Grease review, Part 1 - Off on a tangent
Is it just me or is it always the case that when you're watching a prison movie you wonder "gee, how would I
hold up in a place like that
"? Basically every prison movie is about a men's prison so maybe that's just a guy thing, yea? How 'bout it ladies? Do you also ask yourselves such hypothetical questions? If you do, do you imagine a male version of yourself trying to survive in jail? Or do you instead imagine all the prisoners are women? How does that work?
This makes me wonder, are prison movies "guy movies" in the stereotypical sense? Is there such a thing as guy movies and girl movies? My knee-jerk reaction to both questions was yes... but then I did a little research on imdb and what I discovered surprised me.
I looked up a variety of prison movies and compared the average male vote to the average female vote, and as you can see the difference is negligible. Both men and women seem to enjoy prison movies an equal amount (in fact, on the whole women enjoy them a tad more).
So maybe men's and women's average votes are close like that for all films? To test that theory I examined two other genres that I figured would favour a particular gender. Westerns and Musicals.
The difference between the men's and women's votes isn't overwhelming, it might be the difference between "good" and "very good". But while that's not strong enough to prove any stereotypes it does at least show a consistent bias. The kind of bias I had imagined would exist for prison movies. And actually the results are more significant then they appear. You'll be hard pressed to find any
film with a difference of more than 1.1 (believe me I've tried. So far the only one I've found is Devine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
with a 1.2 difference, lol! So yeah, it's harder than you might think).
I assumed, before really giving it any thought, that men liked Westerns because they were about men in male-dominated environments, and that somehow that appealed to us more and that we could relate to it better or something. But then, prison movies are also about men in male-dominated environmates, so I don't know. Is there anything to be made out of this information? I guess it answers the question of whether or not prison movies are guy movies or not. But what about westerns and musicals? Why do guys seem to like westerns more and why do women seem to like musicals more?
Anyways, back to the question "how would I hold up in prison?" It's a strange thing to ask ourselves considering we're not criminals and won't ever be in that situation. So why do we do it? What is it about prison that gets us thinking about such things? Well, prison does seem to bring out a kind of truth. It stripes away everything... our status, our reputation, our friends, our confidence, the rules we live by, and the level of safety and control we've become accustomed to. It leaves us raw and alone, as if it were some sort of distillery for human beings. Maybe it's that quality that makes prison movies inherently catchy, and somehow demands we play along. Through watching, and putting ourselves into the story, we test ourselves. We uncover fundamental aspects of our personality. Or at least we think we do... we can only imagine what it's "really" like and how we'd "really" react, but still...
What other situation could so quicky reduce a person to that most basic level, stripping away everything like that? Actually, I can think of one such situation. The first day of high school.
Grease review, Part 2 - You call that a segue?
It's true though isn't it? You come to highschool and your status, your reputation, essentially get's reset to zero. Everyone is bigger than you and they know more than you. You try to act like it's no big deal but nobody buys it. They can sniff you out. And I don't know about the rest of you but in Canada (at least where I grew up in Vancouver) high school was grades 8-12. There was no junior and senior high. You walk in, an 8th grader, maybe 13 or 14 years old and still adjusting to the bewildering effects of puberty. The oldest kids have cars, facial hair and girlfriends... you have braces, acne and one of those stupid half-size lockers they reserve for the freshmen (maybe they make them that small so you can't get stuffed inside).
As if that wasn't already bad enough, I remember while I was still in grade 7 they took my class to the local high school to show us around... get us used to the idea of where we were headed. If you weren't already a little intimidated at the thought of going to high school, you were after this trip. Your smallness really hit home. It was like one of those of Maury Povich episodes where he sends wild teenagers to jail for a day and they all come home whimpering. We weren't exactly whimpering but the idea of going from the top of the food chain to the bottom certainly dampened our spirits.
The last nail in the coffin came in the form of a film. Maybe you can guess the film I'm going to say. Chances are you or one of your friends owned the soundtrack. Maybe it sits at the bottom of you cd collection and it's the one people always pull out when they come to your house. They say "Omg, I remember that movie! I loved that Coolie song" and you say "I did too", this is followed by a pause during which you silently reprimand yourselves. The movie I'm talking about is Dangerous Minds
and it struck fear into my heart. Is everyone in high school so tough
, I wondered. These kids are carrying real knifes! I only retired my make-believe proton pack last week!
So anyways, that was sort of my pre-high school mindset. Actual high school turned out to much milder than I had expected. I kept my head down that first year and never got into trouble, and by grade 12 I had a car and a girlfriend (and facial hair, however pitiful). I kind of wonder though, given the similar social dynamic between high school and prison, is your high school experience is any indication of how you'd do in jail?Grease review, Part 3 - Hey windbag, talk about Grease!
What movies informed you
folks about the high school experience? If you were born in the mid to late 60's maybe it was Grease. That would've made high school look pretty great.
Things you may have learned from the film:
-Football gets taken seriously. We're talking marching bands and burning effigies! The whole nine yards (har har).
-Any sort of singing triggers a flash mob!
-Some kids get held back a loooooong time. These are the oldest looking high schools student I've ever seen.
-"It takes more than a coat of paint to make it at Thunder Road.
-Watch out for pervs lurking under the bleachers.
-Try not to fall in with the wrong crowd. Err... nevermind, different movie.
-Cocaine's a helluva drug.
-Dance moves can be taken out of context...
-You don't really go together unless you go together like rama lama lama ke dinga de ding de dong
... or something.
Okay so not all of that is useful or realistic information, but it sure makes the movie more entertaining.
What else can I say about Grease. It was a helluva ride. I think if I watched it a again I'd just skip ahead to all the musical numbers, some of them were really good. The rest of the movie is kind of charming in a corny way. I think my favourite sequence may have been the opening credits. Great song.
Anyways, this one's in the bag.