“Footloose”: Please, keep on those Sunday shoes

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As Dorothy Snarker reminded us yesterday, in the land of recycled story lines, there is nothing new under the sun. I would add to that: Everything sacred to one generation of kids will eventually be ground into dust by remake machines for the next.

I take my 1980s dancing movies seriously, oh yes — leg warmers, tight pants, breakdancing, and all. There was Flashdance, with a baby-faced Jennifer Beals.

There was Dirty Dancing, the first one only, thank you.

And, of course, there was Footloose, with the fairly lesbianish Kevin Bacon, who stood up to joyless conservatives in a small town and won the right to be himself. The music from these films is like the soundtrack for every summer camp sock hop I ever boogied at. Sacred.

This is all a preface to explain my active nausea at the word that Footloose may be remade as a vehicle for Zac Efron, he of High School Musical fame. And HSM Director Kenny Ortega is in talks to choreograph Efron in this film, as well, so I have little doubt Paramount is out to cash in on that success.

Listen, I’m all for the idea that some stories are eternal and cry out to be retold for each generation. But at the risk of sounding like an aging curmudgeon blinded by nostalgia for her long lost youth, let me say I despise remakes and sequels that manage to lose the spirit of the first, or creative vision, or whatever you want to call it. Think King Kong, or The Stepford Wives, or (ye gods) Planet of the Apes. From the sounds of the project, we’ll be able to add this to that list of shame.

Here’s my first issue. The film is being remade as a musical, but not an adaptation of the Footloose Broadway musical. As far as I can tell, this will be a completely different beast — a film that is a remade musical version of the film. Please, Paramount, leave it alone! Go make your own dance movie. Like this one.

Or this one.

Or this one.

Secondly. Zac Efron? I admit that I was out of the country when High School Musical became insanely popular, and I still don’t understand what happened. Maybe someday someone will be able to explain his appeal to me, but for now, I’ll let the sparkling prose of Monika Bartyzel over at Cinematical voice my qualms:

“In the original, Bacon made dancing look cool in the town where it was banned — partially because he wasn’t some Disney-fied young actor obsessed with musical movies. He was Chip Diller from Animal House, not pretty boy Troy from High School Musical.”

Exactly.

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