Ultimate 80s Blogathon Wrap-Up: 80s Dance Movies Triple Feature

We’re on our last post.  Today, Drew and I will be closing out with another of our reviews on 80s flicks.

Seeing as no one picked any dance movies and I wanted to end this in a grand way to wrap this blogathon up, I decided to do a quick triple feature on three dance flicks of 1980s: Flashdance, Footloose and Dirty Dancing. I’ve done full reviews for both Footloose and Dirty Dancing here before and you can seek it out if you want to read more in detail on how I feel for those movies.  Its obvious that I love a whole lot. Dance movies have always had a draw to me and its quite sad that its only in the recent years that I’ve really seen Dirty Dancing and Footloose in entirety but there is no doubt that they trump any modern dance movies quite a bit.

Before I get ahead of myself, let’s check out these three features! 🙂

FLASHDANCE (1983)

Flashdance

Director: Adrian Lyne

Cast: Jennifer Beals, Michael Nouri, Lilia Skala

A Pittsburgh woman with two jobs as a welder and an exotic dancer wants to get into ballet school.-IMDB

Flashdance might not be the best out of the three dance movies that I have here from the 80s, but it was the first out of the pack.  If you didn’t know what leg warmers were, this movie was the right place to start.  Its something of a fashion statement of a movie more than it was a great movie of its sort.  I’m going to be honest that I don’t prefer the story here but Flashdance was full of 80s charm from the music and the dancing to the style.  It embodied that time really well.

flashdance

I’m a late mid-80s baby.  To say I know a lot about this era is hard to say but some of the best dance films are done in this decade (excluding Grease).  While Flashdance failed mostly because I didn’t enjoy the character herself, I did like the dance and the music and the style of it.  The story of Flashdance is also one that first gives some sort of giving a purpose to inspire its audience to stay motivated for what matters.

FOOTLOOSE (1984)

Footloose

Director: Herbert Ross

Cast: Kevin Bacon, Lori Singer, John Lithgow, Dianne Wiest, Chris Penn, Sarah Jessica Parker, John Laughlin

A city teenager moves to a small town where rock music and dancing have been banned, and his rebellious spirit shakes up the populace.-IMDB

Footloose is  a step up from Flashdance.  It dials it back down to a small town scenario with a big town boy.  Kevin Bacon is one of my favorite actors (even more after I saw him in his recent Cop Car).  The young Kevin Bacon as Ren fighting on behalf of his fellow classmates for prom and the freedom to dance is really a great story.  Its about fighting teenage stereotypes, being responsible, and fighting authority.  Footloose is a fun and serious movie.

The thing with Footloose is that its not a whole lot about dancing.  There’s scenes here and there and some of the most memorable parts of the movie is the choreography that becomes rather expressive and fun.  But, Footloose gets one thing on point and that’s delivering us some cheesy scenes and dialogue.  In the true heart of the 80s, how can we not point it out? 😉

DIRTY DANCING (1987)

Dirty Dancing

Director: Emile Ardolino

Cast: Jennifer Grey, Patrick Swayze, Jerry Orbach, Cynthia Rhodes, Jack Weston, Jane Brucker

Spending the summer at a Catskills resort with her family, Frances “Baby” Houseman falls in love with the camp’s dance instructor, Johnny Castle.-IMDB

I’m not going to lie! Dirty Dancing is my favorite dance movie of all time.  One reason has to be that Patrick Swayze is so handsome.  He was the 80s man with a crazy filmography that framed the style so well from his hair to his daring nature.  He embodies Johnny so well.  This is a love story, pure and true, even if its finding and chasing what you want.  Its about stereotypes yet again with different social groups and dividing the rich and the poor.

dirty dancing

Its set in one location essentially but its able to speak very well as to the themes they want to cover.  Dirty Dancing becomes a little more daring.  Its takes the sexy dance choreography in Flashdance and the uptight/breaking free/stereotypes sort of story in Footloose and combines it to get to another level. Its able to use the plot to drive us to fall in love with the cast and their chemistry.  Iconic dance choreography, memorable quotes, touching and inspiring story: its hard not to fall in love and have the time of your life over and over again watching Dirty Dancing.

Overall…

Three movies, very similar angles with different back stories but all related to dance and dreams and fighting for whats right.  While the latter two are much more iconic and great to me than Flashdance, all of them have their mark in 80s cinema.  Who can forget Flashdance and the sexy opening scene? Or Baby seducing Johnny along to “Love is Strange” and imitating Mickey and Sylvia? How about Ren teaching a very awkward Willard how to dance with the Walkman down the school corridor?

