The combination of my partner playing ELO in the gym and reading The Seven Sisters series by Lucinda Riley made me think of one of my childhood favorites, Xanadu. Considered a truly awful movie by many, but a cult classic by Oliva Newton-John fans like me.

God, I love her.

While the soundtrack went double-platinum in the US, the film was considered so cringy that it supposedly started the “Raspberry Awards” and was nominated for worst actress, worst actor, worst director, and so on.

But I love this movie.

I love it so much that I know all the words to the songs, and I do not know words of songs unless I’ve heard them A LOT. And while the story is bizarre at best, ultimately it’s about making dreams come true (a roller-disco!) and love (take that, Zeus!).

God, I love ELO.

Speaking of god, and using his name in vain, how do I explain this film? Okay, Sonny Malone (Michael Beck), starving artist (yadda, yadda, yadda), manages to wake the Nine Muses of Olympus (as we all sometimes do) so be careful with your magic powers, yo. Anyway, Kira (Oliva Newton-John) aka Terpsichore aka the muse of dance and chorus decides to stick around on Earth when her other sisters return to (?) where ever Greek gods live (it’s complicated). They fall in love and along the way meet the great Gene Kelly, urrr, I mean Danny McGuire, and decide to open Xanadu, the ultimate in roller-disco awesomeness.

Gene Kelly dancing. The comments on YT are sweet, too.

Some fun facts from IMDB:

// The title comes from the Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem “Kubla Khan.”
// Olympic skater Peggy Fleming helped plan the skating scenes.
// Andy Gibb was originally cast to play Sonny.
// It was Gene Kelly’s last film.
// The movie was adapted into a Broadway musical, but was a satire of the film. It ran for over 500 performances and was nominated for the Best Musical and Best Book Tony’s.
// The film and soundtrack just celebrated its 40th anniversary.

Angry rollerskating + shorty shorts… what’s not to love?
Best mashup ever πŸ₯° 1940s + 1980s

So, heyyy… Join us for Film Fridays hosted by the lovely Sarah and Darren. Just hashtag that post to be part of this posh club!


Have you seen Xanadu? When do you plan on watching it? Why haven’t you watched it yet? Is there a movie you adore but everyone else hates?

22 replies on “Film Fridays – Xanadu (1980)

  1. I’ve never seen Xanadu but it sounds like something I should watch. I loathed Grease so I feel Olivia Newton John deserves a better chance in a film musical The film I love that no-one else does is Absolute Beginners, another musical. Most people I have made sit through it with me said they hated it. But I love it – the amazing opening tracking shot and David Bowie tap dancing on a giant typewriter.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. OMG. How intriguing. Yes, I’ll take a look at tap dancin’ Bowie πŸ˜›

      You hated Grease? I love that film. Hmmm. Not sure if Xanadu will redeem ONJ then! πŸ˜› Don’t shoot the messenger!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lani, I was a teenager when the movie came out. I might have even went to some roller-discos. Awful movie but who does not love our Liv! Thank you for including the clips. I had a sing. What a blast from the past.

    Have I already mentioned that I watched one of your other recommendations – Death at a Funeral? I watched the English version. Loved it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeaaaa! Yes, Death at a Funeral is a GEM. Wish there were more funny movies like that one. Even though there are plenty of comedies, good ones are hard to find. πŸ˜›

      Happy to have gotten you singing! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

  3. OMG, one of my favorite movies!! I was such a big Olivia Newton-John fan. I had a flowing white dress and used to roller skate around the house pretending I was Kira. Ahhh, those were the days. Thanks for the fun tidbits too! Love it! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeaaa! I was enamored with the clothes too. Stuff of teenage dreams and romance. Sigh. And super happy to hear I’ve found another Xanadu and ONJ fan. ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of this movie! Sounds… ehm… strange, haha. I don’t know if I love any movie that others consider awful. I loved Bob Sponge the Movie, for example, but I’m not sure what’s the consensus about it, haha.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. πŸ˜€ Yes, strange is a gentle way to put it. πŸ˜€

      Never got into Sponge Bob! Interesting choice, Marta! πŸ˜›

      Like

  5. I can’t believe I’ve never seen Xanadu! I might even get my husband to watch it with me–he loves Gene Kelly, I mean, who wouldn’t? What a smile he had, and so light on his feet, even at that age. Definitely on my movie list now!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Gene Kelly’s smile is magic and so are his moves πŸ™‚ Well, if you do watch it, I’m warning you – it’s not for everyone! πŸ˜›

      Liked by 2 people

  6. So glad you joined Film Fridays again, Lani (it should have been my turn again but some plumbing issues prevented me from writing a post).
    I’ve never seen Xanadu though I’ve heard of it, no details though just the title. But from your description it’s definitely one for me!! I love dance films and musicals and who cares about the story as long as the costumes and music are fab, right? πŸ˜‰ Will see if I can get my hands on a copy at my next trip to the library.
    Also I’ll have to do some thinking about liking a film no one else does – maybe ‘Help!’? I loved that one when I was a kid but critics say it’s awful. πŸ˜‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. πŸ˜€ Hahahhaa. I’ve seen clips, naturally, but never the whole thing. I think you’d like Xanadu. ❀ I'm enjoying Film Fridays, but I don't always find films to share. I know that sounds absurd, but I watched a few that didn't make the cut, and then Xanadu happened πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for sharing this blast to the past, Lani! I remember watching it when it first hit the cinemas, and then again, on video. I love ONJ! and ELO! and Gene Kelly.

    I am also checking out the Seven Sisters series … thank you for the lead.

    Liked by 1 person

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