Grease (1978, Randal Kleiser)

I still don’t like John Travolta and I still don’t have a clear handle on who Olivia Newton John is (I thought she was famous for doing workout videos in the 80’s, but now I realize I’m getting confused by her hit song “Let’s Get Physical”). But they’re both pretty cute in this movie, which was more of a chick-flick than I was prepared for. None of the other musicals we’ve seen have seemed quite as chicky as this one. Not that I disliked it, hey, I’m in touch with my chick-side, just didn’t expect such a giggling pillow-fight of a movie.

J-Trav is the coolest guy in a lame gang of guys without motorcycles or even cars (okay, one car), and Olivia NJ is a cute transfer student. They spend the summer together at the beach, but once school starts, he can’t hang out with her anymore because he has to stay cool, and I guess cool guys don’t date cute transfer students. Amazingly, NJ understands this, and shows up at end of movie with her clothes all gang’d up, coincidentally right after J-Trav has decided that he loves her and is gonna hang out with her anyway, cool or not. It’s like the gift of the magi. Well no it isn’t.

The “greased lightning” song is pretty happenin’, and I liked “summer nights” even if I can’t remember the tune so well now. Both of the hits are back-to-back at the end of the film: “we go together” (the changetty-chang-shoo-bop song) and “you’re the one that i want”, for the post-graduation-carnival scene. I was surprised at how functionally shot (or visually unexciting) the whole thing was, but I guess director Kleiser (big top pee-wee) and DP Bill Butler (Omen II, Rocky II, The Sting II) did the best they could for what looks more like a low-budget cult sensation than a big extravagant musical.

Followed by Grease 2, which lands a full 3.5 points lower than the original on the scale of IMDB voting. IMDB has nothing interesting to say about Grease 2, besides that it was popular 1940’s supporting actress Eve Arden’s final film.

Katy likes it. If I wasn’t so concerned with acting super cool around all my film buddies, I might say I liked it too.