Making Sense of the Senseless Entry: Footloose (1984)

Author’s Note: Yes, there is a remake; no, I never saw it. 

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Recently I visited my Mom’s hometown in South Georgia to see a sick relative. Although the relative in question is home from hospice (not in a ‘You don’t need hospice!’ kind of way, more a ‘There’s nothing to do but wait for the inevitable’ kind of way)  it was overall a stressful and trying trip, especially this close to the holidays.

While driving down the little dirt roads and looking out over gray fields full of rusting farm equipment, dilapidated trailers covered with weeds, and yards full of chickens and goats, I recognized that I had always associated the area with the rust belt, even though it’s quite a ways south of that region. Any ’80s movie depicting economic decay, agricultural stagnation, and declining small-town industry always made me think of that area, and I’m sure residents would agree that the imagery is accurate, if not agree with the sentiment. In fact, part of the reason I never saw Footloose is because I already knew the story; hell, being a city kid who’d go to the country to visit a couple times a year, I lived it. I also picked it up from pop culture references and a joke in the Elvira movie, and there’s really only so many times the ‘big city vs small town’ pastiche can be explored. But I knew it to be a much-loved classic, and when I got home from a depressing visit with relatives, I thought I’d watch something kind of fun and upbeat.

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Noooot quite on the beat… But still having a great time! 

I have to say, I was very impressed! The story and characters had surprising depth, and I really appreciated the complexity of the conflict.

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