What does this say about the movie industry? It seems like it would be
crazy to spend millions on a new film, risking a flop, when you've got shelves
full of sure-fire classics. Will this lucrative practice of re-releasing
old films become a regular occurrence? Will the expensive new products be
able to compete with the relatively cost-free oldies? And consider this:
should the re-releases be nominated for Oscars? Imagine if Titanic
had been beaten out Monday night by, say, Casablanca or Gone With The Wind. Who knows, maybe the
best movie of 2001 will be 2001.
Grease is great, of course; do I really need to do a plot summary?
The class of 1958 meets back at Rydell High in the fall of its senior year.
Danny (John Travolta) and Sandy (Olivia Newton-John), who had a romantic
fling over the summer, are now classmates. But Danny can't be lovey-dovey
in front of his tough friends, the T-Birds (Jeff Conaway, Barry Pearl, Michael
Tucci, and Kelly Ward), so he gives Sandy the cold shoulder, even though
he really still cares. Meanwhile, Rizzo (Stockard Channing) and the rest
of the Pink Ladies (Didi Conn, Jamie Donnelly, and Dinah Manoff) make fun
of Sandy for being a goody-two-shoes while Danny and his friends work on
their muscle car.
Danny and Sandy get together, break up, get back together, break up again,
and get back together, all in less than two hours. Everybody sings and dances
their way through such teenage problems as flunking out of beauty school,
being challenged to drag race, and possibly being "PG" after a
few intense moments in the back of a '57 Chevy. Aaaah, the good old days.
The songs, most of which are taken from the 1972 Broadway musical, are
eminently fun and energetic. So are the performances, and though this movie
doesn't pretend to be a classical work of cinema, it still makes for a heck
of a lot of fun. I remember seeing it several times with my 8th-grade friends
and memorizing the entire soundtrack. Travolta and Newton-John were riding
high in popularity 20 years ago, he from his recent success in Saturday
Night Fever (1977), and she from her never-ending string of pop music
hits (and I'm not talking about "Let's Get Physical").
Of course, everything turns out okay, and our friends literally sail off into the sky together in their convertible on graduation day. Grease wraps up with a sentimental message extracted from Sandy's saga: if you want to make friends, take up smoking and dress like a hooker. Now, that's family values. ****
See Current Reviews
See FilmQuips Archive