Grease is one of those movies. We’ve all seen it at least a dozen times. We’ve sung along to the songs during karaoke. Grease has been the go to musical for high schools, colleges and local community theater groups for decades.
On June 16th, Grease will be celebrating its 40th anniversary.
On the surface, it’s just the simple will they or won’t they story set in high school. Danny (John Travolta) and Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) have a brief relationship one summer. After the summer ends, they don’t expect to see each other again. Then Sandy transfers to Danny’s high school. Danny is the bad boy, Sandy is the good girl. Their relationship, such as it is, is not easy.
This narrative is the blue print for many high school romance movies that have come down the pike since 1978. While the movie is cute and predictable, I have a few issues with it.
- The actors do not look like they are high school. While some creative teams who are also working on films/television shows set in high school have cast actors who look young enough to be in high school, it’s clear that most of the cast were way past their teens when they made this movie.
- The amount of sexism is astounding. Granted, the film is set in 1950’s, but still hard to ignore the sexism coming out of the script.
- Danny tried to force himself on Sandy and Marty (Dinah Manoff) is nearly given a roofy by Vince Fontaine (Edd Byrnes).
- Rizzo (Stockard Channing) has more depth than Sandy. How is it that Sandy is the lead female character, but Rizzo has the better character arc?
- Sandy changes for Danny. While Danny tries to change, he really doesn’t.
- I hate to say it, but Danny and Sandy are not going to last. While they do ride off into the sunset at the end of the movie, that sunset is short-lived at best.
Regardless if the bullet points above, Grease has something going for it. It’s been popular for 40 years for a reason.
Happy 40th birthday, Grease.
Randy Rainbow has done it again. It’s called Russian Ties and it is brilliant.
The themes of high school, young love and growing up are timeless. Add in a very catchy soundtrack, an iconic movie musical and you’ve got Grease (1978).
The go to musical for school productions and local theater groups for over 40 years, Grease is the story of a high school romance set in the late 1950’s. Sandy (Olivia Newton John) and Danny (John Travolta) had a brief summer romance. But summer is over and school has started. Sandy is now the new good girl and Danny is the leader of the T-Birds, bad boy greasers.
Danny is not the same boy Sandy knew over the summer. Sandy is spending her time with the Pink Ladies, the female equivalent of the T-Birds. Will Sandy and Danny’s romance be nothing more than a summer romance or can they bridge the gap that is keeping them apart?
We all know this movie. We all know the songs. The stage musical premiered in 1971 and has not left the public consciousness since then.
Do I recommend it? Why not?
Grease is a classic. A light and frothy 1950’s high school romance between a greaser and a good girl, it has not left our cultural consciousness since it premiered in 1971. In 1982, four years after Grease was transferred from the stage to the screen, the good people who run Hollywood decided that Grease needed a sequel. Grease 2 was born.
Two years after the original greasers have graduated, there is new senior class. Michael Carrington (Maxwell Caulfield) is the new kid in school. Stephanie Zinone, leader of the Pink ladies (Michelle Pfeiffer), can only date greasers, according to the rules the social high school hierarchy. Stephanie is becoming unsatisfied with her relationship with Johnny Nogerelli (Adrian Zmed), the leader of the T-Birds.
Stephanie kisses Michael based on a dare. Michael becomes infatuated with her. To get her to see him, he learns to ride a motorcycle, changes into a leather jacket and faces a potential rumble with the T-Birds.
This movie tries very hard to live up the reputation of it’s predecessor. The concept is there, but this movie isn’t. There are references to the original movie, with some of the original actors coming back for cameos or smaller roles. Despite the talent of the then young cast that includes Lorna Luft (Judy Garland’s daughter), the movie is not good.
Were the critics wrong? No.