Grease directed by Randal Kleiser:
This film will never go out of style. It is a film about the 1950s that was popular in the late 70s when it came out and has never dropped off the radar since. Its popularity extended to the soundtrack and has led to it becoming a Broadway musical. As far as the acting and story it is nothing great, but something about the music and dancing really captured the public’s attention.
During the summer vacation of 1958 Danny Zuko (John Travolta – Hairspray, Saturday Night Fever) meets Australian Sandy Olsson (Olivia Newton-John – Xanadu, Two of a Kind) at the beach. They fall for each other and a short romance ensues. At the end of summer they say goodbye to each other.
Sandy’s parents have a change of plans and stay in the United States. She is enrolled in Rydell High School. Danny also attends Rydell High and is surprised to see Sandy there when classes begin. He is the leader of the Thunderbirds and tries to protect his reputation as Sandy is not the type of girl he usually dates.
After being rejected by Danny, Sandy goes to a sleepover at Frenchy’s (Didi Conn – Frida, Grease 2) house. Rizzo (Stockard Channing – Six Degrees of Separation, Must Love Dogs) grows tired of Sandy’s goody-two-shoes ways quickly and makes fun of her. Sandy is not sure where she fits in.
Danny can’t seem to stay away from Sandy as his attraction to her is bigger than his desire to be seen as cool. The two struggle with their attraction for each other and their need to be true to themselves. Does their romance stand a chance?
Yes, it is unbelievable a story. Yes, it is corny. But for these two reasons and others we love it all the more. What would be perceived of as weaknesses for most films is what makes this one so enjoyable.
During almost every moment of this movie musical you will find yourself fighting the urges to sing at the top of your lungs and get up to dance along with the cast. It is upbeat fun until the very last second.
Grease 2 directed by Patricia Birch:
This is the film in which Michelle Pfeiffer announced to the world that she could not only act, but also sing.
The year is 1961 and we are back at Rydell High. There are a whole bunch of new seniors to get to know. The Pink Ladies and the T-Birds are still the cool gangs to belong in for girls and guys.
A new kid comes on the scene. Brit Michael Carrington (Maxwell Caulfield – Empire Records, Calendar Girl) is immediately labelled as the smart kid. The question will be whether he can avoid rumbling with the leader of the T-Birds and win the heart of Pink Lady, Stephanie Zinone (Michelle Pfeiffer – mother!, Ant-Man and the Wasp)?
No way did this one have as much impact as the first. For the simple reason that it was no way as entertaining. The link between the story and the songs is tenuous at best. Most everything about it feels forced so it falls into the ridiculous category. Though their romance story is not great, Michelle Pfeiffer and Maxwell Caulfield do their best to make at least that part enjoyable.
Grease Live! directed by Thomas Kail and Alex Rudzinski:
Performing the beloved film and Broadway musical Grease live on television takes guts. And maybe a little bit of nuttiness. Grease is performed live in front of studio audience. It is not simply a remake of the original film. Rather it is an update that plays tribute to the 1978 film. There are some deviations from the original, but the changes all end up hitting the mark.
After a summer romance, Danny (Aaron Tveit – Les Misérables, Premium Rush) and Sandy (Julianne Hough – Dirty Grandpa, Rock of Ages) head back to their respective schools. Little do they know but Sandy is moving from Utah to California’s Rydell High.
Once there Sandy not only has to deal with being the new girl and Rizzo (Vanessa Hudgens – Sucker Punch, Spring Breakers) and the Pink Ladies but also that Danny has changed. He is not the same sweet boy from the summer but a cool guy who is part of the T-Birds. The path to true love does not seem like it is going to be a smooth one.
The cast is a strong one with Tveit, Hough, Hudgens and Carley Rae Jepsen all doing great jobs. The singing and dancing is all strong, but what really blew my mind was the staging of it all. Amazingly each scene melted seamlessly into the next with very little in between time. Amazingly there was only one technical glitch in which the sound went out for a short period during the “Hand Jive” number.