Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Grease 2

Hello blog followers I apologize for the wait in-between posts. A lot has gone down in these past four months, I have gotten a job which frustrates me at times and always wipes me out that I kinda needed the hiatus I brought about. I also experienced another loss in my family which upset me greatly and the only other reason is I guess just an excuse in itself that I just had the winter doldrums and couldn't care enough to focus on my blog. But now I am back with the film I promised to talk about and also I have heads up on a few changes to the blog in upcoming posts...

Original movie poster


Well I am still feeling quite nostalgic for films that I enjoyed when I was younger and a few other nostalgic things as well (more about that later) so we are going to tackle a movie that most people seem to have mixed feelings about. With most sequels they never seem to live up to the magic of their originals (why do I feel like I'm talking about Mannequin 2 again? *shrugs*) and sort of become cinematic red-headed stepchildren. Of course everyone has seen the 1978 blockbuster that was Grease (at least I hope they have) which I had the joy of watching thanks to my mother and they even showed it to us when I was in the 7th Grade. It was around that time that (also thanks to my mother) I found out there was a sequel to it and I have to admit I fell in love with it after watching it (but maybe not for the reason you think...). So for those of you who have never seen this film let's dive right in shall we?

What's The Plot?
It is now 1961 (which is two years after the first film) and we are in the middle of the beginnings of the Cuban Missile Crisis, JFK leading the nation and also motorcycles are the new trend (Grease Lightning is now a thing of the past). We have pretty much the same story except this time it is gender swapped with the guy being the one to try and fit in with the girl's way of life. The T-Birds are still greasers but with biker flair and the Pink Ladies are pretty much their "old ladies" which means no guy is worthy of a Pink Lady on his arm unless he owns a hog (no not that kind.) Enter in Michael Carrington, who is British which means he is of course charming, a regular clean cut but sort of awkward teen who is a real square. Unlike his cousin Sandy (oh did I mention that he was related to a character from the first film?)


Maxwell Caulfield as Michael Carrington

Michael has no summer romance but just happens to fall in love head over heels the moment he lays eyes on Stephanie Zinone, head Pink Lady who just happens to be the ex to head T-Bird Johnny Nogerelli. Even though they are over, Johnny still views Stephanie as his property thanks to the T-Birds only date Pink Ladies code but he's not malicious about it just young and wanting to keep that cool guy reputation (kind of like Danny in the original.) This causes problems since Johnny is also crushing on another Pink Lady, the Marilyn Monroe wannabe Paulette Rebchuck, and things also come to more difficulty when Stephanie lays a kiss on Michael at the bowling alley in part to a dare which only makes the Brit all the more determined to win her heart. Will learning to ride a motorcycle and becoming the Cool Rider of Stephanie's dreams be enough for Michael to win her heart or will Stephanie wanting to break free of being someone's "chick" allow her to see Michael for who he truly is without high school getting in the way?

Michelle Pfeiffer as Stephanie Zinone


As always I don't like spoiling films for people who have not seen them so I won't tell you anymore about the plot because if you ever get a chance to find Grease 2 you should put any prejudice aside especially if you love the first Grease. Even before we delve any deeper into characters, songs even acting you should know that I actually like the plot of Grease 2 better than the original. Before you pelt me with rotten Internet tomatoes think about it for just one second.


Adrian Zmed as Johnny Nogerelli

In the original, Sandy changes from a good girl into a kind of slutty greaser chick (even more so than the other Pink Ladies) and Danny only changed for like three seconds with that Letterman sweater before he went back to being the same old guy he had been throughout the film. I'm not giving away the ending to Grease 2 but I will say there is no flying away on a motorcycle which I always thought was kinda dumb (when did this turn into Chitty Chitty Bang Bang I mean seriously?) Anyway first let's tackle the songs...



Now the soundtrack for Grease as we know was very successful and even had a resurgence in popularity when I was in middle school as stated earlier. I can see why most people may not have purchased the sequel's soundtrack because some of the songs may sound silly but I personally love the songs because they are kind of fun which of course grabbed the attention of a younger me. There are some good songs in the film that are not silly (they may be cheesy) but they show really good talent which must have took a lot of coaching or came very naturally. First off, Michelle Pfeiffer plays Stephanie and gets two songs where she is not part of the cast ensemble to shine vocally and on the song "Cool Rider" she really kicks a lot of ass! Maxwell Caulfield who plays Michael actually starred on Broadway which got him this role and on the song "Charades" (which is my personal favorite) it shows that he has a really beautiful voice!


