Monday Morning Critic – 10.10.2011 – Ip Man 2, The Footloose Quandary

Every Monday morning, InsidePulse Movies Czar Scott “Kubryk” Sawitz brings an irreverent and oftentimes hilarious look at pop culture, politics, sports and whatever else comes to mind. And sometimes he writes about movies.

I’m torn between wanting to see the update of Footloose being released in theatres. And I think a lot of people are, as well, because there isn’t a palpable buzz considering the pedigree of the people behind the film and the advanced marketing already behind it. And it comes down to one thing, I think, that the original isn’t really capturing: the “fun” factor.

Part of the downside of remaking iconic ‘80s films is that there are certain things that get overlooked. A film like Footloose had that sort of irreverent ‘80s fun to it. The new one feels a bit too forced, a bit too mechanical. And that’s my guess as to how the remake is going to play out based on the trailer alone. Nowadays it’s actually fairly easy to tell a film’s quality by the trailer. You really can’t cut a bad trailer out of a good one and you really can’t craft something good out of garbage material. The movie trailer has become much more indicative of a film’s quality, much more so than it was 30 years ago.

First, let’s look at the original trailer for Footloose:

Now this week’s version of Footloose:

My only problem with this remake is that it seems to be trading more on the fact that people loved the original as opposed to being a good film in its own right. And here’s the thing: the original sucked.

It’s a lot like Dirty Dancing, I think, in that it’s a film that hasn’t aged well but people still love because of the sheer nostalgia of it all. It’s one thing I noticed during a revival of Footloose at a midnight showing a couple weeks ago; everyone was having a good old time but the average age of the audience was late 30s to early 40s. People were having a good old time dancing the aisles and reliving all the horrible dialogue and the film’s funny finale where dancing gets legalized and the entire teenaged population of the town turns out to be professional dancers. It is a bad film, always will be, but it has a certain nostalgia factor for a generation that makes it enjoyable.

And I can see why you’d want to recreate that sort of magic for a new generation, complete with electrified country and the change from innocent dancing to twenty-somethings playing teenagers dry humping on a dance floor, but there’s something about this film that reeks of a dip into nostalgia for crass purposes as opposed to trying to recreate that same magic.

A Movie A Week – The Challenge

This Week’s DVD – Ip Man 2

You know, if I could figure out how to make a living doing so I could watch Donnie Yen mess people up in films all day, every day. He’s just that much fun to watch, thus leading to my purchase of Ip Man 2. And it was so worth it.

When we last left Ip Man (Donnie Yen), he’d been shot after messing up a Japanese general with his Wing Chun in a one on one fight. Fleeing to Hong Kong, Ip Man wants to rebuild his life after leaving mainland China. And he goes back to doing the one thing he never did in China: teaching Wing-Chun to the masses. Building his school, and running into the local martial arts community led by a master (Sammo Hung) with a tight leash over them all. Finding himself at odds with them, and then with the local Brits and their Western Boxing, it comes down to a big showdown where Ip Man once again is seemingly outmatched as a big baddie at the end.

And it’s amazingly historically inaccurate about the life of Ip Man but this series was never intended as such; really it’s the story of a good man who doesn’t want to be a fighter having his life come down to a series of fights. It’s the ultimate martial arts tale of the reluctant warrior because of one thing: Donnie Yen.

Yen is so much fun to watch because he’s the calm in the storm. While everyone else around ridiculously overacts, Yen is the calmest human being in the world. It’s as if everyone else was told to just chew as much scenery as possible and Yen told to be the exact opposite; it’s remarkable that Yen is able to do this during the entire film without resorting to overacting to just keep up with everyone else.

Strongly recommended

What Looks Good This Weekend, and I Don’t Mean the $2 Pints of Bass Ale and community college co-eds with low standards at the Alumni Club

The Big Year – Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson decide to take a year and do everything they’ve ever wanted to do.

Skip it – Steve Martin is usually a near guarantee to make an interesting and entertaining film if it doesn’t have The Pink Panther in it. Owen Wilson and Jack Black are pretty much indicators a film will suck and suck hard. No matter how awesome Martin is the total suck factor of Owen Wilson and Jack Black will turn this into a bad film.

Footloose – A remake of the film that made Kevin Bacon a star, but instead of goofy ‘80s dancing everyone dances erotically. Kenny Wormald and Julianne Hough step in to try and change the power of a small town through the power … OF DANCE!

Skip it – The original is crap. This will probably be recycled crap. I’m still torn but I’m leaning towards this sucking.

The Thing – A prequel to the John Carpenter ‘80s film with Kurt Russell. But without Kurt Russell and with Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton and a number of character actors.

See it – Normally I’m against remakes and prequels as a rule, but this one intrigues me. It has a great cast of secondary actors and seeing how a group of people encounter the “thing” for the first time could make for a good film.

Trespass – Nicolas Cage and Nicole Kidman are held hostage by some criminals. In limited release

Skip it – Hostage films are usually noxiously bad and have a ridiculous twist to them. Nothing about this film screams that this needs to be watched in a theatre.

Scott “Kubryk” Sawitz brings his trademarked irreverence and offensive hilarity to Twitter in 140 characters or less. Follow him @MMCritic_Kubryk.

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