My last for this marathon:Grease
(Randal Kleiser, 1978) -
I just had to include this on my short list of shameful blindspots within the musical genre. It doesn't seem to get much talk around these parts at all that I can remember, though perhaps I have just missed the Filmspotters for Grease
secret club meeting notices. It's the highest grossing musical of all time and certainly has attained an iconic pop culture status, so I had to give it a shot. It turns out I knew pretty much every song in the film, that was the first thing I noticed right off the bat. I have never seen the film or any kind of adaptation of the story, yet all of these songs are familiar to me
, and all quite good, especially the title track, "Grease", and "Hopelessly Devoted to You" and "You're the One That I Want". The second thing I noted was the great chemistry between Travolta and Newton-John. The film starts out with the cheesiest beach romance sequence I think these eyes may have ever seen, and I was worried then, but for the rest of the picture the pair made for a great, cute, even believable couple.
It also surprised me just how socially conscious it was, commenting not only on gang culture (though ultimately in the end it doesn't really show the dangers of it, nor does it ever really condemn it), but also on teen sex culture, the clique/bully culture, and trying to break down these superficial barriers. My favorite character in the film was Rizzo (Stockard Channing), and in fact my favorite performance. Even before the hefty news she receives I was on board with her outcast persona. But really all of the characters were fun to spend time with, if not the most thoughtfully constructed or presented. And I think that's all this film boils down to: fun. The dance numbers (especially the frenzy of the National Bandstand sequence) and the songs, while at times part of quite the cheesefest, are all just fun. They made me smile and I had a good time, which is all a film like this needs to do really to have my appreciation. It is a cultural photograph, part of the fabric of its own generation, which may lessen my connection some, but Grease
will always be Grease
, and it's good.*** - Good
So how does everyone else like it?