The following article is my first article on Retro Junk. I would like to add that this is actually a sub-chapter in a book that I am currently writing about my obsessions with pop culture. Enjoy!

Grease 2 -- The Cinematic Tradgedy of 1982
by Mike Kenny

I'm not entirely sure where to begin on this one. I guess the proper place to start is by going back to the beginning... 1978. The Bee Gees were blasting out of radios explaining to listeners how to stay alive, while The Village People gave meaning to the letters Y-M-C-A. In addition to the happening tunes of '78, Ted Bundy was captured in Florida and the New York Yankees scored their 22nd World Series championship against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Could things be any groovier? The answer is yes. On June 1, 1978, a film poured into movie theaters that would catapult a cultural phenomenon that would forever brand pop culture as we knew it. The film was "Grease", a 1950s set musical about two teenagers who celebrate a summer romance only to unexpectedly return back to school reunited. The likeliness of rekindling their love becomes debatable due to social differences. If you haven't been living underneath a rock for the past 30 years, your average person has seen "Grease" at least once and recalls what happens. Danny Zuko (played by a young, smooth dancing John Travolta) and Sandy Olsson (played by Olivia "Physical" Newton-John) overcome the pressures from high school jerks, sing and dance many scenes away and conclude the film realizing they truly are hopelessly devoted to one another. A happy ending to a happy movie that left many audiences, including myself, walking away from the film... happy. The film scored big at the box office as well as big in the hearts of audiences worldwide. We were please to see a well-done musical film packed with a wonderful cast, an entertaing story, and songs accompanied by choreography that put a smile on our faces. "Grease" came into our lives that year, left its mark on our culture and exited theaters. Fast forward to June 11, 1982. Almost 4 years after the original came into theaters an unexpected follow-up was now circulating on movie screens all over the county. The nightmare begins...

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While attending a horror movie convention some years back a "Grease" related conversation began among some older friends and I. We discussed our love for "Grease" and went back and forth quoting popular lines from the film. Moments later I found myself silent when my hand full of friends began discussing their "deep" love for "Grease 2". At the time I was a "Grease 2" virgin and when I finally came clean with my confession, a friendly verbal riot sparked. My friends (some who are entering their early 30s and saw "Grease 2" in theaters in 1982) advised me to forget anything I had heard about the movie and expressed how crucial it is for me to see it. I took an important mental note from my friends to see this film that now seemed to actually hold more promise than I thought. Fast forward to 2006. I was in a New York City Best Buy picking a copy of the new "Rockin' Rydell Edition" of "Grease" (donned in a leather "T-Birds" jacket case). As I picked up the DVD, something caught my eye next to it. It was numerous copies of "Grease 2", the price on the packaging listed it for less than $10 and then that mental note that I had tucked away roughly 2 years before came into my head. I told myself that my friends always insisted I see it and since I've been pushing it off for so long anyways... what the hell for less than $10. I left the store that day with both "Grease" and its sequel but it would still be another few weeks before I sat down and watched the "famous" sequel. The day finally came for me to lay in bed, watch "Grease 2" and be amazed by the spectacular film I was desperately told to see. "Grease 2" picks back up at Rydell High in 1960, precisely 2 years after the original cast had graduated. The plot is basically a replica of the original with the exception of the roles that Danny and Sandy played being swapped. This time around Stephanie Zinone (played by Michelle Pfeiffer), head of the "Pink Ladies", is fed up with her boyfriend Johnny Nogerelli, head of the "T-Birds", and is searching for something more. Along comes Michael Carrington (played by Maxwell Caulfield), an exchange student from England who just so happens to be Sandy's cousin. Michael spots Stephanie the first day of school and falls head over heels for her. Realizing he is very different from Stephanie he tries to gain her attention and love by learning to play it cool and masquerading around as "The Lone Biker". Song and dance numbers move the film forward and shortly before the end credits Michael reveals his identity to Stephanie and they live happily ever after. The end, right? End of the film... true. End of my dire hatred towards a movie that not only seemed like a waste of film but a waste of 114 long minutes of my life... far from it. My problems with "Grease 2" are not so much that I was duped into believing that this film was close, if not better, than the original. But, how anyone who has seen the original "Grease", loves it then watches "Grease 2" and can sincerely feel the same way about it. These are the things that wake me in the night. It frightens me to know that there are people that actually watch this film over one viewing, can recite lines from this monstrosity and sing along to the songs in the film. I will go on to spill my guts about what drives me crazy about this film who, in my opinion, pay disrespect to the name "Grease".

