January 15, 2010

Justify My Netflix: Xanadu

(Like many Netflix customers, I too can get quite lax with the timely watching and returning of my movies, which of course defeats the entire purpose of having a flat-rate rental plan in the first place. To combat that, I am now writing standardized mini-reviews of each and every movie I end up watching through Netflix, both instantly and on DVD. Don't forget, all previous 'Justify My Netflix' reviews can be found on CCLaP's main movie page.)


Today's movie: Xanadu, 1980 (Amazon | IMDB | Netflix | Wikipedia)

Why I added it to my queue: Because it's been much, much too long since I've watched this double-ode to late-'70s California rollerdisco culture and the big-band era of the 1940s. After all, you have to believe in magic, right?

The reality: Oh, seriously, how can you not love Xanadu? Well, okay, yes, if you don't just happen to be a pitiful little Gen-X slacker whose childhood crush used to do dances for him to songs from this soundtrack in halter tops and short-shorts in her parents' basement on warm summer Saturdays, then maybe you're not going to be as big a fan of this movie as I am; but even if this isn't your situation, it's hard not to be charmed by the sweet New Age optimism seen here throughout, as well as the utterly audacious things that the filmmakers get away with, the kind of rotoscoped super-cheese that could only be pulled off during the creative revolutions of the countercultural age. Between the ABBA outfits, the sparkly rainbow trailers, the soundtrack by Electric Light Orchestra, and the literal Greek Freaking Muse that Olivia Newton-John's character turns out to be (the catalyst behind bringing together noble entrepreneur Sonny Malone and aging money-man Danny McGuire, who team up to turn a dilapidated big-band club into a glittering new rollerdisco venue), this movie virtually screams "Happy Shiny 1970s" from nearly its first moment to its last, and I'll give a dollar to anyone out there who doesn't end up singing along at least a little to one of the dozens of songs heard throughout, including a whopping five singles that all hit the Top 40 the year this movie came out. A nice little bright moment in my otherwise dreary winter. "Now we are here! In Xanadoooooo!"

Strangest piece of trivia: Believe it or not, this is technically a sequel to the 1944 musical Cover Girl, in which Gene Kelly plays the exact same nightclub-owning character only 35 years younger.

Worth your time? Hells yes

Filed by Jason Pettus at 11:50 AM, January 15, 2010. Filed under: Movies | Reviews |