Xanadu (1980)
August 8, 2022 1:45 PM - Subscribe

Struggling artist Sonny Malone (Michael Beck) is trapped in a dull job painting album covers. He is instantly attracted to Kira (Olivia Newton-John, RIP), an anonymous woman randomly photographed in the background of one of his assignments, but no one is able to identify her. Visiting the auditorium where the cover was shot, Sonny finds the mysterious beauty, an ageless Greek muse, who encourages him to team up with old-fashioned Danny McGuire (Gene Kelly) to build a roller-skating disco. A musical featuring music by Newton-John and Electric Light Orchestra.

"Xanadu" cannot possibly be described as a good movie, but it can be recommended to those who can tolerate large amounts of intravenous marzipan. Tom Shales, Washington Post

Conventional wisdom decrees that Xanadu is a horrible film. In a sense, conventional wisdom may be correct, but it ignores one key ingredient: viewed in the right frame of mind, this movie can be a lot of fun. James Berardinelli, ReelViews

While the movie is every bit as garish and overly shellacked as the other bomb musicals of its era, at least this one looks like irresponsible amounts of money were thrown around. Eric Henderson, Slant Magazine
posted by DirtyOldTown (11 comments total)
Six year-old me would have died for Olivia Newton-John.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:45 PM on August 8, 2022

Neglected to include: JustWatch listing. Basically, this isn't free anywhere as far as I know, but you can digitally rent it via any of a long list of services.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:56 PM on August 8, 2022

"Magic" has been in regular rotation in my music library ever since iTunes first became a thing in my life.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 2:23 PM on August 8, 2022

FYI: Olivia Newton-John just passed away.
posted by SPrintF at 2:47 PM on August 8, 2022

I saw this in a theater when it came out, loved it, and haven't seen it since. It's probably best that way.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:39 PM on August 8, 2022 [3 favorites]

I watched this as an adult and was sort of blown away that it's Gene Kelly's last role. What a low note to go out on (it's such a weird movie, and such a bizarre part)! There is camp value though.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 11:06 AM on August 9, 2022

What the hell is "intravenous marzipan", aside from an awesome band name?
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:00 PM on August 9, 2022 [1 favorite]

Cake-frosting colonic?
Force-fed fondant?
Perfusing Pixy Stix?
posted by bartleby at 1:51 PM on August 9, 2022

I bought the soundtrack to Xanadu long before I saw the film, being an ELO fan. I had created my own "mind movie" out of the soundtrack as I listened to it. Sadly, the actual film didn't live up to the imagery in my head. I still love the soundtrack, though.
posted by SPrintF at 1:54 PM on August 9, 2022 [2 favorites]

Quoting Michael Beck: “The Warriors opened the doors for me, and Xanadu slammed them shut.”
posted by hanov3r at 2:02 PM on August 9, 2022 [2 favorites]

The wonderful sequence to ELO's "I'm Alive" where the muses emerge from the mural remains my favorite part of the movie. If I recall correctly, the glowing back-lit VFX was done by the same people who did the glowy SFX in Tron.
posted by indexy at 5:15 PM on August 10, 2022

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