Move by Move: ‘Footloose’

(First published on

I need a break from Capeside and my Dawson’s Creek recaps – the other day I actively encouraged my boyfriend to get curtains and then requested that he practice kissing on a papier mache head of me.  So this week, let’s re-visit that all time classic, Footloose.  Now that  there is a re-make, I think we should take the time to remember a more innocent place.  A place of God, farming and Kevin Bacon.  


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Okay, so the credits open with lots of shots of people’s feet dancing.  It’s simple, yes, but it’s evocative and appealing.  Over the top the theme tune to Footloose – a song called ‘Footloose’ – is playing.  The lyrics of it seem to go something like this:

(Feel free to sing along)

Nat a gata cut loose, footloose, kick of your sunder shoos

Peas Loo-seats pull me offa my meats

Jack blim blap come on before we crap

loose you’re loose everybody gumma cut loose


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It’s Dick from Third Rock From The Sun!  I used to be crazy about that show.  Why did it get cancelled?!  The premise was flawless.

So here we are in a picturesque small town in America.  It has cows.  What, you don’t believe me?  Fine, here’s proof:

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Don’t you ever doubt me again.

In the local Church, the Preacher, AKA Dick, is talking about how there is an overflowing bucket of sin in the big cities that they have to keep away from their gorgeous cow-filled little town.  He looks very sweaty. Also, is that a ghost at the bottom of the screengrab?! OMG!

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Dick explains that the reason there is so much sin in because of evil rock and roll music.  Kevin Bacon is sitting in the congregation and rolls his eyes at this, subtly giving Dick the V sign on his chin.

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What does this tell us about Kevin Bacon? That he’s super naughty.

In other news, where are his mom’s eyes?!

Dick keeps banging his fist on the lectern to emphasise his point, hey look!  It’s Carrie Bradshaw!

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I think Carrie Bradshaw must have seen Kevin Bacon give the patented chin V sign and realised he’s super naughty, because she starts whispering to her friend about him. Her friend seems totally unimpressed – she probably knows loads of boys who do the chin V sign, like, all the time.  So she carries on painting her nails.

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Outside the church, Dick meets Kevin Bacon and his mom and introduces them to his daughter, AKA the girl who was painting her nails.  Dick’s daughter is called Ariel, but she doesn’t seem to have red hair or fish legs.  Weird.  Maybe it’s just that she doesn’t have them when she’s walking around on land.

Ariel, Carrie Bradshaw and their friends run off, with Carrie Bradshaw going crazy over how gorgeous she thinks Kevin Bacon is.  Ariel is less enthused, but then she’s married to a Prince, right?  The girls speed off down the highway, talking about their friend who has just had a baby.  They also have an in-depth discussion about diaphragms.  Then they notice a huge truck driving right behind them and shout at the driver to race them.  Ariel takes off her cardigan and climbs half out the window towards the truck, pulling herself up so she’s riding the two car windows.

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Carrie Bradshaw and her friends are appalled by Ariel’s behaviour, but it’s not her fault.  She’s probably not been on land long so doesn’t understand the nature of cars, and safety and not being an idiot and stuff.

Meanwhile, back at Dick’s post-sermon reception, all the parents are outraged that the English teacher at the local school is planning on teaching Slaughterhouse 5.  That’s my friend Gary’s favourite book!  I’ve totally got to call him and tell him about this! (Gary wasn’t that excited, weird).

Kevin Bacon says, “Yeah that’s such a great book!” and Dick and his cronies look at him like he just did a big turd on the porch.

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Later that night, awesome Ariel and her friends meet up at the ‘Hi-Spot’.  Ariel’s friends are still really mad with her, but she doesn’t mind.  She pulls the truck driver’s boombox out from the back seat of the truck (is that what people did before car radios?) and puts it on the hood of the car.  Then she inserts what she calls a “smuggled tape” into it and presses play.

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What would Dick think?!

The tape plays the worst dance music ever.  Also, the boombox must be really loud, because everybody within a five mile radius of it suddenly starts dancing.   In fact, the music is so loud Dick hears it and manages to cross the town in one minute (it took the girls at least four hours…  driving in their car).

He is obviously completely dismayed by his daughter but says nothing about the music after he’s confiscated the “rock and roll” (cheesy dance music) tape.  Instead, he gives Ariel some money?!  Mixed messages, Dick. The next day Kevin Bacon is getting ready in his pink bathroom.

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No joke, there is a bathroom in my parents’ house which looks exactly like this. Wow I can actually hear your newfound respect for me growing. He drives to school in his little yellow mini, blasting music out the window.  All the kids stare like they’ve never seen a boy with hair that grows straight up like a brush before.

