Footloose (1984)

I know this one’s a pop culture classic but it’s usually dismissed as a musical. Is it about music? Yes. Does it have choreography? Yes. But it’s primarily about censorship and communication. The main point of the dancing is to represent something that’s harmless in and of itself—even beneficial for exercise and social bonding—that’s been banned due to certain connotations stemming from an unfortunate incident remotely related to it. Fair points are made about the value of community and kinship but the script has nothing to do with country vs. city or traditional vs. modern. When a character—and not even the main one—matures from rallying his neighbors in an effort to suppress free speech to speaking out against a book-burning organized by the very people he inspired with his fear-mongering, the story needs to respected rather than remade into a one-dimensional musical about mean uptight adults forced to lighten up and let kids channel their creativity into provocative dancing.

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