Beautiful voice beautiful face (Michelle too!)

 Another reason some people may not care for the soundtrack is most of the songs do have to deal with sex from the very thinly veiled to the out right blatant ("Reproduction" being the winner as it takes place in a sexual education class...damn spoiler!). To give you an idea some titles are "Prowlin'", "Score Tonight" (in a bowling alley but still...) and "Do It For Our Country"...do with it what you will. The other songs are alright but the main standout is the opening song "Back To School Again" which is performed by none other than The Four Tops with a few bits from the cast ensemble . Growing up listening to music from the 1950s and 1960s thanks to my parents when you can hear a classic Motown group like The Four Tops sing it is a real pleasure to the ears and this is what starts the movie for you so at least the first couple of minutes will be enjoyable even if the rest is not.



We already mentioned the two actors who are the main characters and we will get to them but first yes some characters from the first Grease film return with the same actors. Since I actually have yet to talk about Grease I won't go into much detail but Eve Arden as Principal McGee, Dody Goodman as Blanche, Eddie Deezen as Eugene, Sid Caesar as Coach Calhoun and Didi Cohn as Frenchy all return in this film. Since Frenchy flunked out of beauty school after dropping out of Rydell High, she's back either to get her diploma to make cosmetics or be the new Chemistry teacher but they really don't focus on her enough that I'm still confused as to why she's there except maybe to be kind of the same influence on Michael as she was to his cousin Sandy in the first film. Eugene is back too and since he was such a smart guy I assume he graduated Rydell and came back to teach or something (again kind of unclear as he isn't the main focus) so the other first film veterans as a principal, secretary and coach I do understand as faculty may stay on at a school for years.

Didi Cohn as Frenchy with Maxwell Caulfield


As previously mentioned, Michelle Pfeiffer is our lead female character and this was also her first starring film role after many small television appearances. Out of all the female characters, Stephanie is one of the most adult characters compared to her other fellow Pink Ladies and even the other females the film may focus on as she isn't a giggly, vapid, over sexualized or even snobby but she can be snarky and though not dumb just a young woman who isn't applying as much to her academics as she could be. Despite Grease 2 being sort of a bomb, it didn't seem to hurt Pfeffier's acting career as much as it did the other actors and actresses who appeared in the film and it just goes to show you that talent does pay off which is why Michelle is one of my favorite film actresses ever.



Now one of the reasons I love Grease 2 as previously stated is because it was the film that introduced me to one of many crushes I developed and this one was on Maxwell Caulfield! Not saying he isn't a good-looking man now but back in 1982 he was so damn cute in the face and hot in the body and of course he sings to! Now I have always been drawn to accents and that British accent sealed the deal in me crushing hugely on Maxwell (then 23 which makes him 24 years my senior) and I still do though not as much as I did when I was eleven/twelve years old. (In an interesting twist Maxwell has been married since 1980 to Hayley Mills' sister and his wife Juliet Mills is 18 years his senior so as I always have believed age is not a factor when it comes to attraction or love.) In a cruel kind of way, Grease 2 destroyed Maxwell Caulfield's career because he never had another starring film role again but was reduced to small parts and taking him back to Broadway where he has been more successful.

Did I mention I have a crush on Maxwell Caulfield?


The supporting cast of Grease 2 is kind of a mix for me because I can't tell if it is the way the characters are written or the way the actors portray them. Adrian Zmed plays Johnny and I do find him entertaining being comedic and a little brighter than his fellow T-Birds and he does have a good singing voice. The other actors who play Johnny's fellow T-Birds have one stand out who has a still thriving career and that is Christopher McDonald who plays the not very bright lug Goose: here in his first role McDonald is comedic and provides a laugh or two. I couldn't really find out a lot of information on actors Leif Green who plays youngest T-Bird Davey or Peter Frechette who plays ready to go all the way Louis except that Green is more into film production these days and that Frechette still acts in films.

From left to right: Adrian Zmed, Peter Frechette, Christopher McDonald, Leif Green


When it comes to our new batch of Pink Ladies, character wise I can not stand any of them and miss the originals (which I think is why they had Frenchy come back seeing as she was the nicest of the group to round out the horrible personalities of these new Pink Ladies.) As I said before maybe it is just the way they were written or maybe it really is the acting, I don't like to place blame even if this is just my own personal opinion. First, I couldn't find anything about Alison Price who plays glasses wearing Rhonda but character wise she isn't the worst of the Pink Ladies but her character is kind of clumsy and doesn't receive as much attention as the others.


