld, who I’ve admired as an actress¬†since I saw her Oscar Nominated turn in the Coen Brothers’ 2010 remake of the classic 1969 western movie, “True Grit” at the tender age of 13.

The plot concerns Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld), an awkward, moody 17 year old girl who is trying to cope after the tragic ¬†loss of her father just a few years prior. She feels overlooked by her frazzled mother Mona (Kyra Sedgwick) in favour of her “golden boy” brother, Darian (Blake Jenner). ¬†She seeks¬†solace in her best (not to mention, only) friend Krista (Haley Lu Richardson). At least until Darian and Krista hit it off and start dating, which¬†instigates in Nadine abruptly putting an end to their friendship.

Feeling adrift and as alienated as ever, Nadine regularly vents her woes to her perpetually disgruntled teacher, Mr. Bruner (an always excellent Woody Harrelson), who is almost always reliable to respond to Nadine’s theatrics with some deadpan remarks of his own. On the romance front, Nadine harbours a crush on hunky bad boy Nick (Alexander Calvert), and tries to pluck up the courage to actually, you know,¬†talk to him. Meanwhile, she strikes up a friendship with cute film nerd, Erwin (Hayden Szeto), who just might be able to show her that things are not nearly as bad as she makes¬†them appear…

First things first, I really adored this movie. It manages to take a genre that would otherwise seem tired and overdone (in this case, high school), and breath a new lease of life into it. Being only a few years removed from high school myself, all of the teenage characters behaved and acted as real people their age would, and not simply a scriptwriter’s “idea” of how they “should” act.

This is most prominently shown with Nadine herself. On the outset, she’s a tough protagonist to root for. Yes, she’s a drama queen, overly impulsive, and extremely rude at some points to the people she’s supposedly close to, such as her family, her best friend and her teacher. But she’s a teenager, and many of her reactions at that age are understandable. It helps to make her feel more authentic as a result.

The supporting cast are also commendable in their roles. I had only ever seen Blake Jenner portray the “nice guy jock” in “Glee” prior to watching this movie. As a result, I found myself to be pleasantly surprised by the depths that Darian’s character took throughout the course of the movie. Because Nadine’s the protagonist, and the majority of the film is from her perspective, we’re not privy to other characters’ viewpoints until Nadine herself is made aware of them. Darian isn’t merely a smug jerk, nor is Krista being selfish by putting her boyfriend ahead of her best friend. They all have more going on with them than it initially appeared.

The highlight of the movie for me was any scene with Erwin. I always love nerdy characters in movies, and Erwin is no exception. He’s a sweet, well-adjusted guy, and is refreshingly not a¬†stereotype , but much like Nadine, a real character. I was pretty surprised when I looked¬†Hayden Szeto¬†up online, and discovered that he’s 31 years old, yet Erwin can’t be no more than 16 or 17. However, this does does not take away from his otherwise solid performance.

In summation, I rate “The Edge of Seventeen” four and a half out of five stars. It’s one of the best high school movies that I’ve had the chance of viewing in quite a while, and I highly recommend watching it. Even though Nadine can be quite grating at times, once you get past that slight, the film works very well. It’s also topped off with a satisfying conclusion, which nicely ties up Nadine’s story arc.

I hope that you enjoyed this non ¬†80’s movie review. As always, please feel free to suggest some more “Flix of the 80’s” .

Why We Won’t Forget About “The Breakfast Club”


There are some movies out there that are simply iconic, whether they define a certain genre. “The Godfather” is considered the ultimate gangster thriller, “Rocky” as the top sports flick, and “Star Wars”¬†as the greatest Space fantasy epic. But when it comes to high school movies, one is nearly always lauded as being the one that nearly everyone will remember as being the one flick which actually gets what’s its like to be a teenager- 1985’s “The Breakfast Club”, written and directed by the¬† king of 1980’s teen movies, John Hughes (1950-2009).

