A greaser and an exchange student fall in love over
the summer, then find out they go to the same school.
Directed by Randal Kleiser
Written by Bronte Woodard
Starring John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Stockard Channing, Jeff Conaway, Barry Pearl, Michael Tucci, Kelly Ward, Didi Conn, Eve Arden, Sid Caesar, Dinah Manoff
Based on the stage musical by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey
Oscar Nominations - Best Original Song (Hopelessly Devoted to You)
Look. I'm fully prepared for this review to be a bit of a hot take. Musicals are tough for me. Most of the time, I find them obnoxious. But some of my favorite movies are musicals: Little Shop of Horrors, Mary Poppins, Sweeney Todd, etc. But I didn't care for Grease. I found the characters annoying, the plot nonsensical, and only a few of the songs catchy. I guess I can understand why so many people hold this film as sacred. It's hard to see through rose-colored glasses, especially if you grew up with the film. But I didn't. I just watched it for the first, and hopefully last, time.
It starts out simple enough. We get a banger of a tune from Frankie Valli for the opening credits, then we meet Danny (Travolta) and Sandy (Newton-John), two lovebirds who fall in love over the summer, then realize they go to the same high school. Why is that a big deal? Well, because Danny is king of the greasers and Sandy is a good girl from Australia, and never the twain shall meet. The rest of the movie is the two of them trying to fall in love while their respective friend groups keep giving them shit for it. And the subplots. Good lord, the subplots never end. Frenchy and beauty school, Rizzo and her string of boyfriends, the fucking sock hop. A little bit of focus, and the movie might've grabbed me.
Ultimately, Sandy erases her entire identity so she can be a greaser girl that Danny wants. Then, they fly off into the sunset. It's not a great message for little girls. If a boy doesn't like you for who you are, change every detail about yourself until he does. That's ridiculous, but Grease is considered an American classic. One of the films everybody should watch. Whatever. It's not for me, and I pretty much expected that.