Double feature: Grease and Grease 2

As much as I want to hate Grease (1978), I can't. I watched it a ton when I was a preteen (thanks VH1), so much so that the last time I saw it was when I was 14 about 8 years ago. By that age I was old enough to be sick of it and to understand most of the sexual innuendo. What's worse, though, was that I watched Grease 2 (1982) a ton, too. How or why I watched this more than once is a mystery (well, VH1 again). And I recall kind of liking it. So, to refresh my memory of both of these films, I sat down and watched both in a row.

Watching Grease was pleasantly fun. I remembered most of the film, caught a few more of the sex jokes, and was thoroughly entertained by the whole thing. The leads are disarmingly charming. Remember when John Travolta was attractive and funny? And I hate to admit it, but I know all the words to the songs. I avoid singing along to that Grease medley that's always on jukeboxes, but I know all of the words. In fact, "Hopelessly Devoted to You" is one of my favorite songs to belt when I think no one is around. Overall, the music is catchy and well written and sung by very capable singers. Plus, the songs actually further the plot/character development. And besides the problematic "moral" to the story*, it's just a solid film.

But the best part of rewatching Grease was realizing that Stockard Channing really was one of my favorite actresses ever. She's usually a side character, but she manages to drum up a lot of sympathy and personality with the little screen time she has, in this film as Rizzo. And I'd be lying if I said that I didn't find Kenickie a little attractive this time around, too. I think I finally caught on that he is a naive kid, and his relationship with Rizzo is fiery and fun to watch.

Here's Betty Rizzo:

I think I still enjoy "There are Worse Things I Could Do" because I haven't heard it 43239487 times. Also, listen to that 70s saxaphone action.

Grease 2 on the other hand is just a trainwreck. They try to bring back the principal, the nerdy Eugene, Leo (Crater Face), and of course Frenchy**. Bt now it's 1961 and there's a new crew of T-Birds and Pink Ladies, this time 23487 times more lame. The T-Birds have about 0 game, and the Pink Ladies are even more vapid than before. But it's not like no one was in this movie. Michelle Pfeiffer and Christopher McDonald went on to be in more and better*** films than this one. Anyway, this is what you get when you get a choreographer who is not Kenny Ortega behind the camera to direct half-baked characters played by mediocre actors (Michelle would get better and Christopher would find his niche).

Not to mention the terrible music. I love how they tried to get all the sex jokes in with "Reproduction." And the repetition of "Girl for All Seasons" was just painful, not to mention the Saturday's Warrior-esque vision of the biker. I have to admit that I always get "Let's Bowl" stuck in my head every time I've gone bowling, but that's kind of despite the song. But the best song by far is "Who's that Guy." The wonder filling the overly reverbed vocals is just magical. And when I say magical, I mean terrible. Check it out:

My favorite lyric is "Where can I get one?" because I agree. Maxwell Caulfied as Michael Carrington is the best part, and not for his acting or singing ability, but for his looks. I'm not sure how I'm supposed to believe any girl would refuse his affections. Really, he's the bright spot in all of this mess.

Final word, Grease 2 suffers from the Dirty Dancing Anachoronism Disorder, where the 80s shine through everything that is meant to be 1960s. The hair, the music, the awfulness: it all screams 80s and should only be enjoyed for it's campy mockableness. At least Grease has sympathetic characters. I guess Grease 2 suffers from the same plight as most sequels: it's unwarranted and way too long be enjoyed for how boring it ultimately is. But then I remember Maxwell Caulfield and feel okay about life.


*I'm pretty sure Danny would have taken Sandy back even without those sewn-on pants.
**Because if you want to learn how to make your own cosmetics, you don't go to high school chemistry, but that's just me.
***If you consider Happy Gilmore to be better, which I do.

1 comment:

  1. What!? I'm sorry...I absolutely love Grease 2. Own it on DVD and know all the words. Can we still be friends?