The Plot in a Nutshell: ¬† March 24th, 1984, Shermer High School.¬†Five high school students, all different stereotypes, who would never interact with each other under normal circumstances, ¬†are forced to spend a ¬†Saturday together – in detention. There’s John Bender, the aggressive, rebellious tough guy (Judd Nelson), Brian, the intellectual, amiable nerd, (Anthony Michael Hall), Claire, the pristine and pampered rich girl (Molly Ringwald), Andy, the acclaimed wrestler (Emilio Estevez), and Allison, the anonymous eyeliner-clad ¬† loner (Ally Sheedy). They appear to have nothing in common except for their detained status and contempt for their overzealous, pompous principal, Richard Vernon (Paul Gleason). Initially, they do nothing but snipe at each other, and keep their distance, but as the day gradually wears on,they begin to learn about each of their home lives, and how there’s more to each of them than their first impressions suggested…

Actor/Character Observations:¬†¬†¬†Everyone gets a chance to shine, and not a single cast member can be faulted for their performances. ¬†Hall is appealing as the sweet, vulnerable nerd with a hidden dark side, and Ringwald¬†manages to make a typical snobby popular girl archetype¬†into a sympathetic character. Estevez shows off his emotional acting chops in a rather touching¬†scene. Sheedy makes the most out of¬†playing a character who doesn’t even speak for most of her screentime, so she has to¬†rely reacting to the others, until she slowly comes out of her shell .She and Estevez get some engaging¬†moments together. ¬†Nelson is at the core of most of the proceedings as ¬†the thug whose wisecracks and bravado mask some deep-seated emotional problems.

The adult characters aren’t as strong as the teenagers, but Gleason delivers in his role as a grouchy disciplinarian who has lost touch with his youth. Finally, John Kapelos, as Carl the Janitor, acts as a foil to Vernon, in that he can easily relate to the kids, and has much more common sense than Vernon.

¬†My Favourite Scene(s) in “The Breakfast Club”:¬†Where do I even begin with this category? There’s¬†the¬†crazily awesome dancing sequence where the gang just lets loose and dance together in the library, the club’s big emotional therapy session, and Bender’s “Eat my Shorts” verbal smackdown to Vernon (which may or may not have influenced Bart Simpson’s catchphrase only a few years later) .

But the most poignant moment has to be that after the group have emotionally opened up about their respective issues, they¬†deduce that they’ll never be like their abusive parents. This prompts Allison to utter ¬†“When you grow up, your heart dies”. This line alone sums up the belief that once we grow up, we lose all touch of the innocence and the possibilities that supposedly attends our teenage years. It’s after this scene that our protagonists appear willing to defy the ¬†fate¬†of becoming just as cold and uncaring as their parents before them.

My Least Favourite Scene(s) in “The Breakfast Club”: The scene that I always find difficult to watch¬†in an otherwise fantastic¬†movie is the one which takes place after Claire shows off her “lipstick trick” in front of the others (i.e. her ability to put on lipstick using her breasts). Bender is the only one who is unimpressed, and proceeds to cruelly mock and belittle her in front of everyone else. ¬†Granted, he did have a rough home life, but it was still no excuse for reducing the poor girl¬†to tears.

Ratings and Recommendations:¬†So, after watching the movie again, do I still like it as much as I did? Well, after watching it again, I have to admit that it’s still one of my top movies. Even though it had been a while seen I had last viewed it, I still recall relating to the characters and their plights. The reason that this movie continues to relate to modern audience ¬†members is because nearly everyone can identify with the protagonists. Even if you don’t empathize with the kids, you can still feel for Carl and Vernon, much like my friend. It delivers the¬†underlying message is that nobody is alone, and we’re all going through similar issues in our lives, without being preachy. ¬†“The Breakfast Club”earns a total of 4 and a half out of 5 stars from me.

So what do you think? ¬†Is “The Breakfast Club” a classic or just plain overrated? Which clique did you fit into in school? Feel free to let me know! But for now, I’ll let Simple Minds have the last word with their iconic ditty, “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”. Until next time!

