Sunday, September 14, 2008

Saturday Night Blahs

Yesterday afternoon and last night I had the blahs. My wife is still out of town (gets back this afternoon) and my son was off at a friend's house playing. It was just me, the dogs, and my laptop for backing up my iTunes library. Boring Saturday and I was feeling out of it. Even a dinner out at IHOP (had the T-bone steak and eggs combo) didn't shake the funk.

This called for deseperate measures.

So, I pulled out a couple DVDs from the library and watched two that I felt could cheer me up. The titles? Xanadu and Grease 2.

Yes, you read that right. By most critics, these are two of the cheesiest films ever to come out of the early 1980's. Know what? I don't care about that.

First up was Xanadu. I got the recent DVD set in part because it had the soundtrack remastered included. I had this album on vinyl and I played it often. Loved it. Loved the ELO tracks. Loved the Olivia Newton-John tracks. I know the songs inside and out. The film is the story of album painter Sonny Malone (Michael Beck) who is looking for something better and of Danny Malone (Gene Kelly) who is a retired big band musician looking for one more big dream. Enter Greek muse Kira (Olivia Newton-John) to apply the magic. The film is an ode to roller-disco with lots of wild costumes and colors. Very 1980. And the choreography was done by a very young Kenny Ortega (known by today's generation as the man behind Disney's High School Musical franchise). It is a sappy, over the top, ode to musicals of old - and it a perfect rainy day, feeling blah kind of thing. It started to make me feel better.

Next up was the 1982 sequel to Olivia's big film with John Travolta. Grease 2 has neither of the big stars from the first film. Only folks like Didi Cohn, Sid Caeaser, Eve Arden and Dody Goodman reprise their roles from the earlier film. The rest of the cast is an all-new set of T-Birds (lead by Adrian Zmed's Johnny) and the Pink Ladies (lead by Michelle Pfeiffer's Stephanie and featuring Lorna Luft (Paulette) and Maureen Teefy(Sharon)). The story is a reversal of the first film in that outsider Michael (played by Maxwell Caulfield) falls for cool girl Stephanie and must find a way to impress her.

As with Xanadu, I owned this soundtrack on vinyl - and again on CD. I know these songs inside and out too. In fact, I've watched this film so many times over the decades since its release that I can do most of the lines in most of the scenes. I love this film that much. Pfeiffer is at her sexiest in this film - young, vulnerable and searching for that real love. Both her spotlight numbers in the film - "Cool Rider" and "(Love Will) Turn Back the Hands of Time" are my favorites (and I will admit for some reason that latter song always makes me tear up a bit every time I watch the film - it must resonate with something from my life in 1982). The other songs like "Score Tonight" and "Reproduction" are double-entendre laid numbers that give this film a more sexy edge than the first, more famous and loved of the series. The Grease 2 fans seem to recognize the unique characteristics of this film and embrace them on their own merit.

Needless to say, the film put me back squarely into 1982 and that nostalgia trip further helped to break the night of blahs for me.

No comments: