1978 musical

Rating: 11/20

Plot: A preppy girl and a greaser hit it off during the summer, but when the new school year starts, they find it difficult to be themselves and continue the romance.

I hadn't seen this in a long time and didn't mind being forced to watch it on a bus trip to St. Louis with a bunch of middle school students. Watching movies on a bus with a bunch of middle school students might be the ideal way to watch a film, by the way. I also got to watch The Goonies, the first Harry Potter movie, one of the Shrek movies, and Remember the Titans. For the most part, I just argued about politics on Facebook.

But I tried to pay attention to Grease as much as possible. The songs are memorable, maybe just because they managed to escape the musical in the last 40 years and spread throughout pop culture. And it's always fun to watch noted Scientologist John Travolta move around. Other than that, I can't think of anything enjoyable about the experience of watching Grease. It might be the most unoriginal musical ever made. It's yet another play on Romeo and Juliet themes, something that was already done in a musical about teenagers from different sides of the tracks. The songs aren't all that good, the 1950s feels artificial and plastic, the characters aren't memorable, and the dance choreography is boring. Individual scenes seem endless, and not enough happens in the movie to make any resolution of the conflict feel real.

Most reprehensible, however, is the message this movie develops. It's the idea that a person, in order to get somebody to love you, has to figure out a way to change in order to please that other person. That's a pretty sick message, probably more disturbing since it's the female character who has to change the most. What would a feminist say about that?


cory said...

An 11? I will have to get back to this when I have time in a few days, but this is probably the most offensive 11 since "Field of Dreams". I will say that both characters change for each other in the end. Travolta doesn't get into black leather skin-tight pants, but for that I'm thankful.

Shane said...

Who changes more?

I'll be waiting for your defense of this irresponsible, unoriginal film.

cory said...

Danny was whipped and was going to be the man she wanted; ready and willing to become her lap dog. It's just that she beat him to the punch, realizing that converting to naughty was much more in her interest than neutering the bad boy. You could argue than the film glorifies promiscuity, but given that the "high schoolers" range in age from mid-20's to Stockard Channing clocking in at 33 or 34 ( maybe she was held back for 15 years ), they were all due. There is a lot you can criticize about "Grease", but claiming that "the songs aren't all that good" is fairly indefensible. You might not like them, but there is a reason this movie and soundtrack were so wildly successful ( 28 million copies sold, so far ). Two singles went number one and two others were top five, and the music still works today. Name another musical with a greater number of songs people have heard of. Not only was the music successful but the songs had a lot of variety with upbeat pop, slow romantic songs, and 50's rock blended. I probably shouldn't admit this, but this came out around the time I turned 14 and I saw it in the theater...three straight showings. You could argue that "Grease" sometimes goes over the top and is utterly unrealistic, but saying it might be the most unoriginal musical ever is ludicrous in that I can't think of another movie that is anything like it. Boy gets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back can only be done so many different ways, but you don't call that "most unoriginal" if it is done well. Your review seems to show you in a cranky, "get off my lawn" mode, which the students may have brought out of you, instead of appreciating the spirit of one of the liveliest and funnest musicals ever made. You might not appreciate it, but that doesn't make your 11 right. An 18.

Shane said...

Well, maybe I was a little too distracted to put it on here. I'll give it the Movies-a-Go-Go treatment soon, maybe this weekend, and re-rate it.

Anonymous said...

field of dreams 11. grease 11. yep. nailed it!
dont tortue yourself by watching it again.