Flashback: Olivia & Travolta

Posted by julian On 5:11 PM
Happy 62nd birthday to Olivia Newton-John. Rather than celebrate with the usual Xanadu (1980) fixation or the more universally beloved Grease (1978) how about a duet with John Travolta from their flop reunion Two of a Kind (1983)? The third of her movie soundtracks is largely forgotten. I can't remember anything about the film other than that there was some divine romantic comedy intervention involving heaven and resurrection. Heaven Can Wait was a big hit the year that Grease was the biggest hit of all, so maybe it was still in the atmosphere to influence Two of a Kind's dumb story.

The only scene I remember is one in which Olivia was in acting class and her acting teacher thought she was a terrible actress (uhhh....) but then all of sudden while playing a scene she saw a criminal in the theater -- context? -- and started screaming and the teacher marvelled at how genuine her emotions felt! My point is that it was a terrible movie.

Here's the love theme / duet for the movie. Why isn't it one of the schmaltz classics of the 1980s? Even if you don't know the song, marvel at the sheer volume of PINK everywhere you look. There's only one color in this rainbow. Travolta is so very breathy... was it all those fumes from Olivia's hairspray? They look so contagiously happy together.




Though Two of a Kind justly flopped, the movie did give ONJ her one last big hit after a whole slew of them in the 70s and early 80s. It was "Twist of Fate." Madonna was about to change the whole pop landscape and Olivia would suddenly be of the past.



I have a lot of issues with John Travolta as a celebrity but one thing I think is cool about him: even with the gazillions of dollars and the inexplicably enduring bankability, he doesn't shun his past. Here he is with Olivia just a couple of years ago singing "You're The One That I Want" for a Grease DVD party. So here's to longevity and loyalty to one's friends.



When was the last time you watched Grease? How many times have you seen it?

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