Friday Flicks: Is ‘Footloose’ One of the Best Remakes Ever?

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Grab some popcorn! NewsFeed’s Glen Levy brings you the movies you should check out (or avoid) this weekend.



Tagline: There Comes A Time To Cut Loose

No matter how honorable its intentions, when is a remake considered too soon? Colin Farrell, for instance, is to star in a new version of Total Recall, which was only released in the 1990s. In fact, that film is so fresh that its catchphrases still roll off the tongue (“consider that a divorce!”). But Footloose only came out itself in 1984, which isn’t exactly a time when talkies were a novelty. One thing’s for sure: if it’s to be deemed a success, it had better be good to placate the passionate Footloose fanbase.

If you’re not familiar with the plot, it tells the story of Ren MacCormack (Kenny Wormald), the big-city high school rebel with a cause (more on that later), who has left Boston for the far smaller Southern town of Bomont. All he wants to do is dance (preferably to loud music), but he’s confronted with a dancing ban which, is like, so unfair. Can Ren win over the locals? Will he get it on with his kindred spirit, Ariel (Julianne Hough), the town preacher’s (Dennis Quaid) trouble-making daughter? And will Ren make you yearn for Kevin Bacon?

We won’t give away the first two questions but can reassure you that he – yes! – brings home the bacon. Those sure are some footsteps to literally follow in, and Wormald would not have been your first (or possibly fifteenth) choice were you casting the film. But he clearly knows how to move, as befits a former backup dancer for Justin Timberlake. And while Timberlake himself might have been a flashier fit for Footloose, director Craig Brewer (known for Hustle & Flow and Black Snake Moan, which actually starred Timberlake) is still able to let loose. Who’d have thunk that the man who burst onto the scene with the gritty (and really rather excellent) Hustle & Flow would have wanted anything to do with this project? But with everybody involved seemingly having such a good time, it’s like the weight of the original isn’t even a factor. “I know you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do,” says Ren, “but that ain’t gonna stop it from happening.” It’s as if he’s addressing skeptical audience members. In the fullness of time, this version of Footloose might just become the definitive one.

(LIST: TIME’s Top 10 Movies of 2010)

The Big Year


Tagline: Everyone is searching for something.

You couldn’t get further from the realms of remakes when it comes to The Big Year. A film about competitive bird-watching? Has there even been such a movie made before? (please let us know if so, and The Birds doesn’t count). But before Hollywood begins to pat itself on the back for a rare show of originality, we must inform you that this latest vehicle for the unlikely triumvirate of Jack Black, Owen Wilson and Steve Martin is adapted from Mark Obmascik’s award-winning book.

The Big Year refers to an annual contest in which birders cross North America over the course of 12 months to try and spot the largest amount of rare birds. And so the charming Martin teams up with the depressed divorcé Black to try and defeat the record-holding champ Wilson. Naturally, they’re all facing a crisis of some sort but we have an inkling that they’ll work out their issues once the end credits roll.

Director David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada, Marley & Me) has been at pains to emphasize the importance of the humans over their animal counterparts. “For me, it was never really a movie about bird-watching,” he told TIME’s sister publication Entertainment Weekly. “This is about three guys who want to be the best at something. There’s kind of a bromance at the heart of it.” Your interest in that ‘B’ word (bromance, rather than birds) may end up being the reason whether The Big Year is able to fly.

(LIST: Jack Black stars in TIME’s Top 25 Animated Movies)



Tagline: When Terror Is At Your Doorstep, You Can Run Or You Can Fight.

One of the greatest words out there to describe a movie is “hokum,” which manages to come across as both a compliment and an insult, which is a pretty nifty trick. But come on: Joel Schumacher directing a hostage drama starring Nicolas Cage. What word would you go with?

Cage plays the fast-talking, diamond-dealing businessman Kyle Miller. He lives in a mansion good enough to grace the pages of a magazine and is married to Nicole Kidman’s Sarah, who could easily grace a catwalk, let alone run the family home. Only problem is that Sarah is increasingly unhappy with her hubby, and isn’t as focused as she should be when it comes to the attention of handsome house worker Jonas (Cam Gigandet). Before we know it, la famille Miller has been subjected to a brutal home invasion led by Elias (Ben Mendelsohn, who was wonderful in last year’s Australian smash Animal Kingdom).

From there on in, you’re in the safe hands of Schumacher and Cage though you may spend the entire running time wishing to run or at least reflect that both leads were once Academy Award winners and this is not the path to a second statue.

NewsFeed’s Flicks Pick: Don’t let the remake tag put you off. Footloose is this week’s winner.

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Glen Levy is an Executive Producer at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @glenjl. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.