Tim and I watched Footloose on Netflix Streaming last night. Well, truth be told, Tim sat on the couch next to me and read the news on his Sony e-Reader while I watched Footloose. I have to say, outside of the hair and the dance moves, that movie really stands the test of time. Its message is still very relevant – censorship is bad and dancing is good.
The movie really made me think about my youth. I think that every one of the songs in Footloose – Let’s Hear it For the Boy, Almost Paradise, Holding Out for a Hero – was played at every single congregation get-together in the 80s and 90s. I even remember doing the bus-stop (poorly, since I have the same amount of rhythm as Willard (Chris Penn)) to Footloose. Ah, good times. It was actually kind of ironic that the music from Footloose was so prevalent at our congregation parties, as there was always a lot of concern in the congregation about kids listening to inappropriate music and about music awakening improper and dangerous desires in the impressionable youths. I guess, though, most of the concern about the music was focused on rap and heavy metal, which were of course gateways to drugs and spiritism.
Hearing those songs, though, really activated some memories. We always had the congregation dance parties in the same place – the community center. There was always a set of long tables sighing under the weight of deviled eggs, baked beans, scotcheroos, Fastco chips and 2-liters of soda. The room had dusty wooden floors that were perfect for dancing. After the buffet was over, the tables from the center of the room were moved to the edges and the bus-stopping and chicken dancing began.
I was never a quick learner at anything that involved coordination of multiple limbs simultaneously. One of our congregation elders was kind enough to spend a good portion of his adult life trying to help me overcome this weakness. He tried to teach me how to roller skate, ski, and dance. It’s actually pretty sad because I still cannot do any of those things well. But, despite my handicap, I still had fun at these dance parties until I was in my later teen years.
While the religion that we grew up in would be viewed as strict and restrictive by many, at least we were allowed and encouraged to dance (in the proper way and at the proper venue). And no one ever advocated book burning, so that was good. My Mom asked me not to read “MASH”, but that was the closest I ever came to censorship.
Thank you, Footloose, for bringing back some good memories. And, thank you Netflix for streaming classics from the 80s.