Serenades, Boomboxes and John Cusack make”Say Anything” an Endearing Love Story

As per a recent request, I’ve decided to make the 1989 Cameron Crowe romance movie, “Say Anything”, the subject of my newest post. Chances are, many of you have heard of the movie through the excellent 2010 high school comedy, “Easy A”. You may also have heard of the movie through the countless parodies that have been spawned of a particular scene involving a boombox playing Peter Gabriel’s “In your Eyes”. But the question is, how does the rest of the movie hold up in comparison to that scene?

The Plot in a Nutshell: Recent¬†high school graduate¬†Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack) is a kind-hearted, yet aimless underachiever with no set direction in his life other than kickboxing. Diane Court (Ione Skye) is the brainy class valedictorian¬†with a scholarship in England ahead of her. They’re poles apart, but when they become an item the summer before college, no one is more opposed to the match than Diane’s divorced father, James (John Mahoney). The owner of a retirement home, James has always shared a special bond with Diane, to the point where he has encouraged her to “say anything” to him, hence the movie’s title. The last thing he desires is¬†for his precious daughter to be distracted by who he deems to be an irresponsible slacker.

As the summer progresses, Lloyd and Diane grow more in love with each other, eventually leading to them consummating their relationship in the back of a car. Pressured by her father, Diane ends things with Lloyd. Never one to be deterred, Lloyd attempts to win back her affections, to no avail. Meanwhile, Diane grows to see that perhaps perfection isn’t everything, and that maybe Lloyd is the only person she can truly trust, as her beloved father comes under scrutiny of the Internal Revenue Service…

Character/Actor Observations:¬†This movie is one of my favourites in John Cusack’s filmography.¬†In my opinion, Lloyd is one of the nicest, most sympathetic characters that Cusack has ever portrayed on screen. Though his earnestness, he creates a character whom the audience empathizes with. Ione Skye is an excellent choice as ¬†Diane, conveying the unsureness ¬†of a high school girl who, despite having all the makings of success, but has felt alienated throughout her school career as a result. Lloyd admires her for her intelligence, and despite her initially not knowing much about him, they hit it off. The chemistry between Cusack and Skye comes off as being authentic and unforced, and they have several gentle, charismatic moments together.

My Favourite Scene in “Say Anything”:¬†My favourite scene from this movie would have to be when Lloyd and Diane are proclaiming their love to each other after Lloyd’s kickboxing session. After all they’ve been through, it makes for a heartwarming moment that they’re both¬†vowing to be there for each other from that moment onwards.

My Least Favourite Scene in “Say Anything”:¬†Although it’s hard for me to select ¬†a scene from this film that I didn’t think¬†worked well, I have to say that I felt slightly underwhelmed by the famous boombox scene. Perhaps this was due to having seen it relentlessly be lampooned through¬†various forms of pop culture over the years, that when the scene itself popped up, it was something of a letdown for me. While I feel that it’s still a powerful, striking scene in its own right, I was ultimately let down by the hype surrounding the scene in pop culture.

Actors Before they were Famous:¬†In addition to Cusack, his sister, Joan Cusack, appears in a few brief scenes, as Lloyd’s… sister. John Mahoney, of “Frasier” fame, appears in one of his earliest roles, pulling off an impressive American accent which hides his British origins. Finally, future “Six Feet Under” actress Lili Taylor has a supporting role as Corey, one of Lloyd’s female confidants, who advises him¬†“The world is full of guys. Be a man, don’t be a guy”.

My Take on “Say Anything”:¬†“Say Anything” has quite a straightforward story, but treats the main characters with¬†sympathy. What I admire the most about this movie is that¬†through his direction of the material, Cameron Crowe permits for us to view James as a humane character, and not a one dimensional caricature. The two most vital relationships in the movie are ones that Diane has with both Lloyd and her father. For me, one of the highlights I have watching the movie are seeing both of these respective relationships evolve and be altered. To my surprise, I found myself feeling sorry for James, as while some of his actions were questionable, he comes across as any parent who simply wants the best for his child, and not as a one note villain, as some other teen movies may have portrayed him as.

