Wednesday, April 08, 2015

G is for Grease 2

This month I'm participating in the A to Z Challenge. My theme is the 80s. Today's letter is:



I wasn't old enough to be paying attention, but I can only imagine that when Grease 2 came out in 1982, there were high expectations for the film. It was, after all, the follow up to a film that is still the highest-grossing movie musical of all time.


Looking back, it seems that Grease 2 was probably a great idea when the powers-that-be were kicking story ideas around. Sandy's Australian preppy male cousin relocates to Rydell High and meets a beautiful "cool" girl named Stephanie. (I LOVED that she had my name when I was a kid!) Throw in some music and the same basic conflict that kept the couple apart in the first movie (genders reversed) and you have a hit, right?

Uh...not exactly.

The producers chose an attractive couple but it seemed nobody (and I do mean nobody) in this movie knew how to act. Maybe that was true of the first one, as well, but somehow it worked in Grease. It didn't quite work in Grease 2.


And the music...songs like Score Tonight and Reproduction were cheap imitations of the double entendres used in Greased Lightning and Look at Me I'm Sandra Dee. It was just bad, bad, bad.

And I loved it.

I'll tell you why. I was 13 or 14 years old when I saw it (on cable TV) and I thought Michelle Pfeiffer was beautiful. The songs were fun to sing along with...and I didn't really know what "bad acting" was. Or bad singing, apparently.


Fortunately for us, Michelle seemed to improve in her singing and has sung in other movies throughout her career. Most notably in The Fabulous Baker Boys.


Interesting factoid: Grease 2 almost destroyed Michelle Pfeiffer's career before it ever started. Brian DePalma and Al Pacino didn't want to let her audition for Scarface because she was best known for starring in Grease 2 at the time. Producer Martin Bregman insisted they give her a chance to try out and the role became her breakthrough.


Still...the movie has somehow become more enjoyable over time...in a campy sort of way. There's even a musical based on it:


Don't take my word for it, though. Check out the campiness for yourself. (Apparently a guy riding around the parking lot of a bowling alley on a motorcycle is a really big deal.)

64 comments:

  1. I never saw the second one, despite the fact it had a hot Michelle Pfeiffer in it.

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    1. As much as you love movies--you should watch it just for laughs (and for being able to stare at Michelle Pfeiffer for the entirety).

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  2. I have no recollection of a Grease 2! It doesn't look like I missed much!

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  3. I've never seen either of them, Travolta starring in a movie is usually a sign for me not to watch :) My fave musical is MOULIN ROUGE!

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    1. I'm not a big fan of John Travolta anymore, either. I think Scientology does something to people's brains. (Although he wasn't in Grease 2, if that helps!)

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  4. In my humble opinion, all the #2 movies start out on a bad foot! "Hits" are a combination of factors and it's dangerous to think, "Hey, we can just do that again." There ARE exceptions. This isn't one - but I do like the campy factor, too.

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    1. Absolutely agree. You can pretty much tell a sequel is just a studio saying, "Can we squeeze more money out of people?" When it works, it's just because the people directing/writing/starring in the movie make the best of it.

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  5. I saw Grease 2 for the first time when I was 13 and sick with pneumonia. I HATED IT. Grease is and has always been one of my absolute favorite movies and Grease 2 made me angry that someone defiled Grease in such a way. I will never watch it again.

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    1. LOL, don't blame you. I was too young to hold it against them. Now when I see it, I just laugh.

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  6. While I absolutely LOVE "Grease," I can barely remember anything abut the second one. Not even sure I saw it, other than a few clips here and there.

    (Stephanie, all these 80s posts have me feeling nostalgic and wanting to re-watch so many movies, listen to those old songs, etc. Really enjoying the trip down memory lane!)

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    1. Thank you, Madeline! Grease 2 is on TV a lot--although I'm sure someone has probably put the whole movie on YouTube by now. I feel like nobody would really care to stop them if they did!

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  7. I never knew there was a Grease 2.

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    1. I have to say, I'm surprised that people didn't know it existed before today.

