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Please join us for a special 30th anniversary screening of Xanadu at the Alex Theatre in Los Angeles, California, featuring a costume contest and special guests! Friday, October 15, 2010, 8:00 p.m. For more information, please check out our Facebook page
. For tickets, visit the Alex Theatre website
or call the box office at (818) 243-ALEX.
XANADU 30TH ANNIVERSARY
August 8, 2010
I can't believe it's been thirty years since I first walked into a theater, excited and curious as to what I was about to see. I was nine years old, and I loved musicals. I looked forward to Xanadu as I was a huge fan of Grease and Olivia Newton-John, and I liked the Electric Light Orchestra as well. And of course, who doesn't love Gene Kelly?
The movie did not let me down. It was love at first sight. When that first muse rolled her head and "I'm Alive" started blasting out of the speakers, I got chills. I knew something great was about to happen. I was in awe the entire movie. I felt like it was made just for me. I remember walking out of the theater thinking that the critics were going to love it and it would be a big hit. Ahem.
I remember being confused and a bit hurt when the reviews came out. I was too young to understand bitterness and cynicism. I didn't know what a "bad" movie was, according to the critics. I thought there must be something wrong with me, since I loved this movie so much in spite of the fact that it got such negative reviews. I trusted authority and thought, since they were the experts, and they supposedly knew what they were talking about, they must be right. But in the back of my mind, I knew they had to be wrong.
It wasn't until years later that I realized I was not alone. I had no idea there were so many others out there who love Xanadu, and even treasure it as their favorite movie, like I do. What I have learned from this is that there are many people who can see the beauty in something despite its supposed flaws. That it's okay to stand up for what you love, and to express how you feel. That the so-called "experts" are not always right. That your opinion is just as valid as anyone else's. That no matter how much you are criticized or ridiculed, if you believe in something, it is right.
There are very few things in my life that I have a huge passion for, that I would spend ungodly amounts of time and money on, that I feel deserve much more respect than they've been given. Xanadu is one of those things. I have often wondered why this is. Why does this movie affect me so much? Why do I cry when I watch it? Why am I and others so drawn to it? Aside from the fact that I love the music and dance numbers, there is something about this movie that has a profound effect on me, a mysterious charm that has drawn me in for all these years. Although I have never been able to completely figure out why, I think it has something to do with its innocence and warmth. Xanadu tries so hard to entertain and dazzle us, and it does so with a complete lack of irony and cynicism. It is not excluding or attacking anyone or anything. It is for everybody. It is open-hearted and broad-minded. It encourages people to follow their dreams, and/or help someone else with their dreams. It has a beautiful spirit that comes through in every scene. They just don't make movies like this anymore, and I miss that.
When Xanadu is described as a bad movie, I think the word "bad" should be in quotes. I don't think Xanadu is a bad movie. I know why other people think it is, but I don't care. Critics may ridicule the special effects, but I think they're cool. They may laugh at the animation scene, but I think it's adorable. The plot, the dialogue, the acting... blah, blah, blah. I've heard it all, and none of it matters. I love Olivia Newton-John, Gene Kelly, and Michael Beck. I love the Electric Light Orchestra and John Farrar songs. I love the Pan-Pacific Auditorium. I love the dancers, the choreography, costumes, colors, characters, rollerskating, locations -- everything. The whole movie is wonderful to me, perfect in its imperfection, flawless in its flaws. I wouldn't change a thing.
Another amazing thing about Xanadu is that the movie itself has been an inspiration to many people. You can see its influence in various aspects of pop culture today. It has been referred to in many other movies and TV shows. It is still being screened on a regular basis in theaters all over the world. It has been turned into a successful Broadway show. It has even inspired an art exhibit at a gallery in Seattle. I'd be willing to bet that all the people involved in the making of Xanadu could never have imagined how influential this movie would become, and what it would mean to the fans, even years later. It has truly taken on a life of its own.
This is a special movie. Period. Whether you love it or hate it -- or hate that you love it -- the fact that it has endured for so long and been loved by so many people is a testament to its brilliance. It is genuine, innocent, and sweet. It is campy, silly, and fun. It has amazing music and innovative dance numbers. It is so "bad," it's good. It is so good, it's great. It is so great, it's genius. It entertains us. It brings out emotion in its audience. It does what it was supposed to do. It works.
Xanadu has been my muse for 30 years, and it will continue to be for the rest of my life. I don't know exactly why this is, but in some way, I have to believe it is magic.
We will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of this beautiful movie on October 15, 2010, at the Alex Theatre in Glendale, California, near Los Angeles. Tickets are on sale now at the Alex Theatre website. Keep checking this page for more details, or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or Myspace for updates and information. Hope to see you there!
This is a fan site and is not officially associated with the movie or with Universal Pictures. It is run by an obsessed fan who really should be doing other things with her time. Xanadu is copyright 1980 Universal Pictures.