Ratings and Recommendations:¬†“Say Anything” receives a distinctional rate of 5 out of 5 stars from me. Its story make be straightforward, but it’ll appeal to those of you who enjoy watching films which showcase the ordinary lives of teenagers, while not preaching or looking down on them. The narrative understands what it is to be a teenager with a seemingly impossible love.

If you enjoyed this feature, then I recommend some of Crowe’s other works, such as “Almost Famous”, “Jerry Maguire” or “Elizabethtown”. As always,¬†if you have any suggestions for a movie or a TV show that I could review, please feel free to share them in the comments!

Elisabeth Shue beats the Babysitting Blues in Classic 80’s Comedy

Hi there! Since the Disney Channel’s remake of “Adventures in Babysitting” starring Sabrina Carpenter and Sofia Carson premiered ¬†as the 100th Disney Channel Original Movie recently, I¬†decided that I would also view its 1987 predecessor of the same name, directed by Chris Columbus, who was also in the director’s chair in¬†the first two movies in the Harry Potter Franchise, as well as “Home Alone”, “Gremlins” and “Mrs Doubtfire”.

Growing up, I used to dub this movie as “The Female Ferris Bueller Movie”, as even though the plots are vastly different from each other, they both deal with the characters having adventures through the course of only a few hours. And naturally, both deal with the main characters having to race to get home before the parents do. So, how does “Adventures in Babysitting” hold up almost 3 decades after its initial release?

The Plot in a Nutshell: It was only supposed to be a simple babysitting gig… Chris Parker (Elisabeth Shue) is your average suburban teenager who is anticipating date night with her hunky boyfriend Mike (Bradley Whitford), when he cancels on her at the last minute. So she’s lumbered with having to babysit the two Anderson kids, precocious and sarcastic¬†Sara, (Maia Brewton),¬†who has an obsession with sledgehammer wielding superhero Thor, ¬†and sensitive older brother Brad (Keith Coogan), who has his own obsession in the form of an unrequited crush on his babysitter. Chris gets a sudden phone call from her runaway best friend Brenda (Penelope Ann Miller), who is stuck is a dodgy bus station¬†in the middle of the Chicago city. After being blackmailed by Brad’s sleazy friend Daryl (Anthony Rapp) into taking him along with them, the quartet take off to pick up Brenda.

On route, Chris’ car gets a flat wheel¬†, prompting them to hitch a lift with ¬†one-armed trucker”Handsome” John Pruitt (John Ford Noonan), who seems friendly, until he finds out that his wife is cheating on him, that is. Following a shootout against the adulterous pair, Chris and the kids¬†make a break for a getaway vehicle, right as it’s being stolen by amicable car thief Joe Gipp (Calvin Levels). This leads them to¬†them being on the run from gangsters/car thieves after Daryl steals a Playboy with crucial information written on (and the model just so happens to resemble Chris- what are the chances?)

From there, the night just gets more crazier from that moment on, with their crazy excursion leading them to a blues club, a college party, where they run into helpful college student Dan(George Newbern), and a climax which involves a skyscraper tower. Will our heroes ever make it back before the Anderson parents?

Actor/Character Observations:¬†Even though I felt that Elisabeth Shue’s character in “The Karate Kid” was rather bland, here I feel that because her character was of the most importance this time round, she actually carries the movie along. And the kid actors here given funny ¬†lines,¬†and generally¬†weren’t annoying, as some child actors are prone to be. Out of the three kids, I enjoyed Sara the most, as she had some of the best quips. Coogan’s Brad was sweet and at times pitiful, thanks to his unattainable crush on Chris.

My Favourite Scene(s) in “Adventures in Babysitting”:¬†The scene where Chris and her babysitting charges find themselves in a blues club¬†following a chase from the gangsters and are forced to improvise a blues number to get off the stage. Chris sings a ditty inspired by her hectic night, with the blues musicians backing them up, complete with real life musician¬†Albert Collins making an appearance as himself. The 2016 Disney remake converted this scene into a rap battle¬†,as a way to appeal to contemporary generations. In my case, it simply made me cringe for the entirety of its duration, and didn’t compare to the blues scenario of the original.

