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30 years ago today: Everybody cut 'Footloose'



Thirty years ago today, '80s nation was holding out for a hero. Thankfully, Kevin Bacon came along and everybody cut Footloose. The movie, about a street-wise city teen who moves to a rural town where dancing is outlawed, hit theaters on Feb. 17, 1984.

The movie turned Bacon, who'd made some waves in Animal House, Friday the 13th and Diner, into a household name. John Lithgow (Rev. Shaw Moore), Dianne Wiest (the reverend's wife) and Lori Singer (as Bacon's love interest) also dazzled. And it transformed Sean Penn's brother Chris into the world's most lovable dancing teddy bear. (And hey, that's Sex in the City's Sarah Jessica Parker over there as "Rusty." Awww, so cute.)

As much as Footloose is a part of the '80s, it didn't receive the warmest reviews. Today, it still holds only a 54 percent "fresh" rating at Rotten Tomatoes. And the Chicago Sun-Times' Roger Ebert called it "a seriously confused movie that tries to do three things, and does all of them badly. It wants to tell the story of a conflict in a town, it wants to introduce some flashy teenage characters, and part of the time it wants to be a music video."

The soundtrack was a best seller, and AFI would later choose Kenny Loggins' title track as the 96th best movie song. And remake in 2011 made ripples.

But what else do you remember about Footloose?


1. Tom Cruise was the first pick to play the lead role, Ren McCormack, but he was already filming All The Right Moves. Rob Lowe also auditioned but an injury prevented him from taking the role.

2. The role of the rebellious Ariel attracted Madonna to the audition. Daryl Hannah was also offered the role but turned it down to co-star in Splash. In fact, the list of actresses consered for Ariel is long and distinguished: Meg Ryan, Heather Locklear, Brooke Shields, Jamie Lee Curtis, Phoebe Cates, and on and on.

3. The story was based on events in Elmore City, Oklahoma, where in 1978, a group of teens challenged a ban on dancing that had been in place for nearly 90 years. teenagers challenged it.

4. Bacon, then 24 years old, actually went to classes at Payson Utah High School as "Ren McCormack," telling kids he was a transfer student from Philadelphia and dressing pretty much as he did in the film -- with the kids mistreating him pretty much as they did in the movie.

5. The dancing feet in the opening credit sequence? Those are the feet of the cast and crew and more than 150 pairs of feet were shot. The dancer with the gold shoes? That's Kenny Loggins.

[Last modified: Monday, February 17, 2014 12:02pm]


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