Xanadu (1980)


Bil’s rating (out of 5): B.5

USA, 1980Screenplay by , Cinematography by Produced by Music by .   Production Design by Costume Design by Film Editing by .

One of the most famous bombs of all time, this ridiculous musical is more closely associated with its helping to inspire the Razzie Awards than anything to do with its actual content.  quits his job painting promotional art for a record company but decides to get back to it after being kissed by an Olympian muse () who has come down to earth.  Falling in love with her on sight, Beck also befriends a lonely older gentleman (Gene Kelly in his final film) who remembers Newton-John from his own youth and decides to revive a musical dream of the past: he opens up a nightclub and gets Beck in on the action with him.  The plot being so hopefully flimsy isn’t a problem, the idea of a movie being just an excuse for a bunch of exciting musical numbers is appealing considering the musical talents involved (do the words Electric Light Orchestra mean anything to you?), but none of the songs are memorable and none of the musical numbers are well executed (including the laughable claim that the film is combining both modern-day disco and old school big band).  Despite a huge budget and big stars, the whole thing looks ugly and cheap:  the costume designer’s idea of an ancient Greek costume is to dress Newton-John up as some kind of dowdy TGIF waitress, while the final title number looks like it takes place in the lobby of a church community centre.   Watch a few clips on YouTube and spare yourself the pain of sitting through the whole thing.

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