Movies: Footloose and Red State

Movies: Footloose and Red State

Footloose / Red StateRating:  M / MA 15+ Distributor: Paramount / Curious Films Release Date: October 6 / 13Moviegoers will be familiar with most Christian caricatures and it seems the ‘Bible-thumping wowser’ is up for an outing at the cinemas this October with the release of Footloose and Red State.In 1984 Kevin Bacon helped define Middle America by […]

By Mark HadleyWednesday 5 Oct 2011MoviesReading Time: 2 minutes

Footloose / Red State

Rating:  M / MA 15+
Distributor: Paramount / Curious Films
Release Date: October 6 / 13

Moviegoers will be familiar with most Christian caricatures and it seems the ‘Bible-thumping wowser’ is up for an outing at the cinemas this October with the release of Footloose and Red State.

In 1984 Kevin Bacon helped define Middle America by his dance-driven confrontation with a small town in the movie Footloose. 27 years later this iconic film has been remade and set for release on October 6. At the heart of both stories is a worldview that makes Christianity the enemy of fun. Kenny Wormald takes over from Bacon to play the role of rebellious teen Ren McCormick. Dennis Quaid steps in to play the Rev. Shaw Moore who has banned both rock ‘n’ roll and dancing, but the Puritan streak remains intact.

October also sees the release of Red State, a story about a fundamental ‘Christian’ sect that lures teenage boys to its church by posting online ads for kinky group sex. Instead of carnal exploits, these young men are subjected to a vicious sermon by a volatile, dangerous preacher. The film descends into a violent struggle for survival that teaches the teens the true meaning of ‘fearing God.’ As one puts it, “People just do the strangest things when they believe they’re entitled. But they do even stranger things when they just plain believe.”

I’m not recommending that readers see either of these films, though I do think we should be aware of what these particular plots are pushing. Both prove the puritanical straw Christian is still a familiar figure in Hollywood, with the desire to sum up our faith in Jesus as a series of rules tending to serve two purposes.

The first is found in the irrational nature of these apparently Christian rules. By making tenuous connections between the Bible and its extremist supporters, scriptwriters seek to erode the authority of God’s word. Even though the average Joe realizes bad doctors don’t undermine the validity of medicine, it’s not a realisation they’ll often extend to religion. That’s because, secondly, seeing the practical end of faith as a set of rules to live by allows people to define their own religion. The ultimate justification is, “It works for me – and at least I’m not imposing it on someone else.”

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Show me a person dancing out of Footloose or Red State this week and I’ll show you someone more likely to make up their own steps to salvation.