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why 'grease' is a perfect LA movie

johnnie utah


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SOTU drinking game, 2008 - 2008-01-27
little light - 2007-12-19
hamburger phone - 2007-12-18
why 'grease' is a perfect LA movie - 2007-12-17
recipe: barley treasure - 2007-10-12

2007-12-17 - 11:03 p.m.

why grease is the perfect LA movie

  1. the fetishization of an automobile

    'greased lighting', the heap that gets fixed up by the t-birds, is immortalized in an overtly sexual song, and is featured in two different fantasy sequences in the movie.

  2. gangs and class tension

    'grease' is set in the 1950s and so overt racial tension would seem out of place (for a similar story with the appropriate racial elements intact, see 'hairspray'), but the class differences between sandy and danny are made clear when sandy invites danny over to have tea with her parents. the t-birds have an antagonist gang led by a nameless villain with facial scarring, and the girls even wear matching satin jackets that read 'the pink ladies'.

  3. freaky druglike fantasy sequences

    though set in the 1950s, 'grease' is clearly a product of the 1970s. the movie goes to some trouble to seem kind of realistic, especially considering its source is a stage musical, but there are two completely whacked out fantasy sequences, one of which involves a visitation by 'teen angel' frankie valli.

  4. a mysterious femme fatale

    the impossibly pure female protagonist has a dangerously mature antagonist in rizzo, but there is also the shadowy figure of cha-cha, who steals danny at the dance (and the trophy) and starts the race at thunder road with her scarf.

  5. makeover as redemption

    danny decides to train for cross country in an effort to impress sandy, tells the coach he 'wants to change'. but this is a superficial change - his friends don't even know he's doing it and it's barely alluded to in the story until the very end. sandy of course makes a climactic makeover courtesy of her beauty school dropout friend, but she is so unsure of her new look that she looks at her friends for a cue about when she should stamp out her cigarette.

  6. the LA river

    like all truly good LA movies, the climactic race at 'thunder road' takes place in the LA wash.