Let’s tackle the ultimate movie musical classic, Grease, shall we?
As much as I want to hate this musical (and trust me, I want to hate it, a lot), I just can’t. The songs are too catchy, the dancing is wonderful, and the one-liners are constant. HOWEVER, like a lot of people, I do have a major problem with the overall message of the film Grease. But, I’ll get to that a little later.
Grease is the 1950s through the lens of the 1970s. The biggest show of this is the amount of sex talk there is. Listen, the 1950s were known as being a more “proper” time. The
1970s was a time of sexual exploration and openness. This is injected straight into Grease. The character of Danny Zuko may be the biggest horndog in all of film. Honestly, it is constant with that guy. AND, after trying to pressure Sandy into sex for the, what seems like, thousandth time, he has the nerve to sing that song about how much he loves her. Like, dude, you ain’t fooling anybody. You’re a horny teenage boy. We get it. Don’t equate sex with love, dude. All of the minor male characters address sex in one way or another. I mean, they all sing about it in the song “Grease Lightning”, with lines like “You know that ain’t no shit, we’ll be getting lots of tit” and “You know that I ain’t braggin’, she’s a real pussywagon”. Again, they’re all supposed to be teenage boys and have only one thing on their mind. The women are pretty much the same in regards to sex. I mean, they aren’t as obvious about it, but still. You cannot deny that sex is a huge motivator in a film that used to air on ABCFamily all of the time.
The music in Grease is so freaking catchy, and each song furthers the plot or develops a character in some way. My favorite, hands down, is “There Are Worse Things I Could Do”, sung by Rizzo, played by Stockard Channing. Rizzo, up until this point, doesn’t really seem to have that much depth as a character. And then she sings some heartbreaking lyrics, and that all changes.
Also, Rizzo and Kenickie’s relationship is my favorite, because it’s the most honest relationship out of all of them. Even more so when compared to Sandy and Danny’s relationship.
Let’s talk about Sandy and Danny’s relationship. It’s the worst thing in the film. Okay, so they each got to be themselves during the summer and have this wonderful summer
fling. Then they think they are to be separated. Then it turns out that Sandy stayed in town, has moved there, in fact, and finds out her and Danny attend the same school. Except the Danny Zuko that Rydell High knows is not the same Danny Zuko that Sandy knows. The frustrating part of the whole thing is that Sandy stays true to herself the whole film,
up until the very end. Danny puts in some effort, trying to do well in sports for some reason, instead of just being himself, which is what Sandy wants. But, no, Danny has a reputation to uphold and that reputation involves him not showing any kind of emotional vulnerability towards a woman at all. It’s real stupid. Ultimately, Sandy decides to change into a “bad” version of herself.
And, yeah, it makes for a fun ending to the musical, but, like, she completely gave up who she was in order to fit in. This film is more like a “what not to do” for peer pressure.
The car flying away in the end leads me to believe that the whole film was just one bad acid trip in the late 1970s.
Anyway, like I said, as much as I want to hate the film, as much as I want to be annoyed by it, I can’t. I love it. Completely different to my feelings towards Annie, but that’s for another time.