My Least Favourite Scene(s) in “Adventures in Babysitting”:¬†I may be in the majority with this, both I found the scene towards the end of the movie where the quartet have to sneak into a party where Brad and Sara’s parents attending seems would have to get my vote for the scene I found tiresome. It appears to be more slapstick in tone than the rest of the movie, and the bulk of that scene features Chris having to don a mink coat to evade the possibility of the Andersons spotting her.¬†It just didn’t work well at all for me.

Actors before they were Famous:¬†Believe it or not, but Daryl’s actor, Anthony Rapp, would go on to originate the role of aspiring filmmaker¬†Mark Cohen in the first production of legendary musical “Rent”. Similarly, Bradley Whitford, as the caddish Mike, later went on to have a career on the successful political show, “The West Wing”. (Even though Mike is presumably a high school senior, like Chris and Brenda, Whitford was 28 at the time, and he looks every one of those years!) Finally, Vincent D’Onofrio, from “Full Metal Jacket”, “Men in Black” and “Jurassic World” fame, cameos as Dawson, the¬†garage boss.

Ratings and Recommendations:¬†I’d give “Adventures in Babysitting” a solid rating of 3 and a half stars out of five. While some of the situations that our heroes find themselves in border on being slightly¬†ridiculous, chances are that you’ll just go along with the plot, regardless of the lack of realism presented.

If you liked this feature, then I’d recommend viewing “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” (you can read my review of the flick¬†here.) If you’re interested in seeing the Disney remake, which has toned down many of the adult themes of the 80’s classic (namely omitting the swearing and the Playboy subplot), I’d suggest watching that with younger children. Please let me know if you’ve seen the reboot, and whether you prefer the classic or original flick!


Robin Williams gives us many reasons to “Seize the Day”…

It’s been a year since the world was rocked by the untimely death of Robin Williams on August 11, 2014. Hours after reports of his death were made known, many flocked to social media sites to commemorate¬†the beloved actor by citing quotations from his best known works. Although Williams appeared in several memorable pictures during his long career, the quote which appeared the most was the famous “Oh Captain, my Captain”¬†line from “Dead Poets Society” (1989).

As I hadn’t seen the film at the time, and having no idea what the plot consisted I was baffled to say the least by this¬†quotation. I had a vague notion for what went on, thanks to an episode of “Friends”, in which Monica (Courteney Cox) meets a woman who has stolen both her credit cards and her identity. In one scene, “Fake” Monica relates to our Monica on how she was inspired to change her life after seeing a movie that was “so incredibly boring”- “Dead Poets Society”. After realizing that she was never going to get the past two hours of her life back, “that scared me more then all the other crap I was afraid to do”.

However, I was intrigued by the description of the plot, so I decided to investigate this apparently dull movie. Set in 1959, the film takes place in an elite private boarding school, “Welton’s Academy for Boys”. The story centres around a bashful new student, Todd (Ethan Hawke), his light-hearted room mate Neil(Sean Robert Leonard) and his study group- playful Charlie(Gale Hansen), whimsical Knox (Josh Charles), brainy Meeks (Allelon Ruggiero), brawny Pitts (James Waterson) and stuffy overachiever Richard Cameron (Dylan Kaussman). The boys are pressured to work hard in their academic careers if they stand chances of getting into Ivy League colleges.

The arrival of new English teacher, and alumnus of Welton, John Keating (Robin Williams) and his unconventional methods of teaching, under the Latin mantra “Carpe Diem” (or “Seize the Day”) challenges the status quo. The boys are inspired by his ways, and conspire to¬†restart the eponymous Dead Poets Society, which Keating founded when he was a student. Todd starts to emerge from his shell, Knox uses poetry to woo Chris (Alexandra Powers), a sweet-natured girl from a neighboring school, and Neil discovers a love of acting when he partakes in a local production of “A Midsummer’s Night Dream”. But his controlling father (Kurtwood Smith) demands that Neil forgo his acting dream to become a doctor, unwittingly setting forth a series of tragic circumstances…

Even though “Dead Poets Society” appears to be a cliche story about a cool teacher winning over his students with the most unorthodox methods possible, in the hands of Williams and director Peter Weir, the film is truly inspiring in many ways. This film belongs to Williams, as he relentlessly pursuits in making learning fun for his pupils. The scene in which Keating has the boys stand atop of their desks in order to view the world from another perspective, which eventually becomes the basis of the climatic final scene, as well as countless parodies in other works.

