Newer not always better: Classic cinema captivates audiences, creates nostalgia

Sloan McKeehan

Sometimes the best thing to do on the weekend is binge classic movies. Some of my favorites have one thing in common – John Travolta. Grease, Hairspray, and Urban Cowboys all showcase Travolta’s range of acting skills through superb storytelling. Travolta is loved world-wide, whether it’s for his more serious action-filled roles or for his goofy ones. 

My favorite Travolta movie is Urban Cowboy, which tells the story of Travolta leaving his hometown and moving to Houston to live with his aunt and uncle while working at an oil company.  Travolta’s character, Bud, meets Sissy and marries her shortly after their first meeting. 

The bar is a significant setting for the movie, especially when an electric bull becomes involved and when a professional bull rider/ex-con comes in and flirts with Sissy, conflict arises. 

The movie is a roller coaster of emotions that connects on all levels from excitement, to regret, to understanding. It also teaches a lesson about how possessions and jealousy can make or break a relationship if you allow them and to take priority in a relationship. 

If I’m being honest though, my favorite parts of the movie are when the amazing soundtrack starts playing songs like Anne Murray’s, “Could I Have This Dance,” Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band’s, “Nine Tonight”, Charlie Daniels Band’s, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”, Mickey Gilley’s, “Here Comes the Hurt Again” and The Eagles’, “Lyin’ Eyes.”  Each song brings the right emotions to each scene, so it makes them all the more special and impactful on the audience. 

Another Travolta movie with a fantastic soundtrack is, the classic, Grease. Travolta’s character Danny meets a girl named Sandy during the summer before school starts and they never expect to see each other again after the summer ends.

Unexpectedly, they end up at the same school, only for Travolta’s character to be too cool for Sandy. This movie is the classic good girl/bad boy relationship set in the 1950s. With themes like love, teenage rebellion, and peer pressure the movie relates to high schoolers and young adults. 

This movie felt like a lightweight rom-com, and the perfect movie for me and my friends to have a cozy movie night with some pizza, or take viewers away after a stressful week at school.

Travolta played Danny, the bad boy, excellently. Danny showed us how the peer pressure from his friends to be cool and tough affected his actions. And what it’s really like in his world and the expectations he has to meet for them, even if that means blowing off Sandy.

Travolta’s skill set isn’t limited to his musical performances though as he has appeared in countless genres over the years. Though a musical, Travolta’s role in Hairspray is a bit different and showcases the depth of this talent.

Hairspray is about a girl who loves dancing and ultimately wins a spot to dance for The Corny Collins Show. This movie follows the struggles of exclusion, racism, and breaking the norms of society through humor and music. 

While the main character in this movie might not be Travolta, he definitely steals the show with his portrayal of Tracy’s mom. The director wanted the mom to be larger built for the part, not only for the laughs it would get out of the audience, but also for Tracy to be able to relate to her mother for the same struggles she faces throughout the movie.

I loved that Travolta played this part for the movie because it really brought out a different side of his acting that I haven’t been able to see in his other movies. He did a fabulous job even though it was out of his comfort zone and normal roles he plays.

Travolta’s range of acting and ability to command a scene makes his movies some of the best to watch when you need some down time. If you have missed these movies because you always thought they were old and boring, I encourage you to try them out. I think you will be pleasantly surprised and even find yourself singing some of the great songs featured in the movies.