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  8. I loved the first one too much to see the second one... I don't like being disappointed by sequels... especially if the same characters are not in it :-)

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    1. Yeah--they've talked about a Grease 3 and Olivia and John would come back in some capacity. I think they should just stop...but what do you want to bet someone will do a Grease remake with a bunch of young stars at some point?

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  9. I loved Grease 1 but I can't remember Grease 2. Maybe it fizzled out before it reached us here.

    I'm looking forward to "K"

    Have a GREAT Day
    Hugs,
    JB

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    1. The box office numbers were so dismal, I think they just threw it on cable and VHS and forgot about it.

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  10. I keep wanting to re-watch this on Netflix but there's a part of my brain that vaguely remembers how bad it was. I think I will inflict it on the kids tonight for movie night. :)

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    1. I didn't realize it was on Netflix. I may have to re-watch it myself.

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  11. Brand new follower here, dropping by from A to Z.

    Nice to meet you, Stephanie! Love Michelle, but haven't seen Grease 2 I don't think.

    2015 A to Z Challenge Co-Host
    Matthew MacNish from The QQQE

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    1. Nice to meet you! Yes, it isn't her finest moment.

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  12. I forgot all about Grease 2! Honestly it's kind of amazing Michelle Pfeiffer has had such a great career after this start. The guy obviously didn't have the same luck.

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    1. I had to look him up because I was way off when I was trying to guess the facts about him, but Maxwell Caulfield married Hayley Mills' sister, Juliet Mills. I believe she was much older. It looks like he's one of those actors who have made a full career out of acting without ever becoming a big star--there are a lot of them. I can't tell you how many times I'm watching a movie/TV show from the 80s, 90s, and 00s and I look someone up, thinking they're "washed up." Really they've worked steadily the entire time, doing independent movies or roles on shows like CSI. Multiple roles each year. They're earning a salary doing what they love. The older I get, the more I realize that's probably far better than fame and extreme wealth, which brings a whole list of problems with it...

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  13. I saw the first one, but not the second. After watching Who's That Guy, I'm glad I didn't watch the second one. Corney.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. Yeah, very corny. Would you believe I actually had the soundtrack? And listened to it over and over...?

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  14. I've watched Grease a number of times and loved the music but don't think I've ever seen Grease II. I suppose it's kind of like the sequel to Gone With The Wind...no way it was going to work as well as the first one.

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    1. I think some things are just better left as classics! Now they're remaking everything, though, and it's never the same.

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  15. I love Grease 2 - it's so bad, it's such fun. :D Some of the singing is truly atrocious, but I have to watch it every time I catch it on TV. "Reproduction, reproduction! Put your pollen tube to work." - how are those not classic lyrics? ;)
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

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    1. I know! Those lyrics are crazy when you think about it!

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  16. I'm not sure which movie was worse, Grease 2 or Xanadu.

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  17. OMG - I LOVE Grease 2 - it is truly awful, and cringe-worthy in parts, but hysterical as well, and even if Maxwell Caufield can't sing for toffee, I was still grinning all over my face when he launched himself into the luau :)
    Sophie
    Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles
    FB3X
    Wittegen Press

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    1. I remember thinking he was just HOT. I didn't really care if he could sing or not. Ah...the shallowness of a 13-year-old...

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  18. I've never seen Grease 2 but my friend at college sings Reproduction all the time. Maybe I should watch it just for the this-is-horrible factor.

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    1. No need to torture yourself with the whole movie. But watch Reproduction just so you'll know what she's singing. That should be all you'll need to know it's not a movie you should watch!

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6honxJ2uzwo

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  19. Grease 2 is so bad it's funny. Like they couldn't really decide what they wanted to do and just threw everything together

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    1. I think they thought throwing some classic movie stars in there would get the people who grew up in the 50s. Then they just had to throw a similar plot and some songs vaguely reminiscent of the original and voila--instant hit. They forgot they needed some good writing, believable lines, maybe some people who could act rather than just stand around looking good...

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  20. It's like Bizarro Grease: everything is opposite but it all works out in the end.

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    1. Haha, so true! And Maxwell Caulfield is British but he was supposed to be Australian in the movie? I can't recall...I know Sandy mentioned being from Australia and he's supposed to be her cousin.

