Remember that time Kevin Bacon was on Will & Grace and he did the Footloose high kick dance? That’s the level of joy I feel every time I hear the theme tune to this thing (or really anything by Kenny Loggins, if I’m being honest – one of my greatest regrets in life is missing something called ‘Kenny Loggins on Ice’, which was exactly what it sounds like). The movie starts with that song, and, lo, it was good, and the 1980s movie Gods did smile. Let’s keep this optimism going! Just kidding… I know this is going to really, really suck.
1. That guy from 3rd Rock From The Sun is a preacher. It’s real hard to take him seriously when he’s talking about “pornographic books and albums” now.
2. Dude. The mom from Gremlins and the mom from The Lost Boys are in this, and so is Sarah Jessica Parker. All at the same time. Having been writing for this website for a while, my brain is so confused, it might explode like that one Gremlin in the microwave.
3. Kevin Bacon’s hair looks like I cut it. While intoxicated. I mean...
4. The Hi Spot is the hot drive-in spot for All The Kids. Ariel puts some hot synthesizer-based music on in the parking lot that makes everyone dance awkwardly – even the dude cooking burgers in the kitchen and the dude playing a video game inside. Most powerful boom box I ever heard. It can penetrate walls, you guys!
5. Is Ariel’s hair grey? Yes. Yes it is. It’s not supposed to be. She is supposed to be 17. It’s weird. Why is Ariel’s hair grey?
6. Kevin Bacon listens to Quiet Riot in his sweet yellow VW bug on the way into school. This indicates that Ren is cool, y’all. It indicates that Ren is from CHICAGO.
7. Chris Penn (who plays Willard) used to be fucking adorable. I mean...
8. When Ren finds out that dancing is illegal in his new town he says, and I quote, “JUMP BACK”. When Willard asks him if he’s rich because he has “cassette tapes”, Ren says “Get serious!”
Ren has All Of The Lines.
9. “I Need a Hero” by (Welsh goddess) Bonnie Tyler is soundtracking a tractor race between Ren and Ariel’s boyfriend Chuck. I know I'm not supposed to deviate from the storyline, but here's the video for that song. Prepare to shout "Holy shit!" a lot. The fucking Grand Canyon is in this thing:
10. I totally forgot that people literally ROLLED up their sleeves in the '80s. Let's never bring that back.
11. Ren gets some shit from the family he’s staying with about the tractor race, so he drives to the mill he works in and does the Greatest Dance Routine Ever Committed to Film. It includes a montage of everything that has happened in this film so far (WE JUST WATCHED THIS), plus knee-knocks, whipping off shirts, smacking wooden trailers, sliding down staircases with un-lubricated hands, throwing shapes, handsprings, and some really awesome, bar-based gymnastic work. Prepare to laugh until it hurts you:
12. Ren takes the gang dancing over state lines. Him and Ariel make a lot of “WOO!” noises while Chris Penn contends with not being able to dance, next to Sarah Jessica Parker who is, apparently, incapable of dancing without a male chaperone. Where did you people drive to? Saudi Arabia? Hey, underage Sarah Jessica Parker! You’re being served alcohol four years too early! ENJOY IT!
13. Chris Penn not wanting to dance is my dream man.
14. Oh god, why does everyone insist on doing this knee-knocking thing every five minutes?
15. “Why don’t you just flake off?” a random cowboy says to Chris Penn before punching him. SOLID INSULT, BROTHER.
16. Dude from 3rd Rock From The Sun slaps Ariel. Lost Boys mom says nothing.
CHILD ABUSE IS OKAY BECAUSE SHE MAKES OUT WITH DUDES SOMETIMES.
17. “We think only a sonavabitch faggot would try that!” Can somebody please invent an app that goes back and removes every use of the word “faggot” from 1980s movies please?
18. Gratuitous male shower scene with actual naked buns. (Not mad.)
19. “If I’ve gotta get up in front of that council, you’re gonna have to learn to dance…” Ren says to Willard. CUE MONTAGE! Ren teaching Chris Penn to dance starts with finger snaps, segues through a lot of Walkman wearing, and ends in forward fucking rolls. Everyone is wearing cowboy boots. Did I mention that Chris Penn is fucking adorable? I shouldn’t be this into him when he’s doing the robot, but the heart wants what the heart wants.
20. Ariel is why I felt fat as a child. I mean...
21. Chuck confronts Ariel about her love for Ren and says: “You think I don’t see you looking at him like a bitch in heat? You’ll wrap those skinny legs around anybody.” When she objects to the level of misogyny being leveled at her, he hits her in the face until she is bleeding and has a black eye.
Is there a man in this town NOT beating this woman? No wonder she's got grey hair at the age of 17!
22. Ariel is walking around with a black eye and absolutely no one is asking why. I think maybe you people should be more concerned about this girl’s welfare than the sodding school dance you’re all obsessing over.
23. Ren’s house gets a brick through the window, over him planning the dance. Can someone go brick the windows of all the woman beaters in town? No? ( #Priorities )
24. Ren tells Gremlins mom that he has to put the dance on because everything he did to try and stop his dad from leaving didn’t work and his dad left anyway. I cannot, for the life of me, figure out what one has to do with the other.
25. Ren learns bible passages to get the school dance approved: “Leaping and dancing before the Lord,” he says earnestly to the town council. Ren wants to leap and dance before the Lord. Like a Lord. A spritely, slim-hipped, skinny-tie-wearing, feather-haired Lord.
26. Gremlins mom is hella proud of Ren even though she lost her job over this nonsense yesterday.
27. “I’m not even a virgin!” Ariel cries to her alien father in the middle of his chapel. She narrowly avoids getting smacked in the face again because they are interrupted by a book burning outside. Thanks Nazis?
28. “I just don’t know that I believe in everything you believe in…” Ariel says to her dad. “But I believe in you.” Her Dolly Parton haircut makes this whole scene more palatable if you can believe it.
29. All of the kids in town are riding dirtbikes without helmets to go blow up balloons and hang stars around a warehouse for their dance. How is dancing riskier than this flagrant lack of head protection?
30. There are 12 kinds of cake at this dance. My kinda dance, dude!
31. Chuck shows up and beats up Willard outside the dance. Then Ren joins in and does a lot of high kicks ‘til it’s over. DANCING IS THE SAME AS SELF-DEFENSE.
32. Post-fight, inside, small lights get strapped to whatever camera is filming this ( #SpecialEffects ) and an alarming amount of glitter drops from the ceiling, for like, 4 hours. Who is sitting in the rafters dropping all this glitter? And have they considered how much cake they’re ruining? #SaveTheCake