Xanadu Sing-Along

This film was a flop in 1980, but can now be appreciated for the landmark work it was. Olivia Newton-John is cast as Terpsichore, the Greek muse of the dance, who comes down to Venice Beach in leg warmers to recite Samuel Taylor Coleridge and inspire a down-on-his-luck painter (stone-faced Michael Beck) to open a roller disco. The film continues its artistic risk taking, the biggest being that Newton-John can't dance. At one point, Beck and Olivia are roller-skating on an empty movie set and morph into cartoon fish. Can you even imagine the creative studio minds that proposed turning Newton-John into a cartoon fish? This is nothing, finally, compared to what the movie did to Gene Kelly, who plays a saxophonist from the '40s who skates around chanting "Ho!" to summon a climactic number from Newton-John and E.L.O. (PG) STEVE WIECKING

Thu., May 13, 8 p.m., 2010

 
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