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Blast from the Past: Grease 

When? 1978

What's it rated? PG-13

Where's it available? DVD and Blu-ray, On Demand

What's the word? Grease! That word brings back memories of singing—a lot of singing—along to an ultimately raunchy tale of high school love performed by, as one of my friends put it, "a bunch of 30-year-olds pretending to be teenagers." But I still love it. And I still think John Travolta is a total babe in it.

click to enlarge 'I GOT CHILLS' Grease, starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, will give you chills and make them multiply (at least by the end of the movie). - PHOTO COURTESY OF PARAMOUNT PICTURES
  • Photo Courtesy Of Paramount Pictures
  • 'I GOT CHILLS' Grease, starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, will give you chills and make them multiply (at least by the end of the movie).

Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, it still holds the same charm for me as it did when I was 14. For 20 years, I've watched, sang, and spoken the lines of this movie, fighting with myself over its perceived sexism, which might actually be the ultimate struggle to find yourself as you attempt to be the person you think someone else wants you to be.

Good girl exchange student Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) and bad boy greaser Danny (John Travolta) fall in love over the summer before their senior year in high school. When school starts in the fall, they discover that they're both students at Rydell High. But the social pressure of high school cliques tear them apart over and over again throughout this musical, lending to some pretty awesome songs, dancing, scenes, and a happy ending (not that kind of happy ending; get your mind out of the gutter).

There are the pink jacket wearing Pink Ladies, whom Sandy befriends, and the leather clad T-birds, which Danny leads. There are football rallies, the local soda jerk, sneaking out from sleepovers, make-out hill, a drive-in, a high school dance, and a street-racing scene. Couple all of that with show tunes of the rockin' variety, and really, what more could you ask for in a movie? (Don't answer that.)

My favorite character is Rizzo (Stockard Channing), a sassy bad girl with a taste for doing things I may have wanted to do in high school but could never bring myself to do—you know, because of social pressure to be "good." She struggles with her choices to sleep with an ex, then make him jealous, and how she treats the virginal Sandy ("Look at me, I'm Sandra Dee, lousy with virginity"), while potentially becoming pregnant herself.

It's cheesy, full of one-liners, and rife with sexual innuendo. But, that's kind of what Grease and every high school in America is all about. High school is a struggle. Love is a struggle. But ultimately, that's what life is all about. Plus, singing. Life is about watching a movie with your friends and singing along to it while giggling like a schoolgirl. (110 min.) Δ


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