Saturday, August 31, 2013

Lazy Movie Weekend: I know I'm awesome but I also want to be cool

This past week on Buzzfeed (slowly taking over my life since 2012), I stumbled on a post entitled 26 Reasons "Grease 2" Is Better Than "Grease". My brain immediately went into overload because someone else understands! This movie is magical and wonderful and 100% better than it's predecessor. This movie basically has everything:
  • An amazing cast: Michelle Pfeiffer, Lorna Luft, Adrian Zmed, Maureen Teefy, Christopher McDonald, Eve Arden, Sid Caesar, Didi Cohn, Tab Hunter, and Connie Stevens
  • The Four Tops sing the opening song. And everyone knows the choreography.
  • Pencil skirts - lets' do this fashion.
  • There are motorcycles. And multiple epic motorcycle chases and a dream sequence that features an all white motorcycle. It also features a semi-creepy love song but it's still a decent dream sequence.
  • The song about bowling (that's really not about bowling) which features nuns and bowling teams who wear matching clothes. You know, wholesome fun.
  • The luau is so fantastic and colorful. Calling the crappy school pool "the Pool of Enchantment" makes it so much more like Hawaii.
  • Rex Manning is in this movie. Yes, Maxwell Caulfield before he was Rex Manning stars as Michael Carrington, the English exchange student (cousin of Sandy) who falls for Michelle's Stephanie Zinone. 
  • The song "Girl for All Seasons". I have never been in a talent show but I would like to be and I would like to sing this song. I would also like to be either March or December.
  • Awkward biology class lesson on sex that gets edited out when this movie plays on ABC Family.
  • One of the songs is about picking up women at a grocery store. Seems legit.
Grease 2 was not a particularly successful movie (shocking I know) but I've always thought it was better than Grease. It's not that the original isn't entertaining but I've always had a problem with the ending. The message is that you have to change yourself in order for a person to fall in love with you. Specifically, Sandy has to become the bad girl in order for Danny to truly love her. One could argue that Danny also tries to change (joining the track team for example) but he never really stops being himself. In the movie version, the outfit is what kills me the most. There was nothing confident or strong about it. I thought she looked cheap and sad. I never wanted to be Sandy and there was nothing about Danny Zuko that seemed remotely interesting. I was a really critical 12 year old.

However, in Grease 2 there are lots of awesome women who didn't change for anyone and I like that about them. As I consider my leading lady quest, I have decided to look to the ladies of Grease 2 for inspiration:
  •  Stephanie Zinone: Leader of the Pink Ladies and our heroine. Michelle Pfeiffer is flawless (always) in this movie. This was her first big screen role and she makes this movie. I wanted to be her so badly when I was 12. She's confident, sassy, bad-ass, but still comes off as nice. And then there is the moment that she flips her Pink Lady jacket inside out and tells Michael Carrington exactly what it is she wants in life. That whole scene just screams cool. I know in my heart of hearts I will never be that cool but it doesn't mean I can't try. She's nobody's trophy and yearns to break out of the Pink Ladies. The best part: Michael has to figure out how to fit into her world not the other way around. Just watch "Cool Rider" and tell me you're not blown away (and I will know if you are lying). I also dare you not to sing along. It's impossible. What I love about Stephanie is that she's trying to figure out how to be her own woman in a world that would prefer her to be either a Jackie or a Marilyn. She really does want both the boy next door and hell on wheels - she just doesn't realize it. Stephanie is probably the mother of us all (and those bangs).  Leading lady lessons: Don't be afraid to be different and make your own path. Also, a motorcycle riding mystery man is a must.
  •  Paulette Rebchuck: Y'all this is Judy Garland's daughter, Lorna Luft. She was never as famous as her mother or half-sister, but Lorna kills it as Paulette. Paulette could have just been a dumb blonde, throwaway character but she's not. She's comfortable in her own skin and isn't afraid to flaunt it (which makes Johnny so jealous in a funny, sweet way). She and Johnny have a complicated relationship (since he's still not over Stephanie) and he takes Paulette for granted. She doesn't take it for too long and has one of the best lines in the film. Also, she wears gold pants like a boss. Bold move, Paulette, bold move. Leading lady lessons: Bold fashion choices are a must and don't let anyone walk all over you.
  • Dolores Rebchuck: Dolores is Paulette's kid sister, a Pink Lady wannabe who explains the way the world works to Michael. It's from Dolores that we learn that you gotta be a biker or biker's old lady to make it the world (and by world I mean Rydell High and the bowling alley). What's great about Dolores is that she doesn't believe that for a second. She knows she's cooler than them all and in the end she ends up with a T-Bird (little Davey) and you know she would have been the next leader of the Pink Ladies if there had been another sequel. However, in Dolores's world, the Ladies would have had the motorcycles. Leading lady lessons: Wisdom knows no age.
  • Sharon Cooper: Maureen Teefy was in the original film version of Fame, probably one of my favorite movie musicals of all time. I realized upon re-watching Grease 2 that I am probably Sharon. She's bossy, a little OCD, and prone to dramatics over silly things. She and Louis are my favorite couple of the group and their song is a great mix of awkwardness, creativity (on Louis's part), and patriotism. I also envy her ability to wear hats. Leading lady lessons: Being bossy totally works especially if you can wear a beret. Also, never go into a nuclear fallout shelter with your boyfriend.
  • Frenchy and Principal McGee: These ladies are from the original Grease. Frenchy was always my favorite in that movie. She's back at Rydell to get her chemistry courses so she can make her own skincare line. This seems totally legit as a reason to be in the movie. According to IMDB, she wasn't supposed to make it into the final cut of the movie but did. Frenchy wanted to go her own way in the first movie and keeps at it here. She also sort of encourages Michael while also trying to provide a reality check so she's the perfect female friend for a guy. Principal McGee, the wonderful Eve Arden, is the perfect balance of authority figure and in on the shenanigans. She has a soft spot for the T-Birds that I find endearing (the talent show auditions and her comment "These are my boys" is just so funny). But she doesn't take any crap from the T-Birds (who are really one of the lamest motorcycle gangs to ever exist). Fantastic. Leading lady lessons: Education is important. Always be a supportive friend (or principal).
If we take the ladies of Grease 2 as a collective it's really confidence that unites them all in awesomeness. Sure they have their moments of crazy and uncertainty but ultimately just being themselves makes them both awesome and cool. And that's another lesson to learn on the pathway to being a leading lady - confidence is everything.

For all of you who are going back to school this week (or maybe you started already), The Four Tops wish you well.

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