Let's Be Movie Sandy

Let's Be Movie Sandy
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

Hi There.

First of all, Grease (the musical we saw last week) was super fun. I literally had no idea that Grease was first a musical before it was a movie. It only became a hit after the movie was a runaway success so I guess my ignorance is understandable. I only found this out because I was confused why the boys group wasn’t called the T-Birds, but instead The Burger Palace Boys. After a google search of ‘why did they change the name of the T-Birds for the grease musical’, it returned a very sassy ‘They didn’t you sausage, they changed it for the movie’.

I also found out that "Greased Lightnin'" was originally sung by Kenickie but in the movie John Travolta said ‘Mine’ so Danny sang the song.

And then on a total unrelated note Dame Olivia Newton-John died yesterday.

All of this has lead me to dedicate today's blog to Grease.

Grease is terrible.

Hear me out, the songs are just so amazing. "Those Magic Changes" is definitely in my top 10 favourite songs of all time. Yeah, it’s not a widely remembered one, but that is what I like about it. But like all things from my childhood, I can’t believe how inappropriate the movie was. It is soooooo sexual and I remember zero of that as a child. We watched the movie a few months back and were so glad we didn’t show our kids, because both of us just had fond memories of it without a single recollection of how dodgy it was. I think because most of the soundtracks had radio edits and they changed some words.

Well the stage show is even raunchier but this is not why it’s terrible. It’s because the story has zero substance. This is what it boils down to: Boy Meets Girl away from school, Girl changes school to Boy's school without knowing that it is where he was; they meet now in front of his friends and he is a jerk, she sticks up for herself, he thinks about changing, doesn’t, loses her again, then does change only to find out she was willing to change as well. Pretty Simple. As for the B Stories, one girl is engaged to a rich sailor named Freddie, then forgets about him; another girl leaves school to attend beauty school, flunks out and comes back to school; someone else thinks she is pregnant but is not; a tv show films at a school dance; and finally there is a rival gang who are defeated in a car race. Take out the songs and the stories are just random.

In the musical it was even worse - take out the car race and replace with a fight that never happens, add a whole lot more of Sandy enduring peer pressure to stop being herself from her so-called friends, and Danny never changes but is a jerk the whole way through (even hitting on another girl until Sandy comes in with the transformation).

The musical Sandy was not half the character Olivia Newton-John played in the movie. Movie Sandy stayed who she was, didn't apologise for it and then at the end had a realisation that she wanted to change for the man that she loved. The fact that he came to the same realisation was actually kind of beautiful.

Now I am sure you could easily poke holes in this theory and Movie Sandy is not the perfect role model I am sure, but she showed something that is rare to see in a movie character. Confidence to change.

This is kind of different to what I have been trained to do, we are supposed to not let people change us, they either have to accept us for who we are or find someone else to change. While this is indeed an admirable skill (think of the person who found fame and notoriety yet stayed humble and down to earth); it is not the only option. I would argue that only the most confident among us are willing to change for others.

I have had to learn this skill in my household. There are 5 of us, and I am the only male. I have been domesticated as much as humanly possible. Not completely, you should see what happens when I try and cook, it’s like a bomb has hit the kitchen and sometimes several do. I made a choice very early in my marriage that we were going to go with how my wife likes to organise and run a home. This meant in this area I had to change....a lot. But I was willing to do that because I love that woman more than life itself (and as a side note the way I organised a home led to rat infestations). In saying that we made the decision that I would take the lead in how we run our finances, which was bold because my wife used to earn double my income. She had to significantly change the way she used to do things but she did it. At no point did she think she had a controlling husband or did I think I was under the thumb of my wife. To change was our choice, and like Movie Sandy and Danny we did it out of love.

The world says, ‘be confident and you won’t care what others think about you’ which may be true; but I am here to suggest maybe your confidence is not defined by what you are not willing to change; but instead for whom you are willing to change for. Whether it is for your spouse, family or even God, to change and grow for them is the ultimate way of letting them know ‘You are the one that I want’...