Grease is a hugely popular silver screen musical that does what all the great musicals do best: it takes extremely macho subject matter and tosses in an undercurrent of homosexuality.
The film opens on a California beach in 1957 as summertime lovers Danny Zuko (John Travolta) and Sandy Olsson (Olivia Newton-John) frolic, romp, and cavort like a couple celebrating the fast acting power of their herpes medication.
But, not all is well. It appears that their love is tinged by the fact that Sandy talks funny. She talks funny because she is from Austria...or maybe it's Australia. Whichever one has Kangaroos, she's from that one. The point is, she has to go back to the Kangaroo Kingdom, but doesn't want to because she loves this Zuko guy. She loves him hard.
Alas, they must split. Danny goes back to school, and Sandy goes back to the land of the 'roos...OR DOES SHE?!!?
Then, all of a sudden, Frankie Valli's disembodied voice rocks you as human feces gets squeezed out of a toothpaste tube to form the title of the film:
Rydell High School is the old timey equivalent of the generically named East High school from High School Musical. They are both probably owned by the same shadowy military organization that seeks to create a master race of devilishly good looking kids that randomly break in to elaborately choreographed song and dance numbers at pivotal moments in their lives; moments they are chemically engineered to believe will be the most important of their entire lives. (To learn all about the only moment in cinema history where breaking out in to song and dance is actually logical, please visit topic page editor Raknade's Buffy the Vampire Slayer article. Specifically, the section on season 6).
It is here where we discover that Danny is the leader of a gang called the "T-birds." We know they are called the T-birds because their leather jackets say so. Under this logic, bowling teams are also gangs. The T-birds are made up of Danny, Kenickie (Jeff Conaway), and three retards.
Let's face it, they're all retards
If you cloned the T-birds and gave them vaginas you'd have the Pink Ladies. The Pink Ladies are headed by Rizzo (Stockard Channing) who may or may not have been getting the pleasure from Danny at one point. Seeing as the T-birds and Pink Ladies only date each other, we can deduce that they are two gangs that have been warring and sexing for at least 5,000 years. This would lead to quite a bit of inbreeding, which would explain why all of the characters are unintelligent degenerates. These are the characters we are rooting for in this story.
As Danny has now proved to the audience that he isn't the caring and loving preppy guy he was on the beach, the audience is then tossed a shocker of a revelation: Sandy is now a student at Rydell High...and she made friends with the Pink Ladies on the first day of school. The chances of that happening are fucking incredible.
At lunch, Sandy is asked what she did during the summer/At lunch, Danny is asked what he did during the summer.
Sandy says she met a boy/Danny says he met a girl
Sandy over romanticizes her time with Danny by way of song/Danny over sexualizes his time with Sandy by way of song
The Pink Ladies ask Sandy to tell them more/The T-birds ask Danny to tell them more
Sandy has no clue that Danny is on the other side of campus singing every other verse/ Danny has no clue that Sandy is on the other side of campus singing every other verse.
It is after this point where there is a tear in the space time continuum, and every time we see the characters in a new setting time has jumped about 5 weeks. This is the only logical explanation for why the movie begins on the first day of school and ends on the last without a single montage in-between.
At a bon fire pep rally, we are privy to 4 plot points:
1. Kenickie bought a shitty car
2. There is a rival gang called the Scorpions who may or may not actually go to Rydell High.
3. Sandy flirts with the star football player
4. The Pink Ladies re-introduce Sandy and Danny. Danny, under peer pressure from his T-birds, plays it off like he is the cold, callous womanizer that everyone wants him to be.
After this, various unimportant things happen for about 30 minutes:
1. Masturbation jokes, gangbang jokes, blow job jokes, and sloppy seconds jokes...and all within about 3 minutes.
2. Kenickie stays true in his friendship to Danny by being totally alright with banging Rizzo, the girl Danny may or may not have given the pleasure. He does this without a rubber because he respects Danny.
3. The T-Birds sing "Greased Lightening," a song about a car that can potentially get them "lots of tit" and can be "a real pussy wagon." Also, Danny wants the car to be "Hydromatic." Seeing as this doesn't actually mean anything, we'll assume Danny wants the car to be a submarine.
4. Sandy dates the star football player, but he's boring.
5. To try to win back Sandy, Danny attempts various sports. He fails at them all and hilarity ensues.
6. Danny wins back Sandy after her 11 minute relationship with the football player losses the excitement it had back in minute 3.
