Saturday, August 25, 2012


I finally had a chance to see the re-make of Footloose.  It was amazing how much of the dialogue was the same.  And much of the dancing.  But, alas, they gutted my favorite scene--the tractor chicken game. 

The strange thing is that they kept much of the dialogue in the substitute scene.  Instead of two tractors going at each other with Wren (Kevin Bacon) tied to his tractor by a shoelace, the competition was between four school buses in a demolition derby arena.  With a figure eight track, the buses could collide with each other but there was none of the chicken dynamics--there is no signaling, there is no tying oneself to the vehicle (although Wren 2.0 does lose his brakes).  Ultimately, he and the other folks on the bus (putting out a fire) jump off before colliding. 

The funny thing is that Ariel (the object of the guys' affections/obsessions) has the same conversation with Chuck (the bad guy), telling he has smoked a lot of pot.  He responds, "don't tell me I had too much pot."  She counters, "I didn't say you had too much, but that you have had a lot."  "Don't tell me that either."  But the relevance of this is gone in the new version.  In the classic version, this is important--at least for using it in class to teach Chicken.

I would always ask my students in my big intro to IR class what Chuck did wrong.  One student eventually says, "He smoked pot."  And I would always say, no, his mistake was not showing Wren that he had smoked pot.  Signaling that he had less control, poorer reaction time and so on would help in getting the other guy, Wren, to swerve. 

Well, I guess it matters not much at all since (a) I am no longer teaching Intro to IR; and (b) we will always have the classic scene.

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