Grease was the word, and in my book it still is. Oh I was there on June 13. I remember the unexpected excitement. I was an eight-year-old puppy gazing at the long line down the block when it premiered back in the day. I recently heard Stockard Channing (Rizzo) explain that "at the time, in the business, this movie was not appreciated, and whereas the people, the audiences, went nuts for it ─ they still are ─ everyone in the business was sort of puzzled by its success." Which only confirms what I've long suspected: that studio execs know diddly-squat about what constitutes movie excellence. They just don't know. They think they know, and in so doing mix up their executive power with the creativity they so sorely lack. It also explains why a plethora of movies today are nothing but a hollow mess, plain stupid and, well, forgettable. Why would anyone want to make movies that are forgettable?
Let's not ponder that question because the answer is money. Enter Danny Zuko et al. We listened to the songs. We marveled at the chemistry. And all was good. Rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong.
Then, a couple of years down the line, some studio bobo relished the idea of a sequel. Studio bobos gathered. They smiled. They grinned. They patted each other on the back. They loved their own undisputable inventiveness. "Yes, let's make Grease 2! Let's be quick to cash in on the success of the first one! Okay, what we need is..." Well, what we got is forgettable songs and forgettable dialogue. Imitation was in the air, boys and girls, not to mention a John Travolta wannabe with absolutely zero charisma yet a smile that said, "Toothpaste commercial!" But I get it, Studio Bobos & Company: instead of being black haired, this hunk-a-junk is blond and, wait a minute, this time it's the guy, not the girl (Olivia oh Olivia), who's a well-brought-up-and-pretty-much-all-decent Sandra Dee. How creative. "What we need is..."
No, what you need is devotion. What you need is a hunger for excellence. What you need is for your brainchild to be real and to feel real. Grease is the word. Grease 2... not so much. But studios will never learn. Or care for that matter.
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