The 80s brought us a lot.  Between John Hughes and his teenage drama/comedy, and the cheesy action flicks, some over the top romantic comedies that we couldn’t help but love, its good to know that there’s also some feel-good inspiring pieces in the form of dance movies.  I just love them! If you haven’t seen these, you should! 😉

Have you seen any (or all) of these movies? Do you  like dance flicks? 

Remember to keep your eyes out for Drew’s wrap-up review a little later today! 🙂

Step Up All In (2014)

The goal this year is to try to review everything I watched.  I did a fantastic job of that in the first two years of blogging and eventually it kind of fell apart as the versatility grew.  However, this year, I’m trying to step up  my game (no pun intended). The other night, I was sitting by myself after a long day of shovelling and cleaning and all that fun stuff winter and the holidays brings and I decided to relax so I pulled out Step Up: All In and gave it a go.  For the record, if you are new here, I’ve reviewed all the previous Step Ups already. I really enjoy them even though I very much know that they are not strong in their stories but the dance routines and the music are always what I go to this for, and well, Adam Sevani’s character.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves and check out the synopsis first! 😉

Step Up All In (2014)

step up all in

Director: Trish Sie

Cast: Ryan Guzman, Briana Evigan, Adam G. Sevani, Misha Gabriel Hamilton, Stephen Boss, Stephen Stevo Jones, David Schriebman, Mari Koda, Alyson Stoner, Isabella Miko

All-stars from the previous Step Up installments come together in glittering Las Vegas, battling for a victory that could define their dreams and their careers.-IMDB

 After the first Step Up with a decent storyline, the rest of the Step Up movies are very much about the dance, choreography and upbeat music that keeps it going.  Most of the times, the story is just extras to give it a little story in the background even if its very much predictable and cliche in every way. However, I don’t mind it at all.  The point is, I went in and came out with a skip to my step and started dancing and moving during the movie and being mesmerized by the energy of the dance and the originality of the choreography.  The dance talent on screen is really awesome.  Step Up Revolution was all about the dancing and Step Up 2 The Streets was all about finding the courage to embrace your talent and this is where the main guy, Sean (Ryan Guzman) and Andie (Briana Evigan) respectively come together.  The best part is that between these two coming together and of course, falling for each other in the process, Adam Sevani playing one of my favorite characters Moose gets a much bigger role. Except, its about how dance is hard to be a profession and it doesn’t matter how hard it is to reach your dream and how impossible it seems, you just have to remember that its what you love and not make it into something that you dread, in a way.  The message is there, as it is for every other Step Up movie: follow your dreams proudly and live out your passion no matter how hard it is.  Its because of this message that I love these Step Up movies also.

Step Up All In

Honestly, Step Up All In is the first movie that does feel a little empty.  It tries to focus more on a plot and giving us the story of Moose and Camille while building on Sean forgetting why he danced in the first place and his relationship with Andie making him see the light and not turn into a jerk who forgot where he came from. Fact is, the story could have been simplified much more and kept to the normal formula.  I applaud the effort of trying to get something more in there but you know what it sacrificed? The amazing dance choreography that the previous installments had. In the first 30 minutes of the movie, I actually started feeling a little sad that they had taken this path because the dancing was really bad and the music was lackluster.  However, once the group does get together and it heads into their training phase, it really picks up much more and the dance portion becomes much better and very engaging to watch.  They still try hard to put that story in there but the chemistry between the dancers, especially Sean and Andie start to shine.

Step Up All In

I think its time to dive a little into the cast. I’m not a huge fan of Step Up 2 so I have my reservations for Briana Evigan however, it has nothing to do with her dancing abilities.  I actually kind of really liked the dancing and even acting and whatever chemistry they had between Andie and Sean.  Moose and Camille (Alyson Stoner) are really great as well. They give it a lot of drama and its okay because I do like their characters even if its unnecessary.  I can get pass even that forced plot but my main issue was the stupid leader of the Grim Knights and the host of the dance competition Alexxa Brava (Isabella Miko). The latter wins it for parts that I wanted to fast forward because it is just over the top ridiculous.  And some of you know how much over the top ridiculous I can handle. She was just plain annoying when it could have been entertaining.

Step Up All In

Overall, Step Up All In adds in too much unnecessary plot to try to make this dance series into something more, in turn causing it to lose what I truly love it for. However, it is only the first little bit that has that issue and when the group LMNTRIX crew gets together, the chemistry and dance choreography take a turn for a very positive path uphill and turns into a rather engaging Step Up movie.  Its still very much a dance movie that is really nothing special but bringing back familiar characters from the previous installments and keeping the emphasis of following your dreams and passions is one that I truly love, appreciate and find rather inspiring. Although, unless you do love this franchise, I don’t think you will like this one a lot, in fact, you might as well go back to watch some of the earlier ones.

Have you seen Step Up All In? Are you fan of the Step Up franchise? Which is your favorite?