Thursday, August 13, 2009
Favorite All-Time Film Performances...#97
97. Stockard Channing, Grease (Director: Randal Kleiser, 1978)
And this is where I stress that I’m honoring my favorite performances of all time, not necessarily the best performances of all time. Rizzo is by far, the most interesting character in this musical turned movie. She starts the film as the cliché role of bad girl, but we are left rooting for her by the film’s end. It’s the film’s ballad, “There Are Worse Things I Could Do,” that gives the possibly pregnant Rizzo her finest number (and Channing nails it). Of course, there’s also the pure “Mean Girl” delight she has in “Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee” performance in the first act of the film.
Sure Stockard Channing was 34 (!) when she played the 18-year-old Rizzo, but damn if she didn’t seem perfect for the role. The character, of course, lends itself to be someone who has more experience then everyone else in the film. It’s no wonder she snarls, “cause he sounds like a drag” during “Summer Nights.” She’s had more than enough of her share of guys. Plus credit where credit is due…Rizzo’s hickeys in the film? Channing let Jeff Conway (Kenickie) go to town instead of using makeup. That’s suffering for your art.