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Rewind...

Grease 2

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I was a movie extra in the 1970s and 80s and I worked on about 100 movies in the 1980s. The cast and crew and Patricia Birch, the director, were always focused but still courteous while they worked on the film. John Housman (from Paper Chase) came by to visit at the bowling alley one day. He was an old friend of Patricia's. The young actors sat around with him and talked and asked many questions. Houseman was about 80 at the time but he was right at home with the young crowd.

-Thanks to Tom Willett

I was the bowling alley manager in the "Score Tonight" scene from Grease 2. It was great to work about two weeks with the young cast. None were well known. Lorna Luft was probably the most famous then (near Christmas of 1981 and into the New Year of 1982). All of the cast was friendly and nice to be with. The hours were long and they danced vigorously.



More Trivia from Grease 2
While working at a video store in Allston, MA, known as the Student Village, we used to battle over who chose the movie of the evening.

Inevitably, if it was a rainy evening, after a long day of classes -"Grease 2" was the choice.

Picking up somewhere around 2-3 years or so after the last rash of Rydell High graduates we came to know so well in "Grease", it's very clear that the 60's are here with a vengance. Thrown into the mix of hairspray, slinky skirts, and massive hormones is elegant Micheal Carrington (Maxwell Caulfield). Conveniently, he happens to be Sandy's cousin -an Australian 'fish outta water' who is polite (oh no!) and handsome, but doesn't quite fit in...

This family connection, and Didi Conn being Frenchy again, is about all this film has in common with the original Grease. Sure, we have Principal McGee and her ever loyal assistant Blanche, but this is a brand new world.

You see, the conservative 50's and all their innocence is shattered by the hit and run impact of the 60's. Sex, the "bad-girl" pastime in Grease, is the focus of this movie. You see, in the 50's if you fooled around, you were shunned for being loose, here, in the 60's forget it, if you wore the Red Letter of V-for virgin-you were a goody-goody and had no social life.

Pretty Pink Lady, Stephanie, disagrees. Making out and fooling around was fun, but she wants more, she just isn't sure what "more" is. You see, the people who surround her are all into belonging with rules and codes.

For example, a Pink Lady cannot date anyone who isn't a T-Bird, and vice versa. The Pink Ladies consist of Marilyn Monroe wanna-be Paulette, which contrasts nicely with Sharon-who idolizes Jackie Kennedy, Bookwormish Rhonda, and of course Stephanie. They are about as close knit as any clique is-which pans out to very shallow. They seem to hang out together because belonging to a group is cool!

Viewing the male collective that is The T-Birds, I can see why Stephanie wants more. A group of vapid, idiotic jerks, who seem to only want one thing -'IT' ('IT' apparently being sex) They also seem to bask in the fact they are dumb, often mispronoucing words, skipping class and being incompetent -which to them means you are cool.

Enter Micheal, who is immediatly infactuated with Stephanie. Not because he wants "IT" but because he can tell she is a deeper person than everyone else realizes. He asks Frenchy about her (Frenchy apparently has taken 3 years to go back to school, go figure) and Frenchy picks up on the fact he likes her, but tells him it's a hopeless no go, because he isn't a T-Bird, no can do.

So what DOES it take to be a T-Bird he wonders? He needs a Motorcycle and some 'tude (and also a lower IQ, but he is willing to ignore that for now). Stephanie admits to him (via song, this IS a musical after all) that she wants a "Cool Rider", a badass who doesn't care for rules and can speed her away from the hollow life that surrounds her.

So, falling into the Grease history of conforming for the pleasure of the masses -he starts up an underground homework writing business, writing lucid homework for the T-Bird's, saves up money for a bike and learns how to ride it well, extremely well, considering no one is around to show him how, but then again he is a genius.

During all this, in the background of the film, are plently of songs, most of which have sex as a theme. To give a hint, among the titles are "Score Tonight", "Do IT for our country" and "Reproduction"-yes I am serious. There is also a rather odd concept of a Talent Show that decides who will be King and Queen of the end of the year Luao (which baffles me, how do you chose a King and Queen from a Multi-cast act?)

Somewhere amongst this mish-mash is introduced "The Mystery Guy", ie: Micheal showing up as a mysterious biker who defeats Balmudo's evil biker gang (I can only gather that they are so mean due to bitterness of being 3 years out of high school and still a biker gang with severe acne)

After kicking biker butt, he ends up with Stephanie enamoured with him and she is so into this guy, she doesn't realize that Micheal, whom she befriends while having him help her work on a term paper, is the same guy. She hopes to see him again and he picks her up one day from her gas station job and they go on a wild ride, intriguing her even more.

Not pleased with this guy showing up, Johnny, Stephanie's ex, is pretty ticked off. Johnny is so focused on getting back with Stephanie, he ignores the flaky, but good hearted Paulette who pursues him. Johnny is so full of himself, a bloated ego kinda guy, with no reason to be so. He is supposed to be the Danny Zucco of the gang but fails miserably.

Meanwhile (yes, the plot tangents are all over the place) Louis is trying to convince Sharon to go all the way, and she's not sure she wants to. Rhonda is there for an unknown reason, as she does NOTHING, but she does portray a mean tree (remember the talent show I mentioned?)

Grease 2 was marketed as another Grease of course, but nothing can replace the original. Get past the songs (although a couple are good) and you get a pretty decent story.

Everyone talks about how cool they are, how much "scoring" they do, but it's all shallow and based on thier insecurites. The ending is baffling, but pretty good stunts. And everyone seems to resolve their issues and be happy.

Of course they would be happy, this is the 80's and this is a movie about teenagers that isn't a ABC after school special, how else could it end?

Verdict?

(My husband offered this one) "Grease was about the innocence of the 50's and Grease 2 ignores that, take out the innocence and you lose the chemistry that made Grease work" I agree. Although I find it interesting that sex is described and mentioned, for all this talk, there is no action. Sex was still new, the sexual revolution a few years away and although everyone thought it was cool, it scared them immensely.

I will note that not one person actually HAS sex in this movie, it's never even implied. They are high school kids who want to talk the talk, but can't walk the walk.

I would watch this with any kid over 12 and below the age of 16, so that I could explain what the hell was going on. After 16, they would pretty much get the idea anyway.

Notice any mistakes? Review

Strengths: The age old "don't judge a book by it's cover" lesson, and the restraint shown by kids who decide they may not be ready for sex.

Weaknesses? Sex is mentioned a lot and some of the songs are unbearable. The conformity factor still bugs me, personally I would have taken bookish Michael any day over an idiot with a ego issue and a leather jacket.

Our rating: 7.5 out of 10


Review Written by Chris Peterson:  Contact  |  More Reviews by Chris Peterson
Grease 2