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Grease (1978)
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Review Date: April 20, 1998
Director: Randal Kleiser
Writer: Allan Carr and Bronte Woodward (adapted from play)
Producers: Allan Carr and Robert Stigwood
Actors:
John Travolta as Danny Zuko
Olivia-Newton John as Sandy Olsen
Stockard Channing as Rizzo
Jeff Conaway as Kenickie
Plot:
High-school musical set in the 1950's showcasing the relationship between the cool Danny Zuko of the T-Birds (Travolta) and the innocent and pure Sandy Olsen (Newton-John) from Australia. The film follows the couple and their vivacious friends during their last year at Rydell High through song, dance and humour.
Critique:
Fun-loving, energetic and innocent look back at times much simpler. This movie effectively juggles a thin romantic story line and the overall experience of the 1950's, with a superb soundtrack and some great dance numbers. Admittedly, I am somewhat biased in this opinion, since this film blasts me into my past as a rebellious youth (GREASE was one of Schmoe's first big-screen experiences, and every other scene sends me reeling into the times of my elaborate GREASE bubble-gum card collection), and the lesser responsibilities that I possessed at that time. But apart from the nostalgic vibe, I was still extremely impressed by this film, as it continued to amuse me, despite my previous dozen or so viewings.

This film took John Travolta from a dim-witted "Sweathog" on TV's Welcome Back Kotter, and transformed him into a movie-star of spectacular proportions (SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER (7/10) in 1977 had jumpstarted that ascension). Unfortunately for the rest of the cast, his popularity was not terribly contagious, despite their effective showings in this classic movie.

On the down side, some of the absolute innocence in this film might bore or turn people off (like when Sandy sings about "drinking lemonade" and "staying out until 10" with Danny in "Summer Nights"), and the plot isn't exactly the most elaborate story-line ever created, but despite these small reservations, this movie carries enough great music and high energy to keep anyone amused through its rapid 110 minute running time (And believe me...I am not a fan of the musicals!!). Make sure to look for a young Lorenzo Lamas in the static role of the brainless football player, as well as the National Bandstand dance contest as one of the film's absolute highlights. And don't forget to buy the popular soundtrack afterwards, so that you could listen to its peppy tunes whenever you're feeling a little blue.
(c) 2017 Berge Garabedian
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