Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Movie Review: "Grease" (1978)

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Director: Randal Kleiser
Year: 1978
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes

Danny (John Travolta) and Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) have just parted ways after ending their summer romance. Sandy is on her way back to Australia. He returns to Rydell high school and his group of delinquent Greaser friends, the T-Birds, and brags of his summer escapade. He is shocked to find out that Sandy didn't go back to Australia and is now attending Rydell, too. Sandy is shocked to find out that Danny isn't the sweet boy she grew to love over the summer, since Danny is more interested in being cool than being sweet. Sandy makes friends with the Pink Ladies, a worldly gang of girls who often hang out with Danny's gang. Danny feels terrible for being a jerk to Sandy and is willing to try to set his coolness aside to try and win her back. All the while, the rest of the musically inclined students go about their day to day lives at Rydell as we follow them through the school year.  
Musicals often live and die on the strength of their music. Overall, Grease's music is extremely solid. It does have a song or two that fall far short of it's strongest offerings, "Summer Lovin'" and "You're the One that I Want," but what musical doesn't? John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John have crazy good chemistry throughout this movie. Actually, most of the main cast jives really well together! Each individual person in this film feels like they need to be there, from Putzy to Jan and even Crater Face himself, if you ignore the fact that most of these actors are waaaay too old to be high school students. This is just the way of the world, we guess. Back to Travolta for a second, he just oozes coolness as Danny Zuko, from his slicked-back hair and handsome looks, to his leather jacket and overly-swaggered walk, he fit the bill perfectly. In fact, this might be one of my top 3 favorite roles from him. He can also sing and dance really well, which helped his role tremendously. Sometimes the people that get cast in singing parts in musicals are questionable, and that's not the case here. The opening sequence of cartoons and stylized fonts are a riot and it is really fun to watch. Even though this movie was made in the 70's and it takes place in the 50's, it seems that because it was made as a flashback in time, it still holds up well when watching it in the present. Though a lot of the references pertaining to the time may be outdated to some, this movie/play/musical still keeps on going through time.

Not everyone has the same thoughts as we do about this film, in fact, some people seem to downright hate it; they think the acting is bad and the plot is basic. Well, technically, they are right: at the end of the day, this movie does boast some really over-the-top acting and a basic romantic story line, but that's part of its charm! Every single time I watch this movie, I know all the lines and sing along to all the songs, annoying BigJ relentlessly with hand jive movements. The one question I have is this: how did my parents think this was appropriate for me to listen to as a child?! I distinctly remember owning the cassette tape of the soundtrack of this movie when I was a wee lass. All the sexual references I totally get now flew right over our heads as kids, but I'm glad that my mom let me listen anyways. It has provided me with a lot of good memories and a lot of fun, niche lines to repeat as an adult. Beyond all of this, it is a sometimes goofy and cheesy look into what life was like in high school for, well, for someone out there who thinks it's all singing and dancing, and is one of my favorite musicals!

My Rating: 9.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 8/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 80%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!


  1. I love this movie, and the soundtrack. Because I am so old, I remember seeing this in the theater when it was all the rage. I had the soundtrack on vinyl. Actually I still do have it, but haven't listened any of my records in years. I have this movie on VHS, and then got it on DVD several years ago. When I hear any of the songs on the radio I have to crank the volume.

    Love it!


    1. When you bought the DVD, did you get the cool cover with a T-Birds jacket as the cover? We should watch this movie when we all get together for a waxy gals weekend! ;)

    2. Nah, mine is just a boringly packaged one. Will we re-enact the lunchtime Summer Lovin' song and dance when we're all together?