Posts Tagged 'dennis quaid'

Review: FOOTLOOSE (2011)

A lot of people reading this don’t need to be told why I’m doing a full review of the Footloose remake, but I guess I’ll do a refresher for those unaware. I’m a huge fan of writer/director Craig Brewer. I’m one of the few people who saw both his previous releases (Hustle & Flow, Black Snake Moan) in theaters. I love both of those films, and through his writing and filmmaking abilities, Brewer had proven himself to be one of the few original voices in Hollywood’s vast sea of remakes, reboots, sequels, prequels, and adaptations. So it was with great dismay when it was announced his next movie was gonna be a remake of the 1984 classic, I was disappointed, to say the least. At first glance, it looked like he had sold out and dove headfirst into that sea of unoriginality that most of us claim to hate. Time passed, and the project was out of sight and out of mind…that is, until the first trailer for the film was released in July. I had a visceral reaction to that trailer, and dedicated an entire post on this blog to breaking down why I thought I was being proven right in my original fears.

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Can We Talk About the Footloose Trailer For A Minute?

Before we begin this, in case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the trailer:

Okay, so I saw this trailer again this past weekend in front of Horrible Bosses, and I can no longer keep these thoughts to myself. And no, I’m not writing this because I enjoy the trailer. I hate it. It annoys the piss out of me. When I see it now, I reach for my mp3 player’s headphones and fire up some loud music for the 2 and a half minutes the trailer is up on screen. I can’t even tolerate listening to it. After I saw it again this weekend, I said out loud, “Kill me.” I don’t normally nitpick trailers, but this one is special.

For the 3 of you who didn’t know, this 2011 film is a remake of the classic (Is it considered a classic? I dunno) 1984 Footloose, which starred Kevin Bacon and Lori Singer. That film was nominated for 2 Best Original Song Oscars, most notably for Kenny Loggins‘ “Footloose” (I’m not linking to any video or embedding the song here, for fear of getting it stuck in my head- you know the song). You’ll be shocked to learn that I haven’t seen it. Nor do I particularly want to if it’s anything like this new version appears to be.

So the setting of the movie is the fictional town of Bomont, Tennessee (population 19,000 according to the sign), where “public dancing” is now against the law because some kids got in a head on collision with a truck while driving, and the town officials have had quite enough of that. How their public dancing had anything to do with this crash remains a mystery. I mean, I dunno about you, but when I’m having a lively discussion with my friends in the car, I always veer into oncoming traffic. Oops, just watched the trailer again, and they were DRINKING while at this outdoor dance party (in Tennessee), and appear to be drinking in the car before crashing. So the town officials (led by superserious, stern Dennis Quaid) believe what? That banning “public dancing” will prevent kids from drinking and driving? Mmkay. So that’s your setup; 1) Small Tennessee town where every high schooler is a professional dancer, 2) some of them drink and drive and die, 3) town’s solution is to say, “No more dancing.” Because, you know, teens only drink while they’re dancing.

Digression: If I write a script with that ridiculous set up, it’s going to get sold? Why am I trying to write a good script? Shit!

Okay, so after all this has happened, some attractive white kid (Kenny Wormald, who gets bonus points for being from Boston, but points taken off for doing the over-the-top Boston Movie Accent), who we’ll soon learn is also a professional-level dancer, ends up in Bomont (we’re not told why), moves in with the coach from The Blind Side, and falls for Stern Dennis Quaid’s attractive white daughter (Julianne Hough). She, too, is classically trained in hip hop dancing. Obviously! The two of them end up going on a date to a drive-in movie theater, which (and I’m LOLing while I type this) quickly turns into a dance-off, with the dude doing flips off the hood of a truck and her being so impressed she grinds up on him like they’re in a city nightclub. Stern Dennis Quaid catches them (cuz he hangs out at the drive-in?), and quickly gives her the “I don’t want you seeing him!” routine. Cue small town teenage rebellion, line dancing scene (??), an exploding bus (?!), and…the trailer’s basically over. FOOTLOOSE!

I did not make any of that up. The film is produced by Paramount, but MTV Films is involved, so you can expect to see promos for it during every Jersey Shore commercial break in the coming months as they hype the shit out of it.

I guess the only question left is which trendy hip hop or pop artist will remake the Kenny Loggins song for the soundtrack? I vote for Justin Bieber. No, Rebecca Black!

Why is this worth writing about for an hour? I admit that before the trailer debuted a few weeks ago, I was already somewhat interested in the film, ONLY because (that ‘only’ needs to be stressed) it’s directed by Craig Brewer, whose last two movies were 2005’s Hustle & Flow and 2007’s Black Snake Moan. I adore both of those movies. As such, when it was announced Brewer would be handling this remake, I was at first disappointed, but then curious as to why he decided to do it. Having now seen the trailer, it’s pretty obvious why he did it. While both of his previous films were great, neither of them made a whole lot of money (Hustle & Flow grossed $22.2 million off a paltry $3 million budget, while Black Snake Moan grossed just $9 million of a $15 million budget). It appears as though Brewer is doing this as a favor to the studio. This new Footloose looks like it cost no more than $30 million, and I’m guessing Brewer got 1 of those million up front, easily the biggest quote (Hollywood term for salary) of his career. Brewer also co-wrote the script, which is semi-encouraging for the prospects of the overall quality of the movie. In fact, the only person who would’ve been paid more than him on this project is Dennis Quaid, who probably got $3-5 million. And no doubt both have included in their deals that if this movie is a big hit, they’ll also get some nice bonuses on the backend.

Point being, after slogging through 6 years of making low-budget, low return movies and not seeing much profit, it was time for Brewer to suck it up and do a safe “studio movie”, which gets you the payday, improves your visibility within the industry, and opens up all sorts of opportunities if that movie is a hit. I can certainly forgive him that, because if it is a big hit, Paramount will no doubt let him do at least one more of his own movies, or something else that he’s passionate about. It’s very hard to find financing for interesting movies that don’t make a lot of money (i.e. the ones Brewer usually makes), even if they are low budget. It’s even harder to make any money for yourself doing just those kinds of films. I don’t know what kind of movie Brewer wants to make after Footloose, but I’d bet a month’s pay that it isn’t something like Transformers 4. So he takes a deep breath, covers his nose, does the studio movie, and hopefully gets to do something worthwhile afterward. Or I could be wrong, and this is the first step towards Brewer completely selling out. But I doubt it. I think Craig Brewer is one of the most talented under-40 filmmakers working today, so here’s hoping the future continues to be bright for him. THAT is why I’m interested in the fortunes (or misfortunes) of the stupid Footloose remake. Will I see it? Probably not in theaters, but I’ll check it out on Netflix because I’m interesting in seeing what Brewer brought to it.

You want me to make what?

Hustle & Flow (2 Oscar nominations, 6 Biggie nominations) is such a distinctive vision, in a setting we rarely see in a movie (urban Memphis), and features one of the best “music creation” scenes in the history of film (the “Whoop That Trick” scene). Black Snake Moan (3 Biggie nominations) is simply one of the most unique movies I’ve ever seen, and features perhaps the best performance of Samuel L. Jackson‘s career along with the performance of a lifetime from Christina Ricci. It also singlehandedly got me interested in blues music. Brewer has a special talent for casting, and is one of the best ‘musical’ directors working today, by which I mean the ability to naturally insert music and people playing music into a film (believe me, this is a hugely underrated skill). Naturally, I’d love to see him actually make a musical one day. It’s hard out here for a director pimp.

Here’s the REAL Craig Brewer:

Magical. I don’t know if Sam Jackson has ever been better.


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