Back to Back Classics in SRQ: Two Johns and a Jimmy

What a gift to live in Sarasota!
Thursday I saw Grease (Kleiser, 1978) on the big screen at the charming Burns Court Theater (Sarasota Film Society) where joy was expressed in the gyrating seat dances and applause after each song. Truly a blessing to listen to audience members share their love for Olivia Newton-JOHN and JOHN Travolta (caps for those who did not understand my cutesie title). My favorite songs this time around (and I’m not a re-watcher, so I haven’t seen it since 1978) were Grease Lightning, Hopelessly Devoted to You (Of course, since it was nominated for an Oscar) and of course the creme de la creme You’re the One that I Want. The fact that Rotten Tomatoes visa vie lame critics only give it a 76% is a crock, there should be some other estimate that ranks it on pure elation (even the audience score of 86% seems to low to me).
I agreed with moderator Lorenzo regarding the Beauty School Dropout song which I think is a sarcastic downer. The only other detractors in the movie was the amount of screen time for the three stooges, yet even they added the universal doofus element that every high school class possesses. Last, if someone told you to write a song for a movie you weren’t enthused over, let’s say the movie’s name was “Bread”, you’d probably write some dumb lyric like “Bread is the word is the word is the word”. Hence, why I detest the title song Grease is the Word, simply too bland for such a vivacious film.
Friday I saw Harvey (Koster, 1950) at the posh Sarasota Opera House. Having heard about it for years, this was my first viewing of this classic film. Josephine Hull was adorable and won the Oscar over two of the supporting stars from All about Eve. I enjoyed this film, but felt it didn’t have the emotional impact of its potential. The theme of ‘it’s ok to be eccentric as long as you’re kind’ is certainly moving, valid and timeless, yet I think the story gets a little muddy when the Doctor goes missing. Had they tied that up faster and neater (where did he go?), I think the movie would have packed more punch. May I say though that Cecil Kellaway was amazing as the Doctor and his scene with Jimmy explaining what wish he would choose is very effective and affective! The other supporting cast members were also divine Peggy Dow (still alive!) as the young spinster and Jesse White as the Nut house guard.
Finally, throw out your cell phones or at least put them away when in the presence of loved ones, as both movies prove humans were better and happier without the damn interruptions.

By Goldie

Aspiring writer who has retired from the institution of education. I've written plays, three of which have been performed both in Rochester NY and here in Sarasota FL. I also write stand up and obviously, film critique. My comment section does not work, so please email me your comments at

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