Rydell High is home to a broadcast of National Bandstand because they could not get the rights to American Bandstand. Here, we are introduced to Vince Fontaine, the host of National Bandstand and the man that may or may not be a pedophile. Much merriment is had by all, except for Sandy who is mysteriously taken out of the dance contest and replaced by another one of Danny's ex's. Danny continues dancing with the ex as if Sandy never existed.
Danny tries to make things better with Sandy by attempting a rape at a drive-in movie theater. Contrary to popular belief, this does not work. At the same time, it is revealed that Rizzo may be pregnant. Rizzo then sings a song about how hard it is to be a whore. This is viewed by many film scholars as the prequel and/or companion-piece to "It's hard out there for a pimp."
Kenickie's car is now the pussy wagon the T-birds wanted it to be, so they decide to destroy it in a race with the leader of the Scorpions, a man with a face like concrete after a carpet bombing.
One of the Pink Ladies wants to give Kenickie a lucky penny. It falls. Kenickie goes to pick it up. He gets hurt along the way. Danny must now drive the car. Danny jumps a puddle to victory.
It's the last day of school. There is a carnival, for some reason.
Danny thinks Sandy wants a preppy/jock boyfriend, so he turns preppy/jock. Sandy thinks Danny wants a whore/trailer trash girlfriend, so she turns whore/trailer trash. They sing about it. It is electrifying.
"The...The power...IT IS ELECTRIFYING!!"
Danny and Sandy get in to a newly souped-up version of Kenickie's car. They fly away...IN THE CAR!
The movie ends, and everyone is happy...except Kenickie because 4 hours later he realizes that Danny made his car fly, then stole his flying car.
These high school movies are all about people in the prime of their lives. But, what do you think happened to them once they left all of that "prime" business behind?
- The song "Greased Lightning" was originally intended to be performed by Kenickie, the character portrayed by Jeff Conway, but John Travolta used his clout as the big-shot, pretty-boy movie star to convince the director to give him the song. Conway protested, but eventually gave up the song. He is now a regular on VH1's Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.
Coincidentally, the reason Conaway was even on Celebrity Rehab was because during the filming of the "Greased Lightning" sequence he was dropped by a fellow dancer, which led to the painkillers, which finally led to millions of VH1 viewers instantly feeling so much better about their shitty lives for one hour a week.
- Henry Winkler, best known for his iconic character of The Fonz on Tv's Happy Days, was originally considered to play the character of Danny Zuko. He turned down the role out of fear of being typecast. He can now be seen in the occasional Adam Sandler movie. (To be fair, he was also in Arrested Development. The universe has a way of evening things out).
- In the song "Look at me, I'm Sandra Dee," the character of Rizzo sings a line that makes reference to Elvis Presley.
"Elvis, Elvis, let me be!
Keep that pelvis far from me!"
In the original stage play, this line is attributed to stage and screen actor Sal Mineo (who played the annoying kid, John "Plato" Crawford, in Rebel Without a Cause). A year prior to production of the film, Mineo was stabbed to death in an alleyway. Out of respect for Mr. Mineo, Elvis Presley was then given the reference...and then died on the very same day the "Look at me, I'm Sandra Dee" sequence was shot; thus, proving, once and for all, Hindenburg's "Step on a crack and break your mommas back" principle.
There are also unconfirmed reports that other names in consideration for the reference were John F. Kennedy, Michael Jackson, most of Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Pantera guitarist Dime-Bag Darryl.
By all accounts, this movie actually does exist. It has been spotted in the wild only a handful of times, usually under VHS copies of Time Cop and packs of defective socks in Wal-Mart bargain bins.
The movie stars Michelle Pfeiffer along with some other people, I guess. I mean, it would have to right? Aw, who fucking cares? This movie is terrible. It's something about Sandy's cousin goes to Rydell, and nobody owns a car anymore because it's, like the 60's now and everybody had a motorcycle in the 60s or something, and Adrian Zmed's in it or some such shit. Good Lord, who knows? Whatever, bottom line: it's a must own.
Grease: The Video Game
Paramount Pictures is teaming up with 505 Studios (creators of great games like Hotel For Dogs and Championship Foosball) to bring Grease to the Nintendo Wii and DS. 30 years too late, you say? Most kids won't get it, you say? "Pfft, whatever man. I don't even care anymore," says Mr. Paramount executive.
But, as long it as ends up looking like this...
...everything will be alright.
Grease: You're the one that I want!
There was also a reality TV show aired on NBC in 2007 designed to search for the lead roles of Danny and Sandy for the Broadway revival of Grease.
Nobody watched it.