Tag Archives: Stockard Channing

Thoughts On The 40th Anniversary Of Grease

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.

 

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Throwback Thursday- Sandra Bullock Triple Feature- Practical Magic (1998), Miss Congeniality (2000) & Two Weeks Notice (2002)

Every generation in Hollywood has the girl next door actress. She is actress who plays mostly rom coms and dramedy’s, but every once in a while, she will jump to a completely different genre that may surprise audiences.

In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, that actress was Sandra Bullock.

In 1998, she starred with Nicole Kidman in Practical Magic.

Sally (Sandra Bullock) and Gillian (Nicole Kidman) are not average women. They come from a long line of witches. After the death of their parents, they were raised by their very eccentric aunts, Frances (Stockard Channing) and Jet (Dianne Wiest). But in their small town, where everyone knows that the Owens women are witches, their lives are not as easy as the other women in town.

A centuries old curse states that the men who love the Owens women are pre-destined to die young. Trouble really starts when Gillian is trying to escape from an abusive relationship and her boyfriend dies, forcing the sisters to use magic to keep their secret. But the secret backfires and the sisters must find a way to fix the problem.

I like this movie. I like the themes of acceptance, self love and being open about who you are. It also carries a nice pro-women message.

Two years later, Bullock walked into the law enforcement/Pygmalion comedy hybrid of Miss Congeniality. FBI agent Gracie Hart (Sandra Bullock) can be described as anything but lady like.  But when she is forced to go undercover as a contestant in the Miss United States pageant, she and her colleague Eric (Benjamin Bratt), turn to Victor Melling (Michael Caine) to ensure that Gracie’s cover will not be blown.

I like this movie. It’s funny, charming and overall, very enjoyable.

Finally, another two years after that, she starred in Two Weeks Notice. Lucy (Sandra Bullock) is a lawyer. She takes on the job of being legal counsel for playboy and sometimes business man George Wade (Hugh Grant).  George needs a babysitter more than he needs legal counsel. Lucy takes the job, receiving a promise from George that a local community center will not be torn down and replaced by a development. But when George becomes too needy, Lucy decides that it’s time to go.

Again, I like this movie. It is charming and just very well done.

I recommend all three.

 

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