Reel Matt

This blog started as my movie marathon — watching a movie a day for a whole year — and has continued as a place for me to write reviews about movies, TV, and various other items.

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This is still a work in progress as I migrate from my old platform at Tumblr. For now, you can still access the whole backlog of posts there at http://reelmatt.tumblr.com

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Grease

Film #121

THE PLOT

Good girl Sandy and greaser Danny fell in love over the summer. But when they unexpectedly discover they’re now in the same high school, will they be able to rekindle their romance?

Year 1, Day 121

BEFORE: I’m calling a Squarespace Change of Plans for today’s film. With Hurricane Sandy making landfall today, my suite thought it would be a good idea to watch Grease because Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) is one of the main characters. Carrie will be postponed until tomorrow, Poltergeist is being dropped, and The Shining is still scheduled for Halloween on Wednesday.

AFTER: When it comes to musicals, I have very vocal opinions about what I like and don’t like. I’ve used this quote from my review of Little Shop of Horrors a few times to help describe the type of musical’s I don’t like:

Every five minutes there’s another song to explain what’s going on and the songs are the major source of plot development. Take the songs out, your left with a couple minutes of dialogue that get the character’s feelings across.

I discussed another type of musical I don’t like in my Pitch Perfect review:

…when people just randomly break out into song in the middle of nowhere for no apparent reason.

I found Grease to be an interesting addition to the mix. From the outside, it looks as if it would be the worst thing ever: the songs are used to further the plot and many of them are random eruptions of dance numbers. But it wasn’t terrible because the songs are catchy. This probably is because I’ve heard many of the songs before on the radio, random YouTube clips, or people singing it here and there. So the film turned from a, “Wow, this is everything I hate,” to a, “Not too shabby,” musical.

But the music and the plot are two very separate things. While the music was good bordering on great, the underlying story was quite the opposite. Everything was very jumpy going from one scene to the next usually with a song in between. With around 26 songs in the film, there really isn’t that much time for anything else. But instead of narrowing the focus and trying to tell one very good story, there’s a whole bunch of superficial things thrown in and barely mentioned again. Danny Zuko (John Travolta) trying out for sports, the Scorpions, Sandy’s “friend” on the football team, Vince Fontaine: the list goes on and on. Most of these things are mentioned again very briefly in the end when everything is tied up in a nice bow, but during the film, they are forgotten.

Grease is just one of those films you have to see. Even if you’re like me and had never seen the film, you most definitely had heard about it and probably even know a song or two from it. While it was nowhere near as good as I was expecting, I can now add a whole other section of pop culture to my brain for reference.

RATING: 3 out of 5