Dance Dance Revolution: Step Up and Footloose

I’ve been on a bit of a Channing Tatum kick lately – which has since turned into the beginnings of a dance movie retrospective. I am not ashamed to admit it started with Step Up and the second showing was Footloose, which I actually had never seen before. I only rented Step Up because of the aforementioned Tatum, but the movie wasn’t all that bad. I give it a three on the cheese factor scale. Plus he married his costar, how cute is that?

I actually wasn’t even going to write about Step Up, but I found an interesting (at least to me) parallel between the two movies in how they exemplify what my generation and “kids these days” have to choose from at the box office.
It can be dangerous for a product of the 1980s like myself to watch a movie from that era, case in point Footloose, for the first time as an adult. Luckily, Footloose does hold its own and even people who never wore stone-washed jeans and jelly shoes should watch that one and not the remake from last year.
The target audience for the recent version may not even know where the inspiration for Kevin Bacon’s role came from, just like I don’t even know who the star of it (Kenny Wormald) is.

Maybe I deserve some criticism for not seeing Footloose in its heyday, but in my defense I was only 3 when it actually hit the big screen so it would have been some time before I caught up to it anyway. At 31? Why not?
It’s no worse than seeing Step Up at my age. While I enjoyed that movie more than I thought I would, my point is the target audience for Step Up can’t appreciate a movie like that as much when they haven’t been exposed to classics in the toe-tapping genre.
Channing Tatum will probably have a solid career 30 years from now, but I certainly can’t imagine anyone reminiscing about Step Up vs. an iconic movie like Footloose.
Numbers from the box office may prove me wrong someday with Footloose at No. 6 and Step Up at No. 7 among the top grossing dance movies from 1977 until now, but money isn’t everything.
Magic Mike is to date the top grossing movie of them all, with Black Swan in second followed by Saturday Night Fever and Flashdance.
Full disclosure, I haven’t seen those two movies, yet. But given their staying power on the list I think they will match my theory of living in the best of both worlds with a 1981 birth date.
The wheel is always being reinvented and I don’t mind artists who do that because, at least for now, there is also just as much original content out there.
The question is, will it get to the point where it’s all been done before and appreciation of the original gets lost?
Maybe this a little bit deep for a post that started out talking about dance movies, but they just made me think about the state of culture and film right now.
Ren McCormack can always lighten things up. “Hey, hey! What’s this I see? I thought this was a party. Let’s Dance!”
On that note, I only have Staying Alive (after Saturday Night Fever), Flashdance and Fame on my list. Send some recommendations my way, please!


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