If you're like me, you were shown this movie for the first time when you were extremely young. I must have been...what, ten? Maybe nine? the first time I witnessed the wonder and the magic that is this 1970's parody of the 1950's, and I loved it to pieces. I used to sing "Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee" in my bedroom, right before I sang both parts of "You're the One That I Want" to myself. I had a blast.
Maybe it's because we all loved this movie when we were children that there was such huge backlash against it when the film's fans grew up. You hear those songs often enough, and they suddenly become reminders of your lost innocence, and you feel sort of betrayed by the film because NO, high school is not a constant party with swing dancing and showtunes, but maybe it's a good thing that real high school isn't like Rydell because people are really awful to each other and there's sex and unplanned pregnancy everywhere, and you're constantly being told to be yourself but also that your true self is lame...
There's a lot to unpack is what I'm saying.
Grease is not a perfect film. I, however, love this movie in more than a purely nostalgic way, and it took seeing it again with some of my closest friends ten years later to really articulate why.
It's not because of John Travolta. Not totally, anyway.