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In the corridor, Kevin Bacon accidentally bumps into a boy in a plaid shirt and a pearly cowboy hat.  Pearly Hat is really annoyed with him, and Kevin retorts, “I like that hat, do they sell men’s clothes from the shop where you got that?”  Kevin Bacon’s whimsy pleases Pearly Hat, and they make friends.

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I might be wrong, but I think we have our love story, guys! #TRULUV

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The two lovebirds eat lunch together, with Kevin Bacon telling Pearly Hat about the exciting club he used to go to in Chicago. “It was a huge underground circus with pink neon walls and astral music!” Yeah!  Sounds awesome!  Who doesn’t love an underground circus?!  Pearly Hat is particularly impressed:

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Pearly Hat explains to Kevin Bacon that music in their town is banned because some kids died in a car crash and all the parents thought it was some dude called “Dancing’s” fault.  Who is Dancing?  Is that a character we’ve not seen yet?  Was he driving the car?  What is this Dancing person banned from doing?  Is Pearly Hat secretly Dancing, he just uses the hat as an awesome disguise? The cute couple drive home together, with Pearly Hat asking Kevin Bacon, “Are you rich?” Kevin Bacon replies, “No why?”, “Oh because I’ve never known anyone buy a cassette tape before”.  Were cassette tapes really expensive in the ’80s?!

Then this happens:

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The Police pull over Kevin Bacon for owning a cassette tape!  Wow.  I really don’t remember the ’80s being like this.  Maybe because I wasn’t alive then.  I can’t believe cassette tapes were illegal!  I can’t believe there wasn’t more about this in the history books.  I’m so glad I’m watching this documentary that explains what the ’80s were really like.

The next day after school, Kevin Bacon and Pearly Hat are driving home.  Pearly Hat describes Kevin Bacon’s balls as “jumbo coconuts”.  No word of a lie.  Kevin Bacon drives to the local factory where his sass and enthusiasm get him a part time job.  he does a really cute fist pump “yes!” when he gets the job.

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It’s blurry, but you can see the magic in his eyes. Ariel turns up as he’s working and tells Kevin Bacon that he’s going to have to meet the truck driver after school the next day for a fight.  (Oh yeah, he kind of had a little altercation with the truck driver after he called him and Pearl Hat “pansies”.  I was going to tell you but I didn’t think it was as important as the main plotline – their love story).  Here is a screengrab of Kevin Bacon checking out Ariel’s…boots.

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Err, OMG, Ariel is cheating on her Prince husband with truck driver!  I can’t believe it!

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Turns out she didn’t really love him, she was just using the marriage so she could come and live on land and make out with loads of other boys!  Poor Prince.  Maybe it was just doomed from the start because he was animated?  I always thought she should have ended up with the singing crab.

Kevin Bacon and truck driver meet at 5.30 to have a tractor race to the song ‘I Need a Hero’. Kevin Bacon wins, and we realise that there is no way to make a tractor race interesting. At school the next day it appears there is a massive shortage of students:

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Maybe they all died of boredom from watching the tractor race.

One of the other students (the only other student) tries to sell A DRUGS CIGARETTE to Kevin Bacon.

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Kevin Bacon says no, but the other kid forces him to take it.  Kevin Bacon gets caught with it by a teacher.  Using his wily skills (he runs to the bathroom and flushes the DRUGS CIGARETTE down the toilet before the teacher can take it for proof) he evades punishment.  But the teacher tells him, “I’m going to get you.  Just you wait.”

Why is everyone being so mean to Kevin Bacon?!  Is it the brush hair?! Kevin Bacon is feeling really hard done by, so he does what everyone would do.  He drives to the factory where he works and dances his heart out to some sultry dance music featuring lots of saxophone. I think we can all empathise – hell, I’ve done that three times already just during the writing of this.

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Yo,  Kevin Bacon, are your jeans tight enough?

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I like this part of the dance where he’s ripped off his sweater and is trying to push away the walls, which is a visual metaphor for how he’s trying to push away all the negative feeling from his mind.  Deep.

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Oh groan, look who was secretly watching him and now wants a piece of that. BACK OFF, HE’S TAKEN, MERMAID

They do loads of dorky stuff together around the factory, and I guess that’s fine and stuff.  It’s good for Kevin Bacon to have friends.  But then, if we weren’t already convinced of her lameness, Ariel does this:

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I don’t get it.  Is it because when she was a mermaid the way she got the Prince was by being in danger?  So now that’s how she tries to get every single guy to like her?  Someone should really explain to her that that’s not how it has to work on land.  Obviously Kevin Bacon rescues her at the last minute before the train hits her and they have a “moment”, so actually, maybe she’s a GENIUS.

