Grease (1978)

I can’t really come up with a good reason why I haven’t seen Grease up until now. I’m a fan of musicals in general even though I sometimes condemn the whole genre. I didn’t mind Travolta as much back then. I guess I must have missed it because it wasn’t part of my high school’s line up and I never felt the need. Still, it’s a cultural touchstone and I want to actually see it instead of associating it with a bunch of songs I’ve already heard. So let’s dive into Grease. Hopefully it’s more pleasant than that last sentence.

“Horrible seventies animation. Great. Also, the first song doesn’t make sense. It’s also pretty low energy for an opening number.”

The opening credits have really awful animation and a really awful song that doesn’t make sense for an opening number. It’s just a harbinger for things to come.

“Ok I wasn’t expecting the British accent. Why is this a thing?”

Seriously. Why is she Australian? That plot point never really goes anywhere. She could have been from Oregon or something instead. Really, really weird.

“Is Rizzo Kinickie’s mom?”

I guess it was seventies casting but they could have at least cast college kids to be in high school instead of people in there late twenties and early thirties. Of course, this is a common complaint for plenty of movies and tv shows. Kinickie and Rizzo are particulary old looking as Rizzo looks believable as a middle-aged mom at times.

“Ok Summer Nights is a good song. The first good one so far.”

Unfortunately it turned out to be one of basically three good songs.

“Pretty good character actors.”

The only thing that kept me from turning this movie off halfway through were the various character actors that appeared throughout. The Principal was pretty fun and so was the coach. The backup T-Birds and Pink Ladies were way funnier than anything else in the movie. I especially love the Three Stooges-type routines.

“They have a lot of blonde wigs. What the hell? Also, they are the worst friends. Also this is another mediocre song.”

The song in question here is called Sandra Dee or something or other. It’s awful and makes Sandy’s friends look like the biggest jerks. They kind of are.

“At least Travolta sings better than Pierce Brosnan. This number is strangely sexual though.”

A cheap shot at Mamma Mia which is somehow a worse musical. The choreography for Greased Lightning is pretty sexual and actually disturbed me by how much it looked like it belonged in The Full Monty instead.

“The Gamblers are playing the worst written songs in the history of music. They’re also pretty lackluster singers.”

There are a lot of boring and poorly written songs in this movie which is weird for a musical. The biggest offenders were at the dance-off which was even weirder. I don’t know what they were thinking. How did this musical get famous?

“It’s nice for the movie to have a point suddenly but there’s only twenty minutes left so it’s a little too late.”

There didn’t really seem to be a coherent plot up until the build up for the race at Thunder Road plotline but it comes too little, too late. It does set up the only action sequence which was actually pretty cool to watch.

“The first ten minutes and the last twenty are actually fairly good but there’s unfortunately another hour and a half.”

Yep. Pretty much. This movie drags so much and then it finally picks up just in time for it to end.

“This ending is bad and it should feel bad. They should have ended with You’re the One That I Want. At least this song isn’t that annoying. It’s just kind of annoying.”

The romance plot between Sandy and Danny was absolutely disgusting. There are no good excuses for it. Sandy is so weak-willed and Danny is so half-assed about the relationship. By comparison, Rizzo and Kinickie are a lot more likeable but even Kinickie is kind of a jerk but at least he gets a more proper redemption.

Ok let’s be clear. I really hated this movie and by extension I never want to see the stage version. The thing was so slow that I wanted to fast forward but for the sake of some sort of twisted journalistic integrity I didn’t. I liked some of the characters but Danny and Sandy grated on my nerves hardcore. Danny was an asshole and Sandy was kind of a clueless ditz about it. They did the storyline where the guy upsets the girl by putting on an act but he decided to change who he was to get her back. She already loved the real you, dummy. Just be the Danny at the beach who was apparently the real you.  Of course, he never does that and she changes for him and makes me want to barf.

There were a bunch of storylines that never went anywhere. Frenchy and her beauty school dreams, Sonny and Marty, Cha Cha and Danny’s past and a bunch of others. At least Rizzo and Kinickie’s storyline was at least a bit believable and they ended up being more enjoyable. They aren’t worth watching the movie for though.

The movie was dull as dirt and I’m really disappointed. The music was mostly awful and washed out except for Summer Nights. Unfortunately, the quality rarely gets back up the level of that one musical number. I’m left with nearly two hours of mind-numbing boredom until You’re The One That I Want. Just skip this movie and watch Summer Nights and You’re the One That I Want on Youtube.

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3 Responses to “Grease (1978)”

  1. Lise Mendel Says:

    She’s Australian because they wanted to cast Olivia Newton John… duh!

    I never thought the Pink Ladies were actually Sandy’s friends. She was a completely isolated transfer student who never managed to connect to anyone, which is why Danny meant so much to her. And, by the way, High School sucks…

    You’re right about the supporting characters being more interesting. Strangely enough, I don’t hate Grease, but it was never one of my favorites.


  2. S. L. Hennessy Says:

    I couldn’t agree more about the supporting characters.

    Good luck with the 2015 A to Z Challenge!
    A to Z Co-Host S. L. Hennessy


  3. Movies Explained Badly | Wolf of Words Says:

    […] A high schooler manipulates a girl into changing for him. Answer […]


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