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In Defence Of: Grease 2 (1982)

June 21, 2011

Taking a short break from the 500 Five-Star project to start the new regular feature ‘In Defence Of’…ie, films that are considered dreadful but that I’m not ashamed to admit I love anyway.  First up…?

It was actually my brother, weird creature that he is, who requested I blog about Grease 2.  As I’ve been meaning to start this In Defence Of… feature for a while, now seemed like the perfect opportunity.  I don’t believe in feeling bad about the crap films I love; in fact, I embrace them.  When I was little, I adored Grease 2 possibly even more than the original.  I watched it every day for about six months, and could recite it backwards (probably).  When I got older and realised that, actually, Grease 2 is considered to be all kinds of wrong, I became ashamed of my love for it and stored it away in a cupboard to remain unwatched for years.  Then, one rainy Bank Holiday, I was flicking through channels and heard the oh-so-familiar refrain of ‘Back to School Again’.  For the next two hours I didn’t move from my seat as I found myself whisked back to the days of my childhood, singing every line of ‘Cool Rider’ along with the stupendously gorgeous Michelle Pfeiffer, and boogying in my seat to the, frankly incredible, ‘Reproduction’.  And I realised: I had absolutely no reason to feel guilty for adoring Grease 2.  Yes, it’s cheesy.  Yes, the story is nonsensical.  Yes, the songs are, quite frankly, a little weird (though that just makes them all the more memorable in my eyes).  But who cares?  It’s camp, insane, hilarious brilliance.  From that moment on, I decided I wasn’t going to allow myself to feel embarrassed by what I loved, and I like to believe I’m a better person for it.

Epiphanies aren’t the only thing Grease 2 is good for either.  It’s educational too…and I don’t just mean the sex education less provided by Reproduction.  Before Grease 2, I believed that film musicals were sung live.  I thought that Julie Andrews really was blasting ‘The hills are alive…’ at the top of her voice on a mountain.  However, even as an 8 year old, I could see that something was up with ‘Do It for Our Country’…

Oh, Louis Dimucci.  You atrocious little mimer, you.  I was shocked, shocked to my core when I realised all the musicals I’d ever seen on film were being performed to a backing track.  It was for the best though.  This way I wasn’t nearly so warped when I found out it wasn’t actually Audrey Hepburn singing in My Fair Lady…I had come to understand it was all part of the movie magic.

Then there’s ‘Score Tonight’…

How were they able to do all those dance moves with those heavy bowling balls?  I tried it myself on a family trip to the bowling alley, and it was impossible.  They must be super-strong, right?  Well, no.  Here, Grease 2 introduced me to the world of props and movie trickery.  Believe it or not, they are not real bowling balls.  They’re plastic, lightweight ones.  I know, right?  Insane.

I also like to believe that my education choices as an adult arose from watching Grease 2 so often.  Before Grease 2, I didn’t know a thing about the Cold War.  Now I’m planning to complete an MA in European History focusing on the Soviet Union.  Coincidence?  I think not.

There are so many reasons that Grease 2 is brilliant, I could be here all day listing them all.  Johnny Nogerelli is probably the best tough-guy ever seen on film…just watch ‘Prowlin’ and try to tell me that you’re not terrified by what that guy could do to you.  Sharon’s singing?  Woah.  Outstanding.  The tearjerking drama of ‘Love Will Turn Back the Hands of Time’?  Well, that will haunt you for days.  I could go on, and on…and on.

So if you’re reading this and you remember wanting to be Stephanie  Zinone when you were younger, have a rummage through your cupboard and dig out your old video (we all have one, so don’t try to deny it).  You won’t regret it.

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