Monday, July 12, 2004

Jump back!

Well, it wasn't allergies; turns out I actually had some sort of summer cold/flu thing. I spent the first part of the holiday weekend snuffly and feverish and generally irritable.

But. What did I do in this clammy, grouchy state, you might ask? Well, one night when I couldn't sleep, I sat up and watched every last minute of Footloose on VH1's "Movies that Rock."

And...huh. I seem to remember this movie being deeply awesome, when I was 14. Kevin Bacon! So...squintily tortured, as he leapt emotively about the abandoned warehouse! The kids, they just wanted to dance! DANCE! As I did, prissing around my room to the soundtrack album. I was secretly choreographing a figure-skating routine to "Let's Hear It for the Boy" by Denise Williams.

That sentence says more about my early adolescence than anyone should probably ever have known.

So. Age had not been kind to one of us, and I like to think that I've outgrown at least the most visible dorkiness. Footloose did not fare as well. Honestly, what were they thinking? What were WE thinking? A chicken race...on tractors? To the wailing of Bonnie Tyler? "Holding Out for a Hero," all oooh-oooh-Oooh-OOOOOOOH! in the background? And the tight, tight pants for both sexes--however did we walk around like that? Surely putting on jeans so narrowly pegged defied the laws of physics. And the dancing itself! Man, if you busted out that poppin', lockin', western-line-dance crap at the prom today, I imagine the other kids would simply turn on you and kill you.

It's sort of puzzling, too, because there were good actors in this movie. I am always happy to see Kevin Bacon, the hardest working man in show business...but John Lithgow, as the scary preacher who'd banned the sinful gyrations of dance? Dianne Wiest, his wife? Li'l Sarah Jessica Parker, as...the funny best friend? What did they all bring to the set, I wonder? Did they take it seriously? Did they think they were delivering an important cinematic message about oppressed youth, and the freedom to express oneself in a strangely ceaseless storm of glitter?

Finally...was this movie always SO GAY? I don't mean that in the purely pejorative sense; I'm talking about what the TWoP folks call the HoYay! I realize that Kevin Bacon gamely lampooned himself on "Will and Grace" a season or so ago, even doing that freaking dance...but somehow I had completely missed the thunderous homoerotic subtext blasting from every frame of this movie. Mr. Bacon and whichever nice Penn boy that is rassle, and dance, and cuff each other in the head fondly, and should just kiss already for crying out loud. Gayer than the gayest gay in Gaytown, I'm telling you.

Still, though. The climactic, absurd prom scene, all the kids kicking and stepping and doing the splits and backflips and the Robot and whatnot (um...if dancing's been outlawed for years, how did you all...oh, never mind), Kenny Loggins kicking off his Sunday shoes, all balloons and Christmas lights and Jesus, how much glitter IS that? Shit, y'all. That's fun. Any movie where the lead character's last line is to scream, "LET'S DANCE!" ...well, it gives you a little bit of ants in the old pants, it does.

It can't be just the fever.

* * * * *

I should mention that I myself can get to Kevin Bacon in four moves, if you fudge "in a movie with" slightly to "worked with." As teenagers, my sister and I worked in the same local gift shop for one Christmas. Later, in her first major graphic design job, she worked on a Clint Eastwood filmography CD-ROM and got to meet the man (a photo of the team luncheon shows the designers and computer dorks, hilariously paralyzed by awe, and Clint at the head of the table). Clint Eastwood was in "The Bridges of Madison County" with Meryl Streep, who was in "The River Wild" with...Kevin Bacon.

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