Friday, 1 January 2016

THANK GOD FOR MAXWELL CAULFIELD IN 'GREASE 2'




In 1982 I was a first year student in college, barely out of puberty but ready to face the world.  Life was finally turning out to be real peachy.  I was living in a dorm, studying, partying, and everything was hunky dory except for one thing: I was still in the closet.  My sexual experience resorted mostly to my vivid imagination.  Maxwell Caulfield from GREASE 2 was one that I thought a lot about that year:  his chiseled face, his athletic frame, the way his dark leather pants hugged his tight little rump…  Suffice to say, I couldn’t get enough of him.  I went to see GREASE 2 numerous of times in ‘82.  Alas, the film fizzled out quickly at the box office and it never made Caulfield as star.  But in my mind he certainly was.

I remember the publicity stunt surrounding him and the film.  It was hectic.  You couldn’t go anywhere without seeing his face (and Michelle Pfeiffer’s) on billboards, magazines or on TV (this was all before the birth of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr…)   Anything to get the ball rolling.  Even the soundtrack album was released before the movie opened. And I, the trooper that I am, got a hold of it ASAP, learning the songs and anticipating the best on screen.  Not the best of voice, however.  I mean have you heard Caulfield’s toneless rendition of Charade?  Cringe worthy.  But who cares when you look that hot.   
 
The plot is quite simple:  Nerdy high-school student Caulfied has the hots for Pink Lady member Pfeiffer who barely knows he’s alive.  To win her love and respect he transforms into a mysterious sexy motorcycle rider and sets out to wow her, to the detriment of her entourage, especially the T-Birds gang who want him out of the way. Will the two lovebirds be able to unite after all?  Like duh! 
 

I came out of the movie theater relatively happy.  Despite its many flaws (cardboard characters, silly situations…) GREASE 2 was fun.  Both leads looked great together and lit up the screen in spite of a lack of chemistry… and script. Because rumor has it that the cast was going at it mostly without a screenplay. Imagine what the movie could have been had there been one.  I’m sure the entire film would have been as powerful as the intro BACK TO SCHOOL number.  Fast-forward to 30-odd years, and, wouldn’t you know, GREASE 2 is now recognized as one of the guiltiest of pleasures.  Oh it’s still as clunky as before, but it has earned this je-ne-sais-quoi about it that makes you want to embrace it even more now that time has gone by.   

Some of the old gang are back for this sequel:  Frenchy, principal McGee, coach Calhoun, just to name a few.  Yes, like the next guy, I would have loved to see Danny and Sandy make an appearance too.  Heck, I would have settled for Rizzo or Kenickie, even Putzie for that matter.  But it was not meant to be (for money and career reasons I’m sure).  But in the end, does it really matter?  Just as long as Maxwell Caulfield is around all is fine.  If you have yet to see him in this film, leave your brain at the door and get a DVD copy.  You’ll be mesmerized mostly by his good looks—if not by the impressive biceps and pecs of his other co-star Adrian Zmed who plays T-Birds leader Johnny Nogerelli.  Either way it’s a win win situation. 

  

Until next post—Martin
 










 

 

6 comments:

Asiatic Proofreader said...

Maxwell Caulfield is still working, still looks good and still with his older wife Juliet Mills. It's all good.

Authorfan said...

Good to know. Thanks for the update.

William said...

My partner recommended this film to me when it opened and had us rushing to the nearly empty Ziegfeld theater to see it. I wondered why he enjoyed the movie so much as it was not his usual cup of java. Well, Caulfield was one of the reasons of course -- not to mention a still handsome Tab Hunter -- but it was also a fun movie that didn't deserve the critical lambasting it got. We went to see it again a few days later and I liked it even better but the theater was still empty! Too bad -- the cast was quite good but only Pfeiffer went on to any kind of major career. Glad to hear it's become a guilty pleasure. Sheesh, I even listen to the CD now and then! About a month or so ago I couldn't get "Charades" out of my head and it nearly drove me crazy, although I kind of like the tune.

Authorfan said...

Me, it's "Girl for all Seasons". I can't stop humming it once I start thinking about GREASE 2. Thanks for your input. Always fun to read about one's attraction to this film--or any film, for that matter. Big fan of your Great Old Movies.

Ken Masterson said...

Very nice review!

I grew up with Grease 2, and I've seen it as many times as I've seen Star Wars - and that's a lot! It was on the same VHS tape as Tron, so I ended up watching both back-to-back. I lived in Germany 1982-1983, and we had jack for US movies. All we had - at least my sister and me - was Tron, Grease 2, Stripes, Dragonslayer, Condorman, Love At First Bite (TV Edited version), Zorro The Gay Blade, and Rocky III.

These days, I've pretty much researched Grease 2, learning filming locations, learning which dancer was who. Thankfully, Ivy Austin, Girl Greaser `Francine' (The pretty 'nerd'-girl with the long braids), has a website and an email. Over that past 2 years we've kept in touch and she filled me in on who the other dancers were.
One reason - I'm writing a film/dialogue/character/scene accurate PDF `Fan-Script' of the whole movie, word for word, describing the action, the settings, naming the unnamed dancers.
It's as accurate as I cam make it, and I even re-integrated two deleted scenes; Frenchy teaching Michael how to be tough, and Davey asking Michael for help on his essay.

Authorfan said...

Nice meeting you, Ken. Glad you've enjoyed my silly blog post about this film. Good luck with your `Fan-Script'. Sounds really cool.