Film & Water #155 – Grease 2

THE FILM & WATER PODCAST

Episode 155 – GREASE 2

Rob welcomes award-winnng author Erin Entrada Kelly to discuss one of the worst sequels ever made(?), the infamous GREASE 2 starring Michelle Pfeiffer!

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8 responses to “Film & Water #155 – Grease 2

  1. So the lead in Grease 2 (his name escapes me) should do a podcast with 80s Lone Ranger, Klinton Spilsbury. “Briefly Famous” or something like that?

    I THINK I saw most of Grease 2 once…but even in the 80s, as a kid, I know its reputation was horrible. Maybe undeserved, but still there. Despite Pfeiffer. Maybe I should give it another shot the next time I see it?

    I do love Grease, but yeah, it’s not overly well-made, has a horrible message for women, and is WAY filthier than I realized as a kid!

    Chris

  2. My mom was a huge Grease fan – she was a teenager during the greaser period, and made us watch Sha-na-na every week and everything – but back in those days, you couldn’t just watch any old movie you wanted any time you wanted. So you bet your ass she brought us to see Grease 2, and I probably saw it before Grease 1 too.

    It had that guy from T.J. Hooker hiding a lit cigarette in his mouth, and my mom was quick to tell us it was all the same teachers and stuff. I was shocked to later find out that was Michelle Pfeiffer as the Girl.

  3. Good episode, Rob. You echo my sentiments—Grease 2 is not very good, but it hardly deserves its reputation as one of the worst films ever made. In fact, I think I prefer the music in 2 to the songs in the original, at least at this point in my life, when the Grease 1 soundtrack has been overplayed to the point of madness. (Especially “Summer Nights”—as someone who karaokes four nights a week, I could happily live the rest of my life never again hearing two drunken people attempt to duet on that.)

    I first saw Grease 2 shortly after it came out, so I was probably eight years old, and one of the things that grabbed me about it—and this gets at the point you and Erin mentioned about it reversing the gender dynamic of Grease 1—is how it was a bit of a power fantasy for young dorks like me. As early as I can remember, I was fascinated by girls and aspired to attract them (not to mention my dream of being admired by my most charismatic male peers), but being a shrimpy nerd foiled that ambition. It was very easy to put myself in Michael’s shoes and dream that an overnight makeover could make me a cool rider, idolized by male and female alike. So I found this sequel way more psychological potent than Grease 1. (I can only imagine if Deborah Harry—my No. 1 prepubescent celebrity crush—had indeed starred as Stephanie. Good lord.)

    BTW, the inevitable has happened: Someone adapted Grease 2 for the stage (titled “Cool Rider”), but from what I can tell it was performed for only a week on London’s West End, and never in the U.S. Something tells me it won’t become a high-school drama-club standard anytime soon.

    Finally, while Maxwell Caulfield never did catch the movie-star rocket that Michelle Pfeiffer (more deservedly) did, he was great portraying an asshole in Empire Records, a cult favorite I never saw until just a couple months ago. (For years, I’d read about Rex Manning Day on the Internet, never realizing that Caulfield was that selfsame Manning.)

  4. I am so glad I am not the only person to remember this movie fondly. I was 11 years old when this movie was released in the theaters and it was probably a few years later that I actually saw it. This would have been about the time cable finally came to my area, we had HBO (my dad got the free trial period and the cable company forgot to turn it off for a couple years), and Grease 2 was in heavy rotation for a while.
    I think Noah above hit upon the main reason I liked it. I was (am?) the nerdy goody-two shoes, so Michael’s journey to being cool was a dream of mine (still waiting for that one to come true). Another reason I liked the movie was because I had a crushes on Jean and Liz Sagal, the Doublemint Twins.
    Grease 2 may never be considered a classic, but minus the ‘Turn Back the Hands of Time’ number, it was actually a decent movie (IMO).

  5. Even as a little kid, well, a teenager, I was troubled by the message of Grease. Sadly, I’ve never seen Grease 2 but hearing that the terrific Tab Hunter is in it…hey, if you’re ever doing Damn Yankees, Rob, sign me up!

    So I have nothing to contribute but I do wish to thank you and Erin for a really great listen, and I’d love to hear you kids doing John Carpenter’s The Thing, sometime.

    Weirdly, as the show was dropping I was at the theatre watching Maxwell Caulfield, with the missus, Juliet Mills, in a stage version of Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes. He was very good as the surgeon. Oh, and I met Lorna Luft after seeing her in concert a couple of years ago, she was staying with a couple of concert pianist pals. Lovely lady!

  6. My wife loves the original Grease yet refuses to ever see Grease 2 ! I keep trying to convince her that its not awful and the songs are pretty good but so far no luck. I agree that the original is very overrated as both a movie and a musical.

    No mention of the great Christopher McDonald as one of the T-Birds ? One of the busiest character actors in showbiz, he was able to escape the curse of Grease 2 like a few of the other actors that were mentioned in the podcast. Also you had the late Dennis Stewart as the leader of the Scorpions in both movies yet under two different character names, weird. Besides Didi Conn as Frenchy, Eddie Deezen was back as Eugene the nerd for some reason !

  7. Thanks for this chat. I just want to make a point about Grease, the original, not the movie. It was a product of its time, which was the end of the 60s. It was looking at a time barely ten years past, yet amazingly different. In its way it was poking fun at the music and attitudes of those times, but also being open about things like teen pregnancy, which would never have been acknowledged in the pop media of the time. Similarly, the song “Greased Lightning” uses “dirty words” because it was written for a culture that was post-Lenny Bruce and Philip Roth. It’s not a show for kids. By the end of the 70s, non-conformity, rebellion, and anti-establishment attitudes in pop culture had been sanitized and commodified.

  8. I don’t recall if I saw Grease theatrically, but I used to watch it just about every year when it ran on ABC in the ’80s, and probably a few times on UHF, although we eventually had an EP dub once VCRs came into our lives. The Grease soundtrack was also one of the only LPs I owned, so it got a lot of plays on my suitcase record player. I have a real fondness for movie musicals of the ’70s & ’80s that drops enormously on either side of those two decades. My mom also watched Wizard of Oz and the Elvis musicals pretty regularly, but I tended to drift in and out of those rather than plop down front-to-back.

    I appreciate the desire to excavate Grease 2 and prop it up in the name of feminism, and I recognize a lot of the toxic messaging in not just Grease but musicals in general. That said, Grease 2 is a $#!+ musical, and I say this as someone who recorded an audiocassette of Shock Treatment through A/V jacks off a video rental because it’s that much better than Grease 2. I say this as someone who appreciates the vocal stylings of the the late Charles Durning, the late Burt Reynolds, and the late Dom DeLuise in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (which I definitely saw theatrically and which ended E.T. The Extra Terrestrial‘s run at #1.) I would happily watch a Breakin’ double feature (yes, I was there for the cinematic bow of the one true Electric Boogaloo) before revisiting Grease 2. It would take an Under the Cherry Moon-level threat to give me pause in reconsidering that turd. The best song in Grease 2 (“Do It for Our Country” rates consideration over “Cool Rider,” but eh, whatever) isn’t half as good as the worst song in Grease (“Sandy,” BTW.)

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