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Xanadu (rewatch)

Posted by martinteller on December 6, 2013

I pulled this off the shelf for two reasons.  One, it seemed like my lady needed something goofy and cheerful.  And two, after my first watch last year I had an urge to stick it on my top 100 list, but I knew I needed another look.

When sharing something you love with someone you love, you suddenly become acutely aware of that thing’s shortcomings.  Xanadu has obvious shortcomings: the dialogue is often (usually) terrible, the jokes aren’t that funny, Michael Beck is pretty much a zero, and the plot barely exists.  But I felt that the giddy exuberance of it, as well as its anything-goes attitude to filmmaking, made those issues irrelevant.  And I still do.  This movie is bugfuck insane, unshakably earnest (not an ounce of cynicism or irony to be found) and delirious in its production design.  It’s one of the feelgoodiest things I know about.

Buuuuut… I do have to correct one line in my previous review.  I had proclaimed that “it never gets boring for a minute.”  Maybe in the state I was in that day it was true, but this second time I could feel the seconds ticking during a few scenes.  ONJ singing “Suspended in Time” occurs as a static shot of her face, and seems to go on forever.  The climactic medley needs a few bits chopped out (okay, maybe just the country & western bit).  And little places here and there where I could feel myself — and my lady — losing interest for a moment.

So I’m backing off my previous enthusiasm, but only a tiny tiny bit (one point less than my first score).  As for entering my top 100, I’ll have to see how I feel when the day comes to reorganize it.  I do feel like my list could use some lightening up.  Now excuse me, I’m gonna go find a good Electric Light Orchestra compilation.  Rating: Great (94)


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