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  21. Ah, the cheese that is the Grease franchise! I don't remember much about Grease 2, and I'd totally forgotten that Michelle Pfeiffer was in it. What was she thinking?

    Good thing they gave her another chance!

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    1. I think prior to this she just did a bunch of smaller roles? I just read she auditioned for Charlie's Angels to replace Kate Jackson and lost... Probably being named as the lead in the follow-up to one of the biggest films of the 70s sounded like the chance of a lifetime when she first heard it. She wouldn't have known Scarface was coming up...

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  22. Oh heck yes! Grease 2 and Scarface. I feel a weekend long matinee coming on. :)

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    1. I've only seen parts of Scarface but it doesn't appear life was too good for her character! We tend to have the TV on and muted quite often while I'm working and I end up seeing snippets of movies. She's always either doing drugs or yelling at Al Pacino when I see her on the screen in that!

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  23. I saw Grease in the theater and enjoyed it. I remember when Grease 2 came out and New York Magazine predicted the star, Maxwell "Don't Call Him 'Max'" Caulfield was going to be the next big thing. Not exactly.Glad Michelle Pfeiffer bounced back.

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    1. Didn't he join the cast of Falcon Crest or something? Yeah, not the next big thing at all! However, it does look like he's worked steadily as an actor throughout his life. There are worse ways to make a living... Maybe it's better not being a megastar.

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  24. Wow, I don't know where I was, but I never heard of Grease 2!

    However, I do know of Grease. My girls played that movie All. The. Time.

    I so look back fondly at the 80s. My favorite decade of all.

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    1. When I was a kid, I wanted SO badly to be able to watch Grease over and over. The technology didn't exist for that in the 70s/early 80s. By the time we bought a VCR, I didn't really want to watch it anymore. (I was around 14 or so by then.) I think even when VCRs first came out, if you wanted to buy a videotape it was super expensive. I would record movies off the movie channels and keep them.

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  25. I haven't even seen the first one yet

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    1. GASP. I was an extra in the play in high school. I got to sing backup lyrics to Summer Nights on stage. Good times. Basically, I was background scenery in every play we ever did...mostly because I have no acting talent. Or singing talent!

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  26. We watched Grease and Grease 2 one night, and then the next day me and my friends lived the whole day singing, as if we were living a musical. Good times! I love both Grease and Grease 2, but Grease is so good!

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    1. I spent many hours in my room, singing and dancing to the Grease soundtrack, so I'm right there with you on that!

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  27. Oh I remember all the hoopla over this film and it layed a big fat egg. It took allot for Michelle Pfeiffer to come up from that. Now about Maxwell Caulfield....:)

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    1. I think I read he's touring England with his wife, Juliet Mills? He seems to have done okay for himself! The blond who played Paulette, Lorna Luft, is Judy Garland's daughter and Liza Minnelli's half-sister. But I think most of the secondary stars in the film have mysteriously vanished from the business...

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  28. That was quite a movie. Can't believe Travolta danced like that when I see him today.

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    1. I believe I remember reading in Marilu Henner's biography that John played Kenickie in the Broadway version, pre-movie. By the time the movie was casting, he was the hottest thing in H'wood so he was a natural to star. Marilu played Rizzo (which was a MUCH bigger role in the original Broadway version).

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  29. I watched that movie so long ago. I should watch it again with my kids.

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    1. The kids I've known would think it was awful, then would act as though our generation was somehow to blame for it being bad!

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  30. Don't you just love cheesy movies?!

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  31. Yeah, I didn't like Grease 2 as well as the Grease. I always thought it was the songs that let the movie down - certainly not Michelle Pfeiffer. :)

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  32. I actually saw this one in the theater. I wasn't impressed by it at the time. It was trying too hard. But I loved some of the songs.

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  33. Sometimes they should stop and not make sequels, LOL :) I didn't see Grease 2 but I can see why you would like it at that stage of your life :)

    betty

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  34. Grease 2 did not have the strong characters. They all seemed to blend together. And, so many unknowns...

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  35. I caught a few minutes of it on TV a few years ago, and was immediately cringing at how embarrassingly awful it was! I don't know if I'd want to watch the entire thing voluntarily.

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