Giving 80’s Remakes A Chance: Footloose and Endless Love

Where there are movies, there will be remakes.  22 Jump Street hit theaters this summer; it’s a sequel to a re- imagining of an 80’s TV show.  Here’s a look at some other 80’s remakes.



 Original (1984)

The story follows city boy Ren, who moves to a small Midwestern town that has outlawed dancing after a drunk- driving incident kills several of the town’s teenagers. Ren sets out to change the town’s mind with the help of preacher’s daughter Ariel. Starring Kevin Bacon as Ren and Lori Singer as Ariel, the original digs deep.  Ren deals with his father’s abandonment. Ariel deals with her overprotective father (John Lithgow). Said overprotective father deals with trying to lead a congregation and have a relationship with his family. The adults of the town grapple with learning from the past and moving forward with the future. The town’s youth have to learn to either follow their parents or break away. Featuring a top- notch soundtrack and smashing dance moves from Mr. Bacon, Footloose is probably one of the only non- John Hughes movies from the 80’s that lives up to its reputation. Bacon’s warehouse scene is totally priceless.

Remake (2011)

The remake stars Kenny Wormald as Ren and Julianne Hough as Ariel. Kevin Bacon left big shoes to fill, but Kenny Wormald nails it. This time around, Ren is an orphan who cared for his mother as she died of cancer. The remake is almost identical to the original, right down to the soundtrack of covers. Julianne Hough (who is really good at dancing and not really very good at anything else) almost single-handedly destroys the movie with her crappy acting and frequent hair- flips. Fortunately, Wormald is as good as Hough is bad, even if Ren’s warehouse scene kind of misses the bar. I blame song choice.  Dennis Quaid plays the minister; I like him better than John Lithgow in the original. He makes more of an effort to connect with the town’s kids. The remake fails to pack the emotional punch of the original and the kids’ extra- curricular activities (like monster truck racing) lean a little more redneck than small- town, but the changes make the movie more  modern and upbeat.

Winner: Tie

Endless Love

endless love

Original (1981)

The original Endless Love was ridiculous. It’s famous because it stars Brooke Shields, it marked Tom Cruise’s first movie (he’s in it for about a minute) and, probably, because it’s so utterly ridiculous. Jade (Brooke Shields) and David (Martin Hewitt) are high schoolers in love, but Jade’s overprotective father wants to tear them apart. It doesn’t sound so bad until you throw in the fact that the mom has a sick obsession with David, Jade blatantly has sex with David in her parents’ house, the dad gets hit by a car and David actually thinks burning down a building is a good idea. David is legitimately creepy and Jade doesn’t even seem to like him that much. The worst part? It’s two hours long.

Remake (2014)

The remake dials the crazy down several notches. It begins at high school graduation and David (Alex Pettyfer) courts Jade (Gabriella Wilde) over the summer. David comes from a blue- collar household consisting of his awesome dad, and Jade’s parents are wealthy Southern gentlefolk who recently lost a child. Because of her brother’s death, Jade sheltered herself during high school. Her previously close relationship with her parents accounts for her father’s overprotectiveness, which makes WAY MORE SENSE compared with the original, where Jade is supposed to have hippy- dippy parents who are totally cool with anything. The film actually copies more elements from Say Anything than Endless Love; Jade is a beautiful bookworm learning to live, and David just wants to be with her.

That said, Endless Love it still pretty bad. It has a very cheesy script. The teenagers do things real teenagers would never do, like play a stupid dancing game and break into a zoo. Gabriella Wilde and Alex Pettyfer are both beautiful people with mediocre acting talents and unfortunate hairdos. The film has one measly love scene, and it’s at the beginning of the movie. But it could be much worse. It could include some of the deleted scenes, where David immediately wants to marry Jade after two weeks of dating. Or, God forbid, it could have been like the original. The remake stars pretty people, makes more sense and makes a great guilty pleasure romance. It’s no The Notebook, but at least it’s not the original Endless Love.

UPDATE: I spent a ludicrous amount of money on the Blu-Ray Combo Pack, which came with deleted scenes, hoping for some juice.  Nope.  If there’s a good love scene missing from this movie, it’s hidden in the bowels of Universal Studios.

Winner:  Couldn’t you tell from the poster?  The remake!!


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