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Dressing its familiar plot in 1980s garb, FOOTLOOSE was a gigantic smash at the box office and, in a triumph of style over substance, joined FLASHDANCE and others in a parade of music video-influenced films scored with pop songs by big-name artists. Teenager Bacon moves with his mother McCain from Chicago to a small Midwestern town. There his disorientation is compounded by a prohibition of dancing or playing rock music in his new home town because local leader Lithgow, a fundamentalist minister, believes that such activities only lead to other sinful pursuits. Bacon now has a
cause and is determined to arouse the whole repressed community to rebellion. His principal convert is the minister's daughter, Singer, who takes a liking to the dancing fool when most of her friends shun him as an outsider--although, of course, it's not long until he wins everyone over. The movie
features some good dancing--not nearly enough, however--and a fine, understated performance by Lithgow in a role that might easily lend itself to caricature. The title song and "Let's Hear It for the Boy" were nominated for a Best Song Oscar.