Welcome to 50 first times; the movie-related post in which I watch, discuss and debate films that I’VE NEVER SEEN. I aim to work my way through 50 movies that I’ve previously missed/avoided, recording my thoughts along the way.

This collection of posts is a follow-up to 90 from the ’90s. However, while I previously focused on films from the 1990s, this time around I’m widening the field to cover any movie from any decade.

I’m going to watch good films, bad films, forgotten classics, Oscar winners and everything in between. Today I’m watching…

Xanadu (1980)

No, seriously. I’ve never watched it.

I only know two things about Xanadu:

  • #1 – Olivia Newton-John is the star of Xanadu
  • #2 – The title track of the movie – which I quite like – is performed by Olivia Newton-John and Electric Light Orchestra

Beyond these two things, I am a complete Xanadu novice. In the back of my mind I have the sneaking suspicion that this is not a great movie, but I honestly don’t know.

The truth is, this movie has been on my watch list for years. As is the case with most unseen films, there’s no real reason why I haven’t watched it yet, I simply haven’t made the effort.

I have a feeling it’s going to be cheesy, camp, and very much a product of its time. Depending on how the movie plays out, this could either be a good thing or a bad thing.

I really don’t know what I’m in for.

So let’s get started.

*Clicks play*

According to the opening titles, Gene Kelly is in this film!

Really?! I had no idea.

5mins – I’m five minutes in… and I can already tell that my preconceived ideas about this movie being cheesy, camp, and a product of its time are coming true.

Oh and, am I supposed to know what is going on?

20mins – I’m not even a third of the way in yet and I have so many questions:

  • 1.) Was this released theatrically? It looks like a low budget TV pilot!
  • 2.) Is Olivia Newton-John supposed to be playing an alien?
  • 3.) Is Gene Kelly supposed to be playing an alien?
  • 4.) Who thought this movie would be a good idea?
  • 5.) Have I accidentally taken some mind-altering drugs and this whole ‘Xanadu‘ thing is just a bizarre figment of my warped imagination?

30mins – I’m now (finally) a third of the way into this film and it is truly, truly awful. So bad.

It’s also so confusing.

32mins – Jeez, now what is going on?!

Gene Kelly is dancing with what appears to be… a memory of Olivia Newton-John (dressed in war time garb).

Is she dead?

Is she a ghost?!

Is he hallucinating?

Am I?!?

39mins – And what’s this all about…?

50mins – This film makes no sense. I’M SO CONFUSED!!!!!

*Presses pause*

Jeez, I need a breather.

I can cope with most things, but the story in this film is simply nonsensical. What is Olivia Newton-John supposed to be? Why is she rollerskating? Why is everyone singing so much? What is going on?

And to think, Gene Kelly was drafted into this shit.

He was one of the stars of Singing in the Rain. He danced with Jerry the mouse in Anchors Aweigh! Who signed him up to this rancid cack?!

*Takes a deep breath*

OK, there’s only 40 minutes left – I can do this.

*Presses play*

55mins – Oh FFS… this live-action movie has now turned into a cartoon – with NO EXPLANATION! WHY?!?

Seriously, has someone slipped something into my drink? If so, can you slip some more in?

57mins – And it’s back to live-action. Still no explanation as to what that was all about. Presumably someone involved with the making of this movie thought it would be a good idea to pop in a random cartoon sequence. No one told them not to.

*After what feels like an eternity, but in reality is actually 1hour 10minutes, things start to make sense*

1hr 10mins – So, I think I’m now starting to understand this movie (the drugs must be wearing off… or kicking in). Olivia Newton-John isn’t a ghost and she isn’t an alien. No, she is a ‘muse’!

A muse.

A muse who has come to Earth to inspire ‘artists’.

Oh and she knows Zeus.

*Shakes head*

1hr 24mins – The film is beginning to wrap up (finally), yet there is time for the genuine highlight of the movie – the musical sequence for the title track, Xanadu! Why did I sit through the rest of this rubbish, when this is clearly the best bit?

*Presses stop*

Shite.

Absolute, Grade A shite.

The music was fine – especially the tracks All Over the World and Xanadu – but the story and the acting was beyond terrible.

I mean seriously.

What…

The…

Fu…

Never again.

If you want to check out my posts on other previously unseen films then dive into When A Stranger Calls (1979)The Sitter (1977)A Night at the Roxbury (1998)The Dark Crystal (1982)Starchaser: The Legend of Orin (1985)Super (2010)When Harry Met Sally (1989)What We Do in the Shadows (2014)Shin Godzilla (2016), and Road House (1989).

Read: Part 12