I’ve seen Grease probably 50 times; I own the movie and would watch again anytime. I simply don’t get tired of it (or Saturday Night Fever, Risky Business, Goodfellas, When Harry Met Sally, Chicago, etc.) First, I love musicals generally. Second, it was just something my friend Kathy and I did week after week in high school … went to see Grease or SNF. That’s what we did … and then we stopped for pie (I usually got coconut cream, occasionally blueberry). I’m not so much into pie now, but I still love those two movies, and I don’t think it has anything to do with John Travolta, though I realize of course he’s common to both. That’s just coincidence.
Let’s talk Grease. Danny Zuko was kind of a jerk of a character, not exactly a superhot “romantic” lead, if you ask me. He pretended to be someone he wasn’t to attract Sandy during the summer, and then when he saw her at school, he hurt her feelings by acting Mr. Cool because his friends were more important to him. A duke would never do that. Or even an earl or a pirate or a cowboy or a corporate raider … pick your romance novel hero. Then when Danny decided he wanted Sandy back, he began a groveling campaign … ick, right? Romantic heroes do not grovel! They may cave, a little, but that’s all and you have to be uber-perceptive to pick up on it.
But Kenickie (Jeff Conaway’s character), he was a hero! He was hot and he knew it, and he didn’t take any crap. He stayed true to himself throughout, and when Rizzo began her pregnancy rumor, he immediately stepped up. At the end, after he knew the rumor was fake and she had told him she’d been with someone else (whether he believed her or not, we don’t know), he repeated his offer “to make an honest woman of her.” Kenickie was cool; Zuko was a dork.
I’m having a hard time with Conaway’s death … he was only 60. That’s getting too close for comfort. When old celebrities die, I can say, well, they are old, not my generation. But this? It’s getting closer. And this wasn’t skiing into a tree or some freak thing either. Drugs, pneumonia. Doesn’t seem that “out there.” Plus I liked the guy. Just liked him. Obviously didn’t know him, but still. Sad. And scary.