Not all movies are perfect, including ‘Grease’ - GulfToday

Not all movies are perfect, including ‘Grease’

Birjees Hussain

She has more than 10 years of experience in writing articles on a range of topics including health, beauty, lifestyle, finance, management and Quality Management.

She has more than 10 years of experience in writing articles on a range of topics including health, beauty, lifestyle, finance, management and Quality Management.


'Grease' poster.

It’s funny how critics latch onto one movie and heavily criticise every aspect of it, especially when there are so many others that have far more excesses as well. Recently the folks who are part of the Woke movement suggested that the movie ‘Grease’ be permanently banned from being shown to the public because it was sexist, racist, and misogynistic, and it had a bullying scene.

They also objected to the fact that there wasn’t one black person in the movie.  I’m not saying they’re wrong about these observations but if my memory serves me correctly I can only recall one bullying scene, although the rest is true. However, it does strike me as being odd that the lack of ethnic people in the movie also annoyed the Woke movement. Does that mean that had an ethnic actor or actors been cast too, Woke would have had less objections notwithstanding all the other criticisms?

I actually do agree that the movie was riddled with unsavoury and unwatchable scenes and, in retrospect, I think it was highly inappropriate for teenagers at whom, strangely enough, it was targeted; it was vulgar to the extreme!

But in all fairness, which movie isn’t full of these things or at least some? Take the James Bond movies, for example. Were they not all sexist and misogynistic? In fact, Fleming purposely gave Bond that character and it was especially prevalent in the earlier Bond films until, that is, Dame Judie Dench was cast as ‘M’, the role in the book being that of a man. Moreover, in the earlier movies, female characters were always cast as eye-candy on top of which they had no particular serious role other than being ditsy.

Over the years there have been many films whose characters and storylines could never ever be role models for young people. Yesterday a free-to-air channel began showing ‘The Godfather’ trilogy. When I first saw it in the late 70s the storyline did not register but since it’s been repeatedly shown over the years, I’ve begun to realise that the films were actually unwatchable. Despite the bigwig casts like Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro and Andy Garcia, the movie had so much violence it could almost be labelled gratuitous. It was also full of corruption, murder, racketeering and, in my view, a massive insult to all Sicilians as being mobsters. Why then has that movie not had such overt criticism?

In my view if there is a movie that should be banned, it is ‘The Godfather’. Another movie that I think should be banned is ‘The Joker’. When it first came out, it was accompanied by a major warning to viewers and the streets were crawling with policemen for fear that it might incite violence in the audience. I recently saw it being aired on another free-to-air channel and I will say this: do not watch it. It is awful. The violence is really, really extreme. The joker seems to kill people, and violently I might add, for no apparent reason except for the fun of it. I would heavily criticise the producers of this movie for turning a seemingly children’s character from a comic book into a homicidal psychopath. I do not believe that Marvel Comics ever intended this character to be other than a joke, hence the name Joker.

Furthermore, ‘The Joker’ and ‘The Godfather’ are not the only movies that seem to be repeatedly getting airtime. How about ‘Nightmare On Elm Street’, ‘Saw’, ‘Get Out’, ‘Silence of the Lambs’ and ‘Red Dragon’? They are all violent and the last two even involved cannibalism! How come they’ve not been criticised by anyone?

One other thing for which ‘Grease’ was criticised was the fact that the Sandy was forced to change her appearance in order to get John Travolta’s character to like her, insinuated that the message for young girls is that you have to be someone else in order to get someone to like you. To be honest, it’s wrong to change yourself if you don’t want to, especially if you want to do something or be with someone. But Grease isn’t the movie in which a character had to not be who they were. Take ‘The Devil Wears Prada’. Didn’t Anne Hathaway’s character eventually drastically change her appearance because Streep’s character looked her up and down with disdain every time she saw her?

Yes, ‘Grease’ was everything that the critics said it was but I am sure that when people went to see the movie, it wasn’t for the storyline or the plot, since there wasn’t one. It was for the music and the songs which, to this day, are still classics and at the time they came out in the late 70s, they were top of the music charts for weeks.

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