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Oh God, look, it’s Pearly Hat. I feel so awful for him.  Urgh, and Kevin Bacon doesn’t seem guilty at all!  He even makes Pearly Hat clean his car, WTF?!  Who does that?! Pretty soon, they’re back to their flirty ways, spraying each other with their hoses.

Kevin Bacon takes Pearly Hat, Ariel and Carrie Bradshaw over the state line to a club so they can experience Dancing – great, we finally get to meet this mysterious character!  I wonder if he has brush hair too!  No sign of him at the club, but Kevin Bacon tries to get Pearly Hat to shake his tail feather with him and Ariel and Carrie Bradshaw.  Pearly Hat refuses, saying that he doesn’t dance.  But we know it’s not that, it’s that he knows something is going on, and he doesn’t want to dance with Ariel because of it.  Look at the pain in his eyes:

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“I KNOW WHAT YOU DID” his eyes are saying. Instead of staying with Pearly Hat, Kevin Bacon dances with Ariel instead?!  What the HELL?! The next day Dick gets seriously angry with Ariel for not being where she said she was AND HE SLAPS HER.  Things just got dark, guys, time to take off your sunglasses and see the truth.

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Kevin Bacon is petitioning the students to get permission from their parents’ for a dance.  Then he has a communal shower.

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He gets advice from the other boys about going to the town meeting to rally for the right to shake his ass (in really tight jeans).  It then comes out that the reason Pearly Hat didn’t dance is because he doesn’t know how to icon sad Move by Move: Footloose


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If they weren’t in love before, I think it’s fair to say they are now. Truck Driver confronts Ariel about dancing with Kevin Bacon and she punches him, then he slaps her.  Yes, she is slapped, again.  It’s like an episode of Days Of Our Lives in here.  Finally, she grabs a pole from the back of his truck and starts smashing up his headlights.  Since his vehicle is a huge part of his identity, Truck Driver is slightly perturbed.  They grapple with each other and Ariel ends up on the ground with a mouth full of blood.

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You know, for a side character merely added to the plot to create some conflict in the main love story of Kevin Bacon and Pearly Hat, Ariel sure has a lot going on. In typical Ariel “Ooh I’m in danger, come rescue me” style, she calls Kevin Bacon to pick her up and gives him a musical jewellery box because, you know, he likes music (?!)

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THIS GIRL IS GOOOOOOOOD.  Wow, I totally never realised how much men like musical jewellery boxes.

The next day after school, someone throws a brick saying ‘BURN IN HELL’ into Kevin Bacon’s Uncle’s house (where Kev is staying) and he finds out his Uncle’s business has been boycotted and his Aunt has been getting threatening phonecalls and his mom has lost her job. HOLD UP, this is all happening because Kevin Bacon is organising a dance?!  Seriously?!  I can’t believe the ’80s were like this!  So awful.  Was it because the jeans were so tight it was kind of obscene to watch them jostling around?

Kevin Bacon sits down with his mom and explains that the dance is really important to him because it’s him trying to make the world a better place.  It’s a really emotional moment, especially with the rock guitar solo quietly wailing in the background.

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Despite Kevin Bacon’s excellent speech at the town meeting (which is packed by the way, this is obviously a subject everyone really cares about…), the next day loads of people start burning books.  Dick hears about this and comes running over, dismayed by what is happening.  He tells them all off in an accent that is getting more and more Southern by the minute.

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Kevin Bacon and Dick have a pow wow and call a truce.  The next time Dick preaches, he apologises for being so determined to drive out Satan.  He then asks everyone to pray for the party and ask the lord to make it happen. THAT’S GENUINELY WHAT HE SAYS.  I’m starting to think this film is a bit ridiculous. Just a bit.


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Kevin Bacon picks up Ariel (poor Pearly Hat) and she looks super awful.  I think a gopher crawled onto her head and died. In fact she looks so awful Kevin Bacon starts crying mouse cursors.

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Mmm, they have delicious food at the party.

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Everybody knows the secret to a good party is a pie and loads of SPOONS.

Truck Driver turns up and Carrie Bradshaw tells Kevin Bacon and Pearly Hat to “kick the s**t out of him” (they’re corrupted already).  So that’s what Pearly Hat and Kevin Bacon do.  All that bloodlust and fighting really gets the party started, and it turns out all the teenagers are incredible dancers, despite never doing it before!  What a relief!

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It also appears that there are only 30 teenagers in the whole town. WOO, DANCES!

ROLL CREDITS (I really feel like they mis-handled the love story between Pearly Hat and Kevin Bacon, and who is Dancing?!)


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