Thursday, April 5, 2012


Just because it was responsible for killing the movie musical for a couple of decades, doesn't mean that Xanadu isn't a classic in its own right. Celebrate the ambition and over-extravagance of this occasionally lucid roller spectacular!

Xanadu. Just the say the name, and you're sure to be met with a variety of reactions - ranging anywhere from disgust to obsession. It was the final nail in the coffin of the movie musical, and studios wouldn't even touch the genre for many years after a dismal showing at the box office.

So it should come as no surprise to you that Xanadu is one of my favorite films of all time. It's campy, absurdly-plotted, and features the music of Electric Light Orchestra - not to mention the grandiose choreography of a young Kenny Ortega. Add Olivia Newton-John's strange, awkwardly adorable performance and Gene Kelly dancing on the big screen for the very last time - well, it's just about everything that this homosexual wants. 

Almost everything else about this movie is uniformly terrible, in a way that just thinking about it makes me grin from ear to ear. The fashion, the "Art vs. Corporate Greed" lesson, the chemistry-free romance between ON-J and Michael Beck...Xanadu may have been a failure, but it was a spectacular one. I can't begin to know the cost of drugs in 1980, but I at least hope they made some of their money back on all of that cocaine.

Obviously it has taken its rightful place as a so-bad-it's-good cult classic over time, even spawning a Broadway show. So before Hollywood decides to remake it, let's take a look back!


I'm honestly not sure what took me so long in putting this tribute together, but I'm happy to share it. Xanadu is one of my choreography touchstones, in that I've yet to see another film pull off dance sequences so huge, and with the sheer number of people involved. It's a film where you're never at a loss for something to look at, and most of said scenery is so brightly-colored and sparkly that you might have a seizure (of excitement!) if you look too hard at any one thing.

Speaking of excitement: Hey, Universal! It's your 100th Anniversary, and I haven't seen Xanadu on your list of films getting special edition re-releases. You might want to get on that. 

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