The actors portraying the Welton students have excellent chemistry with each other, but Ethan Hawke as Todd ¬†is the stand out for me, especially in the scene where he’s despondent over his parents gifting him with a desk set,as they do every year, and favour his older brother over him. His friendship with Neil encourages him to find his voice.

All in all, I give “Dead Poets Society” a total of four and a half stars out of five, as it’s a tale that can inspire mature teenagers to share their opinions without fear of being reprimanded for doing so. However, the film gets sadder towards the end, which could be upsetting for younger kids in turn.

In my opinion, Robin Williams delivered the most memorable performance of his career, and won’t that shouldn’t be forgotten any time soon. Thank you Robin, oh my captain, my captain.

Cutting Loose with Footloose

Of the numerous dance flicks that have be prominent over the years,especially those of the 80’s. the original movie¬†“Footloose”, from 1984 is the one that has struck out as the most memorable. Although it’s regarded as a “dance movie”, the primary source¬†of the movie’s conflict revolves around the fact that the story takes place in a town where dancing and rock music have been banned. That is until a teenage newcomer shows up and challenges the status quo, especially that of an extremely conservative preacher…

Ren McCormack (Kevin Bacon) is the new kid in the sleepy town of Bomont, having relocated there with his recently divorced mother (Frances Lee McCain) from Chicago to live with his aunt and uncle. He learns about the dancing ban from fellow students Willard (Chris Penn) and Rusty (Sarah Jessica Parker) that came into existence several years prior due to a tragic incident involving a gang of drunken students.

Ren makes it his goal to ensure that the ban is lifted, and to stage a prom for the high school students by pleading his case in a meeting with the town council. But things get complicated when he falls for Ariel (Lori Singer), the wild, feisty daughter of self-righteous preacher, Reverend Shaw Moore (John Lithgow), who just so happens to be the main instigator behind the ban. Will Ren be able to win the girl and change Moore’s tune?

“Footloose” isn’t quite a cinematic masterpiece, what its corny plot and even cheesier dance sequences (such as a bizarre scene of Ren dancing in an abandoned warehouse to the strains of “Never” by the Moving Pictures, which was hilariously parodied in “Hot Rod”), it has many moments of charm and genuine touching moments that we can’t help but be entertained by both the movie and its uplifting message to fight for the cause that are dear¬†to us.

Kevin Bacon is effective as Ren, playing him as a an affable, if unlikely protagonist, who is determined to do right, contrary to what Reverend Shaw believes about him. Lithgow is just as credible, as a well-meaning preacher who tries to connect with his daughter, but fails repeatedly against his own better judgement. Dianne Weist has some tender moments as Moore’s wife, Vi, who desperately acts as the mediator between her husband and daughter. Lori Singer has her moments as the preacher’s daughter who longs to roam free, and Chris Penn and a pre- “Sex and the City” Sarah Jessica Parker offer comic relief in strong supporting performances.

A remake was released in 2011. While it’s very good in it’s own right, it doesn’t have the same guilty pleasures that the original possessed, least of all, Kevin Bacon! While many might find the original’s excessive dancing scenes too much to handle, for me, it’s all part of the charm! To commemorate “Footloose”‘s 30 anniversary in March 2014, Kevin Bacon appeared on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” to poke fun at his role in the film by partaking in a “Footloose” flash mob of sorts.

“Footloose”(1984) rates as a solid 4 out of 5 stars, as it has an inspiring message despite all the goofiness that surrounds the main story. I would recommend it to¬†viewers¬†who enjoy dance movies in the vein of “Step Up” or “Save the Last Dance”, or if you’re just looking for an excuse to hear the iconic title song, as well as “Let’s hear it for the Boys”, since the soundtrack is quite infectious. Let’s hear it for “Footloose”!