Randal Kleiser’s Grease is the one that you want: a perfectly orchestrated musical that is fun and lively and a splendid two-hours of entertainment. While it may not be as visually stunning as more contemporary musicals such as Les Miserable or Into the Woods, and despite its sappy melodrama and tired storyline, Grease just works.
Would you fall for Travolta?
Set in Southern California, Danny (John Travolta) and Australian born Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) romance for the summer on the beach and when fall comes around it’s back to the dramatically accurate cliques of Rydell High, where wholesome, good-girl Sandy unexpectedly runs into the act of Danny’s bad-boy greaser facade. Singing and dancing through the Pink Ladies and T-Bird cliques, sleepovers, school dances, car chases, and drive ins, their story takes us to graduation where Sandy and Danny make a change in a way no one expects.
From the minute the credits roll with the opening song “Grease is the Word,” to the concluding “You’re the One That I Want” it’s hard not to sing along and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wish I spent my high school days at Rydell. John Travolta and his T-bird gang singing and dancing on the bleachers during the confession of his “Summer Lovin” to Olivia Newton-John’s “Hopeless Devotion” makes the dramatized story that much better. The guardian angel, Frankie Avalon, performance of “Beauty School Drop Out” at the malt shop with the grand staircase, fog machine, and synchronized angel dancing adds the effect needed when Frenchy (Didi Conn) decides to come back to high school. The singing continues when Sandy leaves Danny stranded “Alone at the Drive-In.” From beginning to end, we see that the 1978 effects and classic feel that Grease is a strong musical of its genre.
Yes, there is melodramatic split screen fantasies and the ridiculous flying-off-into-the-sunset climax, but far from ruining the movie these elements are why fans have been quoting Grease for generations and singing the soundtrack through all life’s problems--simply because there is nothing else like it. The storyline is tired but the characters add flavor to the high school scene, Rizzo’s (Stockard Channing) bad girl vibe in her performances of “There are Worst things I Could Do” and “Look at me, I’m Sandra Dee” along with “Born to Hand-Jive” by Sha-Na-Na makes this high school love story one to remember. For someone who has never seen this movie before, it might be easy to dismiss this movie for its melodramatic characters, its thirty-something actors playing high schoolers and high school cinema cliches, but the great music, strong performances, and John Travolta’s Elvis Presley make this movie well worth the trouble of the 1 month subscription to Netflix.
The high school romance is a tale that isn’t unfamiliar to this generation. The Disney series High School Musical recreates the same high school set up; the comedic cliques, two unlikely lovers, and of course the influence of friends but Grease pioneered this teen storyline and it’s a movie classic that can speak to a young audience of the hardships and adventures in high school, of course through singing and dancing--there’s no other way. The love affair of actors Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens in High School Musical is a fantasy high school romance every teen wants, a fantasy teen romance first captured between Danny and Sandy in their “Summer Lovin” down on the beach.
The 1978 Grease classic is an energetic, intriguing high school romance. Every song keeps you guessing to find out if Danny and Sandy will end up together and keeps you entertained until the credits roll. Grease is a prodigy made in its time and its young love story is just as compatible to teens today.