Grease (review)

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Revival Is the Word

Wow — what a lot of fun it was to see Grease again on a big screen.

Slept through the 70s, did you? Well, quickly: Good-girl Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) falls in love with bad-boy Danny (John Travolta) at the beach one generic 50s summer, and they meet up again at Rydell High for senior year. It’s kind of West Side Story with different music and a happy ending.
I swear, half the people in the audience weren’t even alive Grease was first released in 1978. I was part of the other half. Grease was my first grown-up movie — I was nine, and I went with my mom. I remember being embarrassed by all that sex stuff in the movie. (And it’s so tame nowadays!)

But here was an audience of teen and preteen kids — plus plenty of us oldsters, too — all singing along with Danny stranded at the drive-in (“I sit and wonder why-y-y”) and doing the hand jive. It’s kinda religious, getting caught up in a movie like that with hundreds of other people. But no one was too reverent — Grease is a fairly silly movie, after all, a fact which every seemed to appreciate.

All of which made me realize how much I miss revival houses. Video basically killed them off — why not sit and watch your favorite classics over and over in the comfort of your own home? Well, because you miss the chance to share the experience with other devout fans. I love hearing everyone around me murmur the dialog along with me and tense up when all the good bits are coming. I’m convinced that the Star Wars rereleases were huge hits not because of the additional scenes and spruced-up effects but simply because the faithful wanted to celebrate the movies en masse.

I think I’ll go watch my video copy of, I don’t know, maybe The Princess Bride or Aliens. Alone. On my puny 27-inch screen. Sigh.

Oh, and they cleaned up the Grease soundtrack a bit, but other than that, nothing’s changed from the old Grease. Well, they did add back in the scene when Danny meets Jabba the Hutt, but then we were all expecting that.

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