Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Portrait of a Badass: Ren

Character: Ren
Actor: Kevin Bacon
Film: Footloose (1984)
Badass Moment: Ren's anger surpasses the threshhold of smoking, quickly escalating to drinking, then dancing and finally gymnastics

A younger Kevin Bacon once taught us all a few important things. He taught us that we as humans should be able to dance where and when ever we want, and in what ever dippy style we choose. He taught us the value of freedom of expression...and of freedom from persecution by John Lithgow. He taught us all this and more in his role as a big city misfit teen called Ren (you eediot!) in the movie Footloose.

Poor Ren. His parents drag him away from home sweet Chicago and make him attend school in some unidentified rural town (I like to think it exists in the mythical state of South Oklaginiakotah). There Ren finds, to his shock and dismay, the town has an ordinance outlawing dance*. Furthermore, the locals don't take kindly to fancy-pants strangers who come into town with their Sting hairstyles and their skinny neckties and their black and white checkered loafers and think they can just cut the rug any old time they want.

Life in South Oklaginiakotah would get anybody down, to be sure. And sure enough, Ren's frustrations do come to a boiling point in the famous "dancing mad" scene. Through a carefully choreographed campaign of terpsichorean subversion, however, Ren manages to win a tractor race, teach a developmentally stunted farmboy a few "gnarly moves" AND get the town to repeal its despotic anti-dancing statute in time for the senior prom. Thank god for that because, as we all know, prom minus dancing equals nothing but a lot of underage sex.

Ren, you are a badass who doesn't fuse Flashdance with MC Hammer shit. We salute you.

*The town's anti-dancing regulations most likely cite the following obscure Bible excerpt:

"For thus saith the Lord God; In dancing ye shall be damned; And in having an abortion ye shall not necessarilly be damned per se, but be perhaps slightly shunned at My annual Big Heavenly Backyard Barbecue." - Proverbs 10:23

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