From left to right: Maureen Teefy, Lorna Luft, Alison Price, Michelle Pfeiffer

Next not really an official Pink Lady but kind of like a mascot is the character of Dolores Rebchuck, little sister to the aforementioned Paulette and played by Pamela Segall Aldon. You may know Pamela more as a voice over actress doing the character of Bobby Hill on King Of The Hill but back in 1982 she was just the 16 year old  annoyance to her older, popular sister who actually befriends Michael and garners our sympathies as anyone who knows what it's like to be looked down upon by the older, cooler kids or your own siblings. Where do I begin with the final two Pink Ladies of Grease 2 and their respective actors? Answer: let's start with the one that annoys me the least...



Actress Lorna Luft who plays Paulette Rebchuck is a very talented woman and it is because she is the daughter of Judy Garland it is in her genes. She is a singer and a star on stage but here in Grease 2 as Paulette I can blame the writing of the character. As I stated before Paulette is kind of a Marilyn Monroe wannabe who talks in that breathy voice and wears tight sweaters and skirts but when she gets angry that all goes out the window and you have almost a tough New York chick peaking out from behind that pink satin jacket. The annoying thing about Paulette is that they make her seem so slutty and I don't think it plays up to how talented Lorna Luft really is as well as the fact that she was 30 playing a high school senior (I know they do it all the time but this instance is like an insult!)


Lorna Loft as Paulette Rebchuck

The final actress and final new Pink Lady of the main cast is Maureen Teefy who plays Sharon and I can not lie when I say the character of Sharon is my least favorite but the thing is I like Maureen Teefy! Maureen was in Fame and Supergirl which are two of my favorite movies and she doesn't annoy me as much as she does in Grease 2 and it is probably just all the fault in how Sharon is written combined with how hard Teefy is trying to become that character. Why do I not like Sharon? She has a screaming kind of laugh, is extremely bossy, talks a mile a minute and is kind of a know-it-all and it just rubs me the wrong way.



Other actors of note that appear in Grease 2 are actor Tab Hunter and actress Connie Stevens who had big movie and TV success in the 1950s and 1960s, twin actresses Jean and Liz Sagal who are related to TV actress Katey Sagal from Married With Children fame appear as two, very peppy and preppy cheerleaders (yet are not as annoying as Sharon) and Matt Lattanzi who plays Brad, a perfect example of 1960s clean cut teenage boys. I mention Matt Lattanzi because he has a Grease connection in the fact that he was dating Olivia Newton-John at this time after meeting her as a dancer on Xanadu (BTW if you haven't seen my post on that film, go check it out...I'll wait) and married her a couple of years later but they are divorced now which is kind of bittersweet :(

Wow that was one of the longest blogs I have ever had to tackle! So in retrospect. there are things about Grease 2 that you may find annoying and cheesy but it has an entertaining quality that I'm sure won't disappoint (whether it be genuine or derisive laughter) if you decide to give it a shot.

NEXT BLOG: Okay followers here is what's going on with Theresthegirl...I am taking a break from talking about films. I have a lot of movies to talk about but working on the movies takes a lot of time so I am going to be moving on to a different medium I enjoy as well: music and literature. Yes I will be doing book review blogs and discussing music with maybe an occasional new thing: Top Tens. These can cover a variety of subjects including film and may even bring about discussing television shows which I said I was going to do when I first started this blog. I am trying to shake up my dynamic so that I don't ignore this blog as much anymore so what I do next time is going to be my little surprise to you as well as myself so see you then!

2 comments:

  1. Michelle Pfeiffer is good looking personality.I like grease movie especially pink jacket looking very awesome...

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  2. Greese 2 was stupid. Boy obsessed with girl, girl want this guy like the one she broke up with, but with more edge; yet has a good man standing right in front of her, but he's not good enough. He's so obsessed that he has to be someone else and unhappy with his own self. The songs and dances looked choreograph. Now, on the original grease, they had fun. The song and dance didn't look choreograph they look like they really enjoyed themselves which brought out that excitement. The songs where even memeroble especially at the carnival scene. Overall the first Greese is still better.

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