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Exhibit A: The characters presented in this film did nothing but annoy me down until the last frame. Besides Michelle Pfeiffer, who is an exceptional actress to this day and a gorgeous human being, I wanted to throw molotov cocktails at each cast member anytime they came across my television screen. The original "Grease" cast never annoyed me in the slightest unless laughing and smiling at an actor's performance is considered a negative thing. The cast in "Grease 2" put a face on me that looked reminiscent of a lion stalking its prey before it attacks and ferociously rips its head off and chows down on dinner. I hereby warn all "Grease 2" virgins that the cast of the film is not there for their enjoyment but more so to taunt you through your television screen because you cannot harm them. As a mere side note, I'd like to add that Michael Carrington and Johnny Nogerelli will never be anything remotely close to what Danny Zuko was. Ever! Exhibit B: Many would recall the songs performed in the original "Grease" such as "Hopelessly Devoted", "Sandy", "Summer Nights", "Greased Lightin'" and "You're The One That I Want" as fun, well crafted songs. I personally found them to be on the money with making the audience feel something emotional with a character or just to simply have a blast with the characters. Unfortunately, for "Grease's" bastard sequel the songs blew on many levels that lacked the same form of creativity and playfulness that the original songs possessed. I'd be willing to put my money where my mouth is and have a randomly selected person, that has never see either "Grease" film, watch them and then rate which film had better songs. My bet is that the person would easily say "Grease". If I happened to be wrong I'd simply take a Louisville Slugger to the person's jaw just to "confirm" that they made the right decision. Furthermore, the songs in "Grease 2" with titles such as: "Let's Do It For Our Country" and "Rock-a-Hula Luau" will not bring you tears of joy but more so tears of pain and anger... If you don't believe me please rent "Grease 2" at your local video store. Exhibit C: I'll even admit maybe my final reason for hating this film could be considered a cheap shot but I have my reasons for it. In the film, Michael Carrington is an exchange student from England who comes to Rydell High and just so happens to be Sandy's cousin. Rydell High must have had some education system there during the years 1958-1960 to have 2 cousins from entirely different countries end up there. It's mind blowing! Now, I know what you're thinking... "It's a movie, asshole!" or "Ever hear of suspension of disbelief?". The answer is yes I happen to have heard of both of those things but here's my issue regardless and believe me 99.9% of the time I can fight against it. Anytime I watch a movie I understand that it's exactly that: a movie. We all watch movies for enjoyment and to be taken away from our stressful, boring everyday lives to live in a world of fantasy for 2 hours. I love being in that world which would explain why I watch anywhere from 1 to 3 new movies every single day. But, here is where the trouble comes in, when people are watching an atrociously bad movie and make the decision to complete it anyways we like to critique more than we should. We need something to get off of our chests because we realize that this movie has already sucked us dry and got us to watch it regardless of how bad it is. It's more comfortable to constantly question the realism of a film or make fun of a line that was given by an actor because we want to strike back at the bastard. Seems fair after all, an eye for an eye, right? In the case of "Grease 2" though, I just couldn't contain myself I had to become "Sir Asshole Critic". I mean seriously folks, Sandy was from Australia and moved to America and ended up at Rydell High. Of course I'll buy that, why shouldn't I believe that in the original "Grease"... it's a movie, right? But, then to place Michael at Rydell High and making him Sandy's cousin just seemed to over the top. Would making Michael just a regular exchange student with no previous family members at Rydell High change my opinion on the movie? Absolutely not. At best it would have saved the film one less bullet for me to hit it with. My hate for "Grease 2" was really starting to get underneath my skin and I just needed to bitch something out about the film desperately. It seemed like it was working for about 10 minutes until I realized I still had roughly 100 minutes left in the film.
For all those who hold the original "Grease" very deeply and warmly in their hearts and have never watched "Grease 2"... Please, I beg of you, to read my words, to absorb them, let them sink into the pool of your brains and understand that "Grease 2" is a bitch slap to the face. Save yourself and watch Danny and Sandy dance the original film away again and again. I've seen the worst of the worst so you don't have too... Just take these final words with you... Hell is